This is an amazing video shared by the extraordinary pianist in his own right, Dave Frank. It is "an afternoon with Dick Hyman." This is an opportunity to listen to a master musician share from his heart. It is a long video at about 66 minutes, but the inspiration is very worth the time it takes to listen. Enjoy!
I was in a very ordinary practice room rehearsing an accompaniment with a university student and noticed this little paper guy taped to the practice room wall. I had seen other appearances of him elsewhere in the building and it was simply something posted by a sorority in random places throughout campus. This particular one was perhaps placed inadvertently, but nevertheless with great meaning in a music practice room. The message is a simple statement "You are good enough!" Perhaps it was meant to be an encouragement to musicians who were otherwise beating themselves up over minutia and perfection or comparing themselves to others either in the professional world or perhaps peers right there on campus. "You are good enough!" the picture encouraged.
Of course, the average college music student isn't willing to accept that statement at face value and very predictably scribbled on the lower right side a response we all tell ourselves as musicians and that is, "That's loser talk." In other words, "You're never good enough."
The contrast to those two statements got me thinking about a paradigm of practice. On one hand, one might say we're never really good enough, and accepting and telling ourselves that we are is no more than "loser talk" or dooming us to no further growth or improvement. Face it! There is always room for progress and improvement. But, is it really "loser talk" or is there actually an intrinsic value to tell one's self that he or she is truly "good enough?"
I truly believe that we need to regularly remind ourselves that we are good enough and use that positive talk and reinforcement as encouragement to motivate ourselves in our practicing and progressing.
Don't believe me? Try out these areas in which you might really be "good enough."
Yeah, I really think you are GOOD ENOUGH!
McCoy Tyner grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He took traditional classical piano lessons from a neighbor and was inspired by music by Art Tatum and Thelonius Monk, but it was the musicians in his Philadelphia neighborhood that shaped his development. He played jam sessions with Lee Morgan, Bobby Timmons, and Reggie Workman and was asked by John Coltrane to join him while still a student in high school. Coltrane was making plans to leave Miles Davis' band and form his own. It was around this time that Tyner converted to Islam. This spiritual journey influences his playing as he explored who he was and in turn explored new tonal and modal structures.
It almost seems Tyner played and recorded with all the famous musicians of his day. While Tyner was known for an energetic style that embraced African, Latin, Eastern, and bebop rhythms, he had a special love for ballads. Ballads revealed one's passion according to Tyner. Aisha was written for his wife and is one of the few actually recorded by John Coltrane. This particular recording showcases Tyner's expressive style and features Hubert Laws on flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Bernie Maupin on tenor, Bobby Hutcherson on vibes, Stanley Clarke on Bass, Jack DeJohnette on drums, and Bill Summers on percussion.