The good news is more young people are coming to our concerts. The bad news is most of them rarely look up from their phones and hand-held devices.
It saddens me to look out at them from the bandstand, to see them there in the audience, sitting in the darkness, looking not to the stage but downward, their expressionless faces illuminated by cold blue light.
I want so badly for them to experience—truly and without distraction—the gift of a soulfully crafted melody.
I want to share with them the thing I love most: the pure emotional power of instrumental music, without the need for lyrics, explication or visual spectacle.
Am I naive? In today's world, is it even possible?
Practice what matters. Make each concert better than the last. 10,000 hours, 1,000 true fans, 100 shows. Be a citizen of the world. Make friends everywhere. Strive for authenticity, sincerity, sustainability. Hustle relentlessly. Be a hard workin' dog. Maintain momentum. Stick to your guns: don't get a smart phone. Increase touring income by 50%. Advance every detail of every show. Twice. Release the new album, no matter what. Do what it takes. Stay hydrated, eat right and walk every day. Forget the other guy. Focus on margins, not market share. Learn, earn and return. Give back. Don't neglect the minutia: clean horn, clean house, car in good repair. See the best in people, but be careful. Somehow get health insurance.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, Strong and content I travel the open road. —From Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman