Breakfast At Tiffany’s is a song by Deep Blue Something.
After not hearing the song for over ten years how fresh it sounded. I don’t personally dance, except for my family as a joke that I can’t dance (just as you!).
What is music all about though? It is, in my opinion, sound with the ability ally, to make people dance. Sometime literally, as basic dance. If you are playing, and people are natural rocking their babies in their chairs. In a broader and more abstract way, music has to make your brain dance. As Lennon and McCartney wrote in “Lady Madonna”-
Children at your bed,
Listen to the music playing in your head.”
This is my conclusion based on a great question I received from a young 20-something outside my NYC drum studio, where the hallway sounds like 5 drummers all playing their own thing which is generally awfully annoying. Even where you can hear the one player that may have the loudest or strongest playing plays [well], her question: “How do you guys know if you’re any good?”
I responded with predictable: “if you get jobs,” “if bands ask you to sit in because often the drummers are the last to be picked,” “if you are no good, on 8th Ave? people will let you know! you can’t even rent a room as it makes the studio sound bad, look bad, harm the reputation.”
I got home and thought – that was a weak, trite answer compared to the answer “you know you are good when you make people dance.” The instrument? Does not matter. Personally, I [earned] my first chance to make it as a musician in New York City, after trying it for one year, giving up, becoming a lawyer, passing the bar, and content as an attorney with what was paid for – in college I would get paid gigs and would often volunteer to play free, back into a hobby. I realized, “wow, I was a huge fish in a small New Jersey community, a big shot in a small upstate New York college. In New York City, the nasty shock in moving into old school Hell’s Kitchen, I was barely the best accompanist/pianist on my floor in my building!”
Not until TEN years later, practicing the entire time to try to meet a NYC STANDARD, did I get my enormous break. Waiting in line for the stapler at the New York’s Legal Services, divorce and family law section, at which I was worked. I tapped a song on the table that had the stapler and a line of three people (we did a to of that in the 20th century – line up to use simple machines! The things I was stapling would have been stored on a MSFT/APPLE/DELL/CRUZ hard drive or thumbnail). The type of tapping I was doing on the table was the same type that used to make may dad irritated, heck, made most people irritated. As [Julie] was about to tell me we were in a law environment and to STOP THE NOISE, she asked, “Do you play an instrument? My husband is a music teacher art the John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, and his annual budget for the yearly senior show was cut such that, the orchestra could not be hired, and if I played the drums or the keyboards, he was looking for someone.”
I thought, is she serious? 10,000 people have heard me tap on tables similarly – never got any job offers. Nor did I at Legal Services. I auditioned three songs at least three minutes each. I made the cut, land my piano accompaniment went from $0 to $35 in NYC, which, when you are working in litigation is a matter of pure joy. Being an attorney, as not shown on tv or Suits or whatever, means the cases NEVER leave your head. There is always something else to consider, another argument to try, and the worst, there is always more research to do. The saying among lawyers is that the best are those that rely on the best cases, STOP over-researching, and organize and build powerful cases using cases at a higher court level over searching for a case that forts your fact pattern exactly, but of a family court star case from Arizona. In other words, that 60% of attorneys are introverts surprises people, but realize: just to get into the bar one has to spend thousands of hours alone reading the most sophisticated law of the English language.
The biggest reason I landed that job after my audition after not getting anywhere for years? A terrible gig I played on 3rd Avenue, where I played a set with no “oh my god” mistakes, really nothing unplanned at all. But I did not feel the room dancing – though it was a supper club – people were not into it, I heard something wrong with it, couldn’t tell what it was.
After the show, the drummer I went with said, “Dude, you piano players do not realize that you stick your head under that wooden baby grand soundboard and the overtones and harmonies? People are not hearing that at all. They hear you basic playing. You lost the crowd half way through your first song because the FIRST time you miss a be a, the crowd can’t follow, tunes you out. And dude, there is no comeback from that. That’s why that waltz you played at the end was okay, but the rest, you need serious training on a metronome.” That advice was the “cruel to be kind” statement that turned me into an actual musician.
That said, it was the crowd of non-musicians who has the power! I had to learn to play in time (took about 2 1/2 year of playing with a metronome at least 1/2 the time, usually 80%). The pain was not the learning to play on a metronome. The pain was opening up the box, winding it up, and just trying it. I was scared that my flaws would be exposed so badly I’d never play again. Opposite happened: the more I made friends with the metronome the more I could use silence as its own instrument.
That gets to the point: if you are aware than you really get into a great groove with a song that is 110.6 beats per minutes you can use that power by setting up playlists or simple loops with tempos that you know that when you personally are in that zone you feel confident, or you simply dance in your head. That for me is the case with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I made a playlist for my treadmill, an easier machine for me to exercise on when my head is dancing.
As for YOU? You are always your best DJ! The best playlists? YOURS, with YOUR taste. Knowing the speed is a simple tool that for those of you curious enough to read this far down know is as individually great as glasses fit or shoes or gloves. I am flattered when someone offers me a playlist, but usually I don’t listen to it. Conversely, if someone says, “check out this SONG or these set of SONGS,” individually, that is the opposite! Also the reason you’ll never see a playlist on my sites – it is an insult to ☛you, who were kind enough to read all this
Jonson “Johnson” Metrical Services
“real” B.F.J. Matherton