Trains have long been associated with Christmas. And although I'm not a model train collector, I do get plenty of "train time" during the holidays by working as a brass caroler at the Strasburg Railroad. Each weekend I post similar photos with similar captions on my social media pages and you might wonder why anybody would spend so many hours doing something that seems so monotonous. True, the days are long and unchanging, but they're very satisfying and enjoyable at the same time. It many ways it…Read more
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Everybody has a story. One of the things I like best about playing music is meeting people and hearing some of their stories. Even better than that, is when the music we play invokes a story so meaningful to the teller, that it transports them back to that scene. You can see it in their face and hear it in their voice. It changes them for a little while and makes their life better.
A good example of this was a few nights ago at a retirement village/nursing home in Hershey. It's October, the busy…Read more
Everybody has energy that washes all over us every time we’re around them. We can’t help it. Some people bring us up, others bring us down- whether we’re doing it consciously or not. Gary Miller was one of those people who brought you up to the point that you forgot whatever little things were bothering you at the time. If you were dealing with big issues, talking to Gary felt good. He was a good listener. He was intelligent, wise, thought provoking, and funny. He was inspirational.
Many people knew…Read more
It’s 9:30am on a Thursday morning in September. I’m sitting at home, at my dining room table, writing and giving my dog too many treats. It feels great but not quite normal. Normal for me at this time of day would be standing in front of a room full of elementary kids, trying to teach them about music and life.
But I’m not doing that anymore. I quit back in June. And although I know I did the right thing, some others aren’t so sure. They wonder why I didn’t stay a few years longer to improve my…Read more
Is it ok to be jealous of your kids? I hope so. This summer my daughter Ally spent 6 weeks studying in Spain. After classes, my wife flew over to meet her and they spent the next 2 weeks traveling all over the continent, before Allyʼs boyfriend tagged in for yet another week.
I didnʼt get to go along. And to be honest, I was pretty bummed out about it for a while. They would send me pictures of the amazing sights they had just seen, and Iʼd send them a shot of the lawn I had just mowed, or the dishwasher I…Read more
Young people have a phrase. “It sucks to suck.” And it’s true. It really does suck to suck. Whether it’s playing music or sports, working your job, or whatever else. It just doesn’t feel good to not perform well.
As a professional musician for the past 30 years, I’ve had some experience with screwing up on the bandstand. Although we constantly try to eliminate it, mistakes are just part of the deal. Perfection is rare if not a complete fantasy. So what can we do when we’ve gone out and sucked…Read more
As humans, we're all born with a few "not-so-adorable" traits that really get on other people’s nerves. It's ok though. Hopefully we've all learned to tolerate each other and to get along well for the most part. But despite our generally good, accepting and forgiving nature, there are certain things we can do that really try the patience of everybody around us, especially as we sit in theaters, bars, concerts and restaurants. These things are on full display to us musicians, who spend a good bit of…Read more
Me time. A phrase a we hear often. True, everybody needs a little “me time”. But the problem for many of us, and for our culture in general, is that our whole existence is about me time. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, but it’s always me o’clock everywhere.
Being a musician can make things worse, and that’s why I have what I call InstaGuilt. The constant pressure to promote gigs and get people to notice my projects goes against my natural tendencies, against the virtues that build strong community…Read more