Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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playing scales

Ever played an instrument? I took piano lessons for several years, then played Baritone and Trombone through college, and I occasionally play a wooden Recorder.

I never was good at practicing. I loved high school band and jazz ensemble, and college band as well (no marching involved, thank you). But playing scales, the nuts and bolts discipline of mastery, never happened.

And I mention all of this as an analogy of life. I'm still no good at these sorts of disciplines in any aspect of life, except where I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility. I'm old enough now to know why scales are important. I'm old enough to understand that I might have been able to improvise a jazz solo if I mastered my instrument and understood what knowing scales and chords could do. They could lead to a kind of freedom.

And I wonder whether there's something about adult life that I have not yet gotten, something that would make the scales of doing dishes, paying the bills, going to work, etc. all part of some song rather than just dull repetitive things that are done for no other reason than that they are there.

I fear not, but I hope so. I suppose some could argue this would simply make life utilitarian - it's only worth carrying on if I get to produce some specific end. That's not what I'm aiming at, although I can't say categorically that the view isn't right. What I'm aiming at is wondering whether discipline itself can be a form of play, a form of mastery, and a source of music.

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