You probably don’t know this, but for years I played tenor saxophone and drums every single day.
Lots of work holding long tones and building breath support – saxophone really made my breathing better!!
The benefits were numerous, my skill increased at both instruments and my stress was nearly non existent. Playing drums after getting home from work everyday really helped me focus and get my frustrations out with out troubling anyone or negatively impacting people.
I loved it. For over a year I took lessons with Denver saxophone teacher Lance Acker. Lance is a wonderful and dear old soul who is a real great person. I dunno if he is still teaching, but if you need sax lessons for yourself or your kid, look him up. My collection of saxophone method and music books is a bit astounding for a late bloomer.
One day I will return to the saxophone and the drums. But why did I stop playing them?
The real answer is my living space changed. The house I was living in was sold out from under me and I ended up having to take residence in apartments over the recent years.
There’s no noise tolerance in apartments and condos and townhomes. And certainly not the distance and basement space to perform these loud instruments and yet stay below the local decibel threshold at the property line. I can literally hear people talking on their porches when they go out.
How would I be able to ‘strangle the goose’ or beat on my drums quietly enough? Maybe some serious mutes or something. I haven’t figured it out.
The point of this article is to highlight that no matter what activities you love or loathe, your participation in them is largely due to their convenience and accessibility.
For instance, this is silly but, what if your television and tablets and phone were set up on the roof of whereever you are. I think you’d find yourself checking your social media alot less. Your voyeurism would decline.
Same thing if you put your bicycle on the roof. Are you really gonna climb up there and carry it down to take your daily rides? I think you are more likely to leave it up there and figure something else out.
Now that I know all about this logic, I will be intentionally choosing and setting up my home environments with a mind for musical productivity.
Don’t want to eat all the donuts? Put them on top of the highest cabinet in the house. Make them hard to reach or put them out of sight.
I used this same rationale to make it easier to practice bass each day. I kept my bass in an area where I would end up after making my coffee and the visibility and ease of access made it effortless to pick up and get some work done.
Like water flows down hill, we normally take the path of least resistance. So just make the path more challenging to access activities you want to reduce and downregulate and/or make the things you want to do more of – make them easy to reach, make them your path of least resistance.
Now get out there and change some stuff, make your goals easier and your undesirables more difficult.
Stay positive, and until next time – play some stanky notes!