Storms of Life

stormsoflifeIf I was ever looking for proof that music came from the soul – I found it.

I consider myself a very private person – even to those closest to me.  I have always tried not to involve a lot of my “personal” life in my blog but during the past year or two I’ve discovered that how I feel from a spiritual standpoint directly governs the music inside of me.  If I’m not feeling “together” spiritually or mentally, it is a serious challenge for me to commit and play my horn.  I can pick it up and lose myself in discovery occasionally but when things aren’t clicking or popping with my life – it is a challenge.  The negative voice that says “you suck” or “why are you wasting your time” is loud and clear.

I’ve heard the term “tortured artist” but I think it takes a special kind of person to rally past the things outside of the shed and still create or strive to improve.  I know some people who use their music as a refuge or shelter away from the storms of their life.  I recall telling a close musical friend that it could be done even through she was going through some personal problems.  Now that I am enduring the same myself I realize how difficult it cane be.

I wonder how professional musicians rise above things like this.  Is it pure motivation of getting the bills paid or do they view music as their refuge and friend who listens to their darkest secrets and thoughts?  I used to think I could do this.  While my ear still finds music as the salve that heals and calms, things feel so dark and unfamiliar right now that playing music fails to pull things together.

So what are my challenges?  Too many to mention.  While I am exposing a personal side of my life I don’t want to get TOO personal.  Suffice to say that everything I touch or am in contact with on a regular basis feels to be in some sort of turmoil or not as stable.  I do believe that in an effort to “find myself” I’ve become more lost.

I read that if everything around you seems out of sorts or just flat our wrong – the common denominator is you.  I see a lot of truth in that and have begun searching for the light in earnest.  Enough about that… if anyone was looking for a reason why this blog has been dormant for so long after years of regular inspiring updates – you now have your answer.

If anyone out there has experienced anything similar I’d love to hear your thoughts on how things turned out or how music helped get you through it.

Skype Lessons

I have recently began taking Skype lessons with my good friend Jon Crowley.  Jon and I connected online a long time ago and he has always been a source of help and encouragement when I began this journey to play music.  The lessons have been great.  Jon has kept things simple and specific.  He challenges me with improvisation as well as my trumpet playing.  Using Skype is excellent because it gives me flexiblity (something very important when you have a 6 month old child) without sacrificing “face time” with a skilled teacher.

Thanks Jon for your time, commitment and positive energy.  Knowing that I have stand in front of you and play my assignments every week keeps me honest and on the right track.  I hope this branches out and allows you to take more students — as long as I don’t lose MY spot on your schedule!


One amazing resource that I have found incredibly useful is Jazz Advice (  This web site is FULL of great articles that any aspiring musician will find useful.  I find myself returning to this site regularly for help when I hit or wall or just want/need some inspiration.  They even field and answer questions from their readers.  I recently asked a question about learning tunes and their answer was extremely helpful.

Forrest and Eric are giving back to the music like the masters of old but in a updated way.  They should be aplauded for their efforts.  If you haven’t checked it out – be sure to do so and if you’re so inclined, give a donation.  It’s really worth it.

Practicing with Henry

One thing I wondered about was how my son would respond to hearing his Dad play.  So far it has been nothing but positive.  Several of my musician friends with young children encouraged me to include him in my practice and I’m glad I did.  On our first session together he looked at the trumpet with a wonder in his eyes.  When he heard me blow a nice long G his face broke into a smile and he began to laugh, sing and kick his legs in excitement.  He responds the same way everytime and in most cases my chops give out before his ears.  During one session I wore him in a Moby wrap/carrier while walking around playing different tunes.  By the end of my session he was knocked out sleep.

He has been good for every part of my life and I am thankful for him every day.  Thanks for supporting your Pops dreams little buddy!

3 thoughts on “Storms of Life

  1. jim mcdowell

    Thank you for your honesty. We are surrounded by so much love and care that unless we can slow down we miss the beauty that is always present. I found your blog when I lived in Pittsburgh and was learning the trumpet. It is hard but I love it when I can play that note that I want. At 69 I feel like I have time.My wife is going to get this computer fixed so I can hear the music. Keep playing and loving your wonderful family.

  2. admin Post author

    Hey Jim – thanks very much for the kind words and checking out the blog. I’m hoping to be more active in the future. All the best to you and yours.

  3. Bob


    I hear ya about how life can really impact ones desire to create music. I have had a challenging son for the past 15 years. Lots of dysfunction , frustration, anger and disappointment in the house over those 15 years. Early on there were many times where it took the “wind out of my sails” when it came to music but after a while, as you said, music became a shelter from the “storms of life”. I think music got me thru all those bad times and now that things have somewhat smoothed out I feel like I have a greater appreciation for playing. So , when those tough times come just pick up your horn(or bass) and just start to play. It will make everything better.



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