Tuesday, August 5, 2014



I learned this definition of this word from reading a simple jazz guitar book years ago.....  "Approach".
It mentioned to consider your approach when getting ready to take your guitar solo.

Thats all it said, but it stuck with me.  It has been something I have really tried to implement
into my musical life but as most things with music, so it is with life.
I look at any situation and consider the best approach, or at least I try.
If my wife or band mate or child is struggling with something and they are making a fuss
about it, I want to rush in and tell them they are wrong for feeling that way,
they need to look at it like this and they should get over it.
I may even be correct in my assumption, but the approach is SO wrong.
What I am actually saying to the other person is that they shouldn't be allowed to be a human being.
They should be super-human.
Everyone should be allowed to be frustrated, upset, crabby, etc.
I also don't have to get involved at all, I can just stay out of it and continue on my merry way.
That is usually the best approach.

Rather than telling my wife she is wrong for feeling that way,
I don't say anything and I listen to her. When she's done talking and looks at me
my first words are "You have every right to feel that way." or "I would feel the same way."
This will allow her to feel that I am on her team, I feel for her.
If she asks me what I would do.....then I might offer her my thoughts, but only then.
Obviously, this works on every human I come in contact with.

I have found that the best approach always is to consider the other person I am dealing with
and how I might feel if I were in their shoes.
When I talk to my band mates, I try and get their perspective on things, instead of just telling
them this is how it's gonna go down.  It might still go down the way I intended, but by
including them in the process, they feel "a part" and not "apart".
They are much more likely to believe in me and my idea when I include them.
The same goes for any situation where I am leading or trying to get a particular result.

Musically, approach is everything.  If I just barge into the musical situation, loud and proud
and inconsiderate, I am not really making music.
First of all, there is a song. The song has qualities and a certain feel and dynamic.
I need to listen to the song and try and interpret these qualities the best I can.
Do I need to play hard? soft? distorted? clean? loud? quiet? - less notes, more notes.....etc.
What are the other musicians playing? Maybe I should try and coordinate with them.
This is just the beginning.  Then their are very musical elements, like melody, harmony, rhythm.
All require the correct approach if I am going to rise to the occasion.

Spirituality has everything to do with my approach to anything in life.
I read the book "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie years ago.
It is a very simple book on approach.  A "How to" on being a leader and getting people
to join you in your endeavors.  Many people would think by the title or the content that this
is a book on manipulation, but it is actually a very spiritual book.
In the book Carnegie states many times that if your purpose is whats best for the whole
and you include people in the process, you are being a true leader.
Approach is a spiritual principle.
When we take time to consider the others around us and how they might feel, I am being spiritual.
Rather than rushing in to push everyone around, I walk in slowly and ask everyone what they
are considering, then offer my idea with them in mind. I am also open minded to the fact that maybe
someone else might have a better idea than mine.  My ideas are not the only ideas and not always the best ideas.  That is humility.

Just like I try and consider my approach when I play guitar or sing to make the best music
possible, I try and consider my approach to every relationship and social interaction I have as well.
In the end, I am looking for the path of least resistance. I want harmony and content.
I have found that in life and music, it is better to be flexible and understanding, than to be stiff and unsympathetic.