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Jazz & Life Principles

I got deeper into my studies as a jazz vocalist during a time when I was dealing with some really challenging questions in life. At the time, I thought that the music offered a convenient distraction. But as I learned what it would take to improve my voice and my singing, it seemed to me that many of the same principles would improve my life as well. What do you think?

1. It Starts Right Now!

Life and jazz are created in the moment.

2. Be Yourself.

Even when you're not playing solo, your individuality is still important. If you give up yourself in order to fit with the group, you haven't given the group as much as you could.

3. Practice. And Practice Letting Go.

Be disciplined in developing your technique, so you can be free in expressing yourself.

4. Don't Confuse Busy with Productive.

There is beauty in the sounds, and also in the silence between the sounds.

5. Keep your Personal Foundation Strong!

Improvisation is a source of beauty. But without a strong base (or bass), it may well lead to chaos.

6. Find and Celebrate Your Own Way. Make Mistakes!

There is not just one right way. And a sure thing will surely become stale.

7. Count your Blessings! (Yes, that great old idea.)

Even on a bad day, it's good to be a musician.

8. Remember to Honor All of Life. Sadness is a Great Teacher.

It can be sad and yet be very beautiful.

9. Learn to be Really Good At It.

Each moment is unique and somehow unpredictable; but we don't have to be passive about it; the principles of life, and jazz, can be taught and learned.

10. Be Daring. After All, It Starts Right Now!

The best lessons you can learn may be more about unlearning old boundaries and rules.