How to Lead a Musical Life

April 2021


Preface:  I’m a Husband, Father, Family Provider (Sales/Marketing Manager), Musician, Person of Faith, Student, Innovator, Teacher...


This book is for the musician whether you’re a professional, passionate, amateur, hobbyist, weekend warrior...I’ve been a traveling sales manager for 32 years.  Everything needs to fit on a desk and needs to be portable, fit in an overhead bin of a plane.  You don’t have to be a professional musician to lead a Musical Life.  Your passion will keep you alive and those around you.


Take Responsibility for your life, Stop Complaining, Be Thankful, Find Evidence of your progress and Believe...document it.  This is the real secret to my own progress.  I’ve finally started really taking it seriously and find myself in a better place than I’ve ever been.  All of the self-help methods, books...are now real, part of my life and I’m seeing that they were right.  I used to just understand it intellectually, now I understand it experientially.


Remember your first love.  Music, Studying, Dreams...remember what got you excited, motivated, up early, thinking about, wanting to learn more...  Find or rediscover those things periodically and go back to basics.  Sometimes it’s helpful to imagine how you would have done things differently at earlier moments in your life.  Maybe you can start those things/interests/instruments/activities again and see how it fits today.  You may rediscover parts of yourself that you lost or are laying dormant.  No matter how long you’ve been on the road, you can start again, do it differently, take a new path or revive and old path.  We’re all just living one big moment/the present.  It may have taken you a long time to get to this awareness but you’re here and can move forward.  Don’t get stuck in regret, do it again the way you wished you had the courage to do it the first time...


Do YOUR STUFF!  It’s so easy to play other people’s music even when you’re doing experimental stuff.  Just do your stuff...even if you think it’s dumb, worthless, noise, not good...just do it and you’ll get better, learn, create something that makes sense to you.  Don’t live someone else’ life...make it yours.  You’ll know what you like by simply doing it.


Prioritize what’s really important to you.  It’s too easy to find excuses for not doing your work.  It’s difficult to keep on track unless you really discipline yourself.  Find the real kernel of what moves you and do that.  If playing is your thing don’t get too caught up with the technology, equipment, other issues...PLAY!


Look for your Epiphany and follow it through.  It may not be a burning bush or an audible voice but it’s real and happens.  A discovery of software that makes your affirmation possible is an excellent example.  It could also be an off handed comment from a friend, enemy or loved one.  Whatever and wherever it is or comes from, FOLLOW IT!  It may be just the beginning of a long journey, but START IT.


Be Inspired by people who have done things that you want to do.  If someone else has done what you want to do, it’s possible.  If someone else is doing what you want to do, network with them.  Let the example of others inspire you.  If you can’t find a role model, BE the role model.  Mentor others as they come to you and take it as an opportunity to grow more into your dream person...the person that others look up to and want to emulate.


Take any original tune and make it into something: Study it, work on it, understand it, make it playable, work on the arrangement...it’s your gift from your inner self and will lead to more creativity.  I’m betting that the universe waits for you to unpack your gifts before giving you more.  I’m looking to verify this by doing something with the tunes I already have.  I’ll understand them, record them, arrange them, play them live and publish them in my original recording.  This is the start of my affirmed goal...


Believe in your own music.  Find music that interests and inspires you from within you.  It’s so easy to get caught up in playing other people’s tunes.  The world is waiting for YOUR music.  Take a chance, get it out there.  These days you can publish and not care what anyone thinks...just publish.  Forcing yourself to record and upload something everyday is powerful.  If you write 360 tunes a year, you’re bound to have a nice amount of good tunes...JUST DO IT!


Stay Curious, Experiment, Break it down and Build it up.  Keep your experimental process alive and leave time for just innocently exploring complex issues/processes/equipment.  Patience is not only a virtue but a must if you want to swim in the deep water.  It can be very frustrating but it’s worth it.


Document your journey.  Keep track of what you’re learning, what you need/want to explore, specific projects you’re completing, presets you like...create a reference journal, method journal.


