Saturday, March 26, 2011

Entry 14 3.19.2011

Entry 14, March 19, 2011, 8:02pm (ship time)

Today marks the last day of my second cruise, and the end of my first time around the circuit. We run two different cruises here in the Caribbean, and now I've done them both. I can feel the newness of this gig beginning to wear off, which is to be expected. I know how to do most of the important things I need to know how to do, and so now the challenge shifts from figuring out what the heck is going on to establishing a healthy set of daily habits that will keep me developing musically and personally (and keep me sane).

Two things appear to be vital to keeping a positive outlook so far. Firstly, accomplishing something before noon every day. This is a trick that I learned from a Byron Stripling masterclass -- he said make sure to practice at least an hour every day before noon. It's a great trick; by establishing that forward momentum early on, the internal thought process at lunch becomes "alright, what do I do next?" instead of "alright, time to load up that saved game again once I finish this double chocolate brownie." If I can keep learning things, then it will be that much easier to stay upbeat.

Secondly, getting out of my working and living spaces on the ship and out either into some passenger areas or (even better) on to land is important. The walls downstairs are tan and plastic . . . not very much fun to stare at. We're traveling to such beautiful places that it will become more and more important to fight the internal inertia of habit and get out of the "eat/work/drink/sleep" rut.

Perhaps it seems like I'm already feeling dark about this gig. I'm not, actually -- but what I see is several musicians around me in various stages of depression (not all, but some). This is not what I want to happen to me. I don't think it will, but I doubt any of them came on to the boat hoping to be miserable either. I don't know how the trap works, which is what worries me -- I hope I'm smart enough to avoid it, but since I don't know how it works I don't know how to fight it or how prepared I am.

It's the alto player's last night, and inspiration has struck while we're waiting backstage. He's got short, closely cropped hair, and the wig stand is sitting right here . . . he's trying to decide which one to wear on stage. There's a great soccer mom wig, but I think he's going to go with the Axl Rose. He just finished telling a story about when he was in college and shaved his head. Every week he wore a big curly black wig to a certain lecture class. One week he stopped wearing it, and everyone said "Dude, you cut your hair!" He quietly agreed. A few weeks later, his real hair began to grow back in, straight and blonde, and everyone in the class was totally freaked out. This is what happens when musicians don't have enough to do.

Actually, no. This is what musicians do all the time.

So you can see that while some people on this gig can get kind of dark about things, it isn't always that way.

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