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You Change As Things Stay The Same

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

7:30 A.M. The alarm never goes off any more because it doesn't need to. My mind knows it's time to wake up. I check the family: my fiancé, our 2 dogs. That part is new; we have a black lab puppy named Charlie that is quite the character. He farts in his sleep and they stink so bad they wake him up. Energy begins to spark as everyone stirs and wakes from a long 8 hour hiatus of meals and bathroom breaks. The day has begun.

It's funny how all the little conflicting energies of the day can derail you. The puppy dog demands attention...he doesn't understand that you need to work and don't have time to play with him right now...and no matter how many times you tell him he's just gonna keep on nosing that ball over to you.. It's nearly impossible to resist, and it derails you from your objective.

Let me give you another example. It's early're meditating before anyone else gets up. You are committed to not letting your attention wander for 25 min. You have set a timer. You have practiced. You are committed. You are deep in thought, accessing your sacred oneness and getting all enlightened and what not...and your fiancé chooses that moment to awaken from her dream and let out a loud shriek. Your rainbow roller coaster disappears and your chocolate waterfall dries up in a heartbeat. Back to reality. Totally unexpected, totally out of your control. If not the person beside you, it might be the birds, the traffic outside, the hustle and bustle.

Some would claim that when meditating, you reach a focus so deep that you tune out all other stimuli so that the mind is fully clear. I would argue that there is no changing the world, just our approach to it. Those that try to bend the world to their will power, will never truly learn. Learning an artform is about learning the way of things first before trying to add too much of yourself. It's not about bending everything to your will right away.

If you're meditating and something takes you from your focus, what do you do? You simply calm your mind and refocus. It's about finding the flow. Life's distractions have always happened, and will always happen. It's up to you to flow with them and to use them to your advantage. In your art, or otherwise.

Take for example a stand-up comedian about to perform. He's painstakingly practiced and practiced his monologue and hilarious anecdotes for the audience on Friday night down at the Chuckle Hut. He knows what stories he wants to tell, what words he wants to say, and in what order. He's prepared everything meticulously. He takes the stage with a quiet confidence. Of course he's nervous on the inside, but the audience can't sense it. They love him. He's killing it. His set is going well and the energy is starting to roll, but about 3 minutes in a drunk in the 4th row begins to heckle him.

"You stink, you bum! Not funny! Not funny. Boooo! Hahahaha. "

But the comedian didn't panic...he didn't overreact. You see, even though the particular gut busting joke, or drunken rant, the heckler dropped on this night was unexpected, the comedian is a professional, and not easily rattled. His reply:

"Oh my God, IT SPEAKS! I can't believe that's a human being...I thought it was a bean bag chair".

The Heckler drunkenly stammers out: "You're about as a bowl of soup."

Little pockets of laughter skip around the room, the crowd now seemingly mocking the obviously drunken man.

The comedian replied laughing, "You can't even spell alphabet soup right now, you freakin' whino! I would smack ya but I'm not trying to help ya. A bowl of soup sounds like exactly what yo' drunk ass needs right now."

The crowd bursts into uproarious deafening laughter, and thunderous applause. The drunk heckler was mortified and slunk away to the bathroom when no one in the audience was looking. The comedian went on with the show as planned; there were no more interruptions. Although there were many other brave drunk fools in attendance that night, none of them dared to call out after what happened to the first smuck. The audience had an amazing time, and the comedian didn't have to play the heckler's game, or sacrifice the quality of the show. Comedians are able to do this because of a wealth of experience and improvisational knowledge that can be called up at a moments notice when the need arises. It becomes like a super power, earned through discipline.

In any art form, I believe discipline is always the key to weathering the the chaotic storms we face, whether during a performance or in our lives. Each day we wakes up and reality sets in again. Reality of who we are. Reality of our place in this world. Reality of where we come from and where we are going. You won't always have a lot you can control, but as you face the reality of your day to day, struggle as much as you can, for as long as you can to hold the course and move closer to your goal. I've found it may take longer than you think, but if you don't quit than you can't help but amaze yourself.

There are a lot of illusions in life. Goals that seem a million miles away still all start with a single step. You are always going to be at the center of your life, it's all about what direction you want to move in. Your interests may change this way and that over the course of your life, but if you really love it, then you'll find a way. And you'll use you're other interests to make your art better.

Music is a memory game, and when you start it feels ridiculous and overwhelming and embarrassing. Nothing connects and it seems it never will. In my experience, I had to play about a thousand wrong notes to learn how to play the right ones. You learn how to improvise as a musician the same way a comedian learns how to deal with hecklers. The show must go on. But as you start peeling back the layers one day at a time, you start to see the patterns in the chaos. My students know the way the fifths connect in music goes deeper than what can be taught in an average lesson. Now I can pick the patterns out so easily that I need to go the extra mile to look for a challenge. The challenge is always there...just over that next horizon.

There are many things musically and artistically that I can do now that I once thought were impossible, but it goes so far beyond that. It's about making your life impossible. You'll find that discipline and staying the course will change you and will take your life in a meaningful direction. I've never been big on faith, but sometimes seeing is believing. Twenty years ago I couldn't have imagined where life would lead me, and I'm now teaching private lessons out of my home. We all know it's not easy to live a disciplined life, but the funny thing is it's not that difficult either. It's a running joke in my classes that...the notes, the scales, the chords...THEY NEVER CHANGE. It's all about practice, and moving 1% closer.

The beauty and horror of music is that it won't change. The frets on the guitar and the keys on the piano work the same way regardless. The same 12 steps. And the reality of your playing is how well you understand the depths of 12 steps.

To quote Pete Townshend renowned guitarist for the Who:

"Just pick up your guitar and play. Just like yesterday.

And I get on my knees and pray. We don't get fooled again..."

-Nick Aldieri

Virtual Music Coach

If you're looking to learn more about guitar, piano, vocals or music theory, I'd love to meet you! Please visit to schedule a free consultation.

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