Give priority to your creation time.  Often we leave the most important things to the time in the day when we have the least energy or ability to focus.  Reverse that!  Learn to work in shorter time spans but do it when you’re the sharpest and most productive.  It will help give energy and joy to the other tasks.  Start with 15 minute increments and make it count, work from there.  If you just get 15 minutes in each day it will add up quickly.


Negotiate your needs with your loved one.  You’ll need her or his support to make a musical journey work.  This can be a tough one.  The very reason he or she was attracted to you may end up feeling like competition...


Find your passions and quirkiness and make it your uniqueness.  You will find others who share and appreciate your crazy.  Learn from them and pass it along.  The unique and special thing that you do is where your abundance and peace will be.  You’ll find others there and you’ll attract others to you.


Put together a monthly and yearly financial plan.  Take the stress out of your life by figuring out the money side.  These days the stress is so much that money can put you over the edge.  It’s a rare person that has their financial life together.  You’re going to spend money on equipment...better to plan it than be impulsive.


Learn to listen to your inner wisdom.  There are two inner voices:  the ego which is generally negative and the higher self which is important, helpful and guides you.  Learn to differentiate between the two.  One will stress you out and lead you astray, the other will take you where you need and want to go.


Learn your lessons or you’ll continue to be confronted with opportunities to learn your lesson.  The Universe is perfect in its approach...keep recurring the situation until you really learn it.  The biggest lesson to learn is that all of this is illusion.  The drama is of our own making, between our own ears.  This is both in the negative and in the positive.  The “Sphere” movie really showed how powerful we are as creators.  I’m stepping out of it as an actor and want to watch it as an extra (Sarah’s comment).  Sarah was right.  Watching it take place is the only way to view it.  This displacement is not easy if the emotions get a hold of you but it’s the only way out.  How does this relate to music?  You’ll create music if and when you see that you are a creator and capable of incredible things.  Learn your lessons and get to the creating...it’s been waiting for you forever.


Start Habits with small steps, it will grow!  Beginning good habits often seems daunting.  Doing very small things is manageable and works.  Speed reading, short exercise rather than No Exercise is good, some playing rather than no playing is good.  The weight of good habit grows naturally and is very encouraging.  Getting past excuses with small steps is empowering.  Same thing with weight, just do a few things right and it will build.  Start with good, positive steps then eliminate the bad.  It will gain power, strength and translate into progress.


Start with the essential tools, learn them thoroughly.  It’s so easy to keep adding to the toolbox without learning anything in depth.  You must be an expert at something.  Go with what moves you!


Pick an instrument to master and others just for fun.  Multi-instrumentalists have all the fun.  Focusing on one instrument is smart for most people, it’s not for everyone.  There’s a group that sees the similarities in many instruments and gains inspiration from many instrument sources.


Do something everyday that moves you forward to your goals.  Make small progress every day and your progress in a year will amaze you.


Get rid of Clutter!!!  It’s so easy for certain personality types to hold on and hoard things....let it go and make room for the new and better.  When you’re in a transition from fat to slim, old to new...getting rid of things just makes room for the good, new, future and brings joy to the process.  This goes for clothes, equipment, knick-knacks, old symbols, software, old thinking, old ways of feeling, old relationships, old thoughts...the NEW and IMPROVED is coming and looking for space to roost.


Take any “gig” seriously and put your best foot forward.  My biggest gigs for the past 6 months have been weddings, concerts from the lawn, a Christmas party, playing from my back porch and another wedding service.  Take every opportunity to play as a gig that you prepare for and try to play your best.  You never know who is listening and it helps you get better and lose the fear and move forward.


Pick the key products that will make your music work and become an expert.  Focus on what will give you the most bang for your time.  Time management is life management.


Your Online Promotion is key to getting your music published and out in the world!  Bandcamp, a website, facebook, instagram...are all vehicles for getting your music out.  Take them seriously and have a regular routine of updating and improving and learning how to promote better.


Start a spiritual journey book to document your progress.  Write your own story, your experience, your self-help book, your “meaning of life” book, your “ I wish I knew this as a kid” book.  There’s power in writing and it’s your legacy to share with your family, friends and the people you’re here to help. 


Fill your subconscious with mental protein.  If there are things you are interested in, want to learn, are curious of...put it in your subconscious.  Find the right method for you.  Try several, try them all, try one at a time.


Be Systematic, Be Intuitive and just feel it.  Try both left/right brain methods for accomplishing your goal.  Force yourself to do SOMETHING every day, even if it’s a very small thing.  It brings you one step closer to your goal and is incredibly motivating.  This stacking is not an additional result (1+1=2) it’s exponential x2, x4 x8 x16...it will get to infinity sooner than you can believe.


Use Affirmations for focus and manifestations.  I make $10k per week from my music and love it.  Now Sarah and I are doing well, I’m losing weight/eating better/exercising, I have work success (FD, Cupa projects), Our wealth is growing, we now have net worth, I’m Healing from the Binaural beats and new learning (3-Principles), We have a neighborhood Ministry, my colleagues are Ministry and my family is Ministry. 


Use the tools you already have at hand before looking to new, better...  The addictive side of musicians often show in buying equipment with the justification that they are your “a22tools.”


Learn to feel the energy of playing and the feeling of accomplishment from reaching goals.  It’s really fulfilling to do things that you’ve always wanted to do but have either been lazy or it just didn’t make sense.  The movement forward begets other accomplishments.


Make some kind of progress each day no matter what.  Make the time, take the time and actually do music.  It’s so easy to spend more time thinking about doing music than actually doing it.  Sometimes just a dab will do to keep moving forward.  Do something that brings a new skill, helps you make progress.  Do something everyday that is meaningful for your music.  Resistance is the enemy of progress.  Write it down, do the work and feel the energy (don’t forget the coffee!).


Every chance to play is a gig, take it, work it. The work of a song is sacred, work it and make every opportunity to play something special, a memory, an event.  Playing for a wedding, sitting at the fire, playing on the porch, playing at church, playing at a party...it’s all important and leads to the next gig, playing experience, learning experience.


Focus on a single portable music making machine.  The goal is to be able to make music wherever you are.  The Deluge is the most advanced portable tool that I have. I’ll be able to take what I create and bring it to Ableton for further work.  I’ll also be able to pilot my synths with it.  It’s very deep and I’ll learn how to sequence drums which is a long term goal.


Don’t allow your demons rob you of productivity in the name of getting high.  Musicians struggle with the “get me high” syndrome.  We do it for the muse, for laziness for a lot of stupid reasons.  Doing the work is the only lasting reward.


Prioritize your musical expression so it doesn’t get left behind when you get wrapped up in your life and daily tasks.


Write out your goals/lessons on a daily basis to accelerate your progress.  When you figure something out, write it down.  You’ll want to keep track and remember what you thought of.  You’ll lose less good stuff this way.


Make a Long Term Decision:  I discovered Music, Languages, Curiosity, Spirituality at 9 years old.  It’s been a long unpacking experience. 


Talent vs. Enthusiasm:  Talent is overrated, sticking with anything is what matters.


Do the 80/20.  What are the 20% of your musical activities that give you 80% of your results...Do that.


Negativity can unplug the progress/creativity/fun/motivation...Find a way to change your thoughts should they bring you to a negative place.


Have a Vision:  See yourself playing.  Find a role model, watch biographies, get inspired.


Start with the End in Mind:  At the end of of your life will you remember the hours at work?  Will you remember the “life and death” problems that worried you so?  No, you’ll remember falling in love, your kids growing up, that book you wrote, the concert you played, playing for friends at a dinner, singing around the fire...


The Obstacle is the Way:  You’ll have kids that are sick, a wife who doesn’t understand your passion, bosses that don’t care, you’ll travel and not have time...


Conflict is good.  W Clement Stone is famous for responding to problems: “Good, now let’s find the good and make it a positive.”  This is true for the struggle to play, dealing with family, dealing with constraints.  It all forces you to learn things that maybe you don’t want to learn.  Find the good in the conflict and it will change your view of what’s unfolding before you.


Time Management:  You’ll always have time for what’s important.


Rest and good sleep fuels creative thinking.  It’s so important for the mind and body to rest and refuel.  Sleep is also an important creative space for the subconscious to take over and bring ideas to the next level. 


Keep your dreams a secret:  Share your dreams only with people you know support you.  There are a lot of people who never reach their potential and are envious of those who are seeking to do so.

Focus on small goals, what’s in front of you:  What’s the next song you want to record, learn, play, perform??  Start there and watch it grow.


The Power of Habits & Rituals:  Come up with healing rituals that propel you forward.


Force yourself to play/create every day, no compromise.  Have a way to play/compose every day and stick to it.  Music is a muscle, it’s like a language:  you lose it if you don’t use it.  The more time you invest in it the better you’ll get no matter how high your goals are.  Find your enthusiasm and feed it, it will keep you going. 


Celebrate the small breakthroughs.  Keeping a journal helps you celebrate your breakthroughs and keeps track of your progress.  It often seems that you’re not making progress, writing keeps track and also shows you when and where you’re getting stuck.


Focus on what you’re doing with abandon, don’t be two places at the same time.  Work when you work, be with family when you’re with family, focus on your mate when you’re together.  Multi-tasking can be a red herring and false skill.


Experience Nature:  Fire, Water, Wind, Rain, Earth... - Nature will inspire and speak to you.


You have the greatest teacher inside, follow that wisdom, access that wisdom, believe in that wisdom.  Have Faith in Faith. 


Be Bold, Go for it, Just do it.  All is consumed in the end, all is permanent in the end, all is transformed into something in the end...don’t worry, live boldly.  Experience the thrill of taking a risk and seeing where it goes, of challenging your intelligence and seeing where it goes of being alive and seeing where it goes!


Tactics

  • Pick a “low hanging fruit” goal and a “stretch, big” goal.  Examples:  simple looping with RC-30, looping with the Deluge.  One will inform the other.
  • Pick a simple song, pick a tough/interesting song:  Examples:  Breezin, Chameleon – Overjoyed, Africa, Feels So Good.  One wil inform the other.
  • Start a YouTube Channel for your work.  There are a lot of musicians who are very popular and helpful on YouTube.  Become one of them!
  • Record your Originals – sell them: on Bandcamp, Distrokid...
  • Find a simple system and master it:  Deluge, Blofeld, LinnStrument, iPad.

Appendix 1 – Spiritual Stuff


Meaning of Life – Experiences we’ve chosen to have.  Lessons we’ve wanted to learn.  Good Cop/Bad Cop.  The Obstacle is the Way. 


Bibliography:  Magic series, Peace is Every Step,


Appendix 2 – Self-Help Stuff

Know Thyself

Knowing and managing yourself is one of the most important and hardest thing to do.  How do you learn?  How do you manage stress/fear?  How do you motivate yourself?  What do you need/want from a relationship?  How do you manage conflict?  How do you deal with people who don’t agree with you?  Being honest with yourself about yourself is something a lot of people never do. 


Locus of Control

Is your life controlled by outside people/circumstances?  Is your life controlled by you and your own sense of intuition?  The more control you feel you have over your life, the happier and more hopeful you are.


Fear, the only thing to fear. 

It’s really difficult to move forward if you suffer from fear.  Manage your fear so it doesn’t keep you from following your path.  Be bold, find something you’re enthusiastic about ad really go for it. Talent is overrated, enthusiasm drives you to keep with your passion until it becomes an expertise. Take a long term view for your passion.  Some passions will follow you the rest of your life.  Be patient and keep at it.  Journaling helps monitor your progress and keeps you on track.


Appendix 3 – Tools

·         Speed Reading

·         Positive Affirmations

·         Hypnosis-Programming

·         Goal Setting

·         Gratitude

·         Evidence Journal, Belief development

·         Eliminate Negativity/Complaining

·         Trust in Faith, Have Faith in Faith

·         Write Lists

·         Journal your progress and thoughts






Turning 60 - Let's Just Go For It!


Disciplines:

Exercise

Weight Loss

Gratitude - Programming Journal

Bible Reading

Journal

PSTEC-Affirmations

Record Binaural Music Daily

Play the Stick

Update the Webpages

Upload Music to Bandcamp

Read a Book each day (200 pages)

Read My Library

Meditate to Binaural Beats each night