A young jazz bass player, a student at Berklee in Boston, posted a facebook status that a) allowed me to remember again why I do what I do and b) embodied the principle of One Quality Note for me.
Marika was playing background music for a marriage proposal (which in and of itself is a great idea! kudos, young man— and lucky woman!) and she said it put so much in perspective.
What’s Important in Music?
Here’s what she wrote:
Playing my best on my jury or in an audition (or whatever ‘meaningful’ situation) is cool and seems so very important at the time, but it matters most in real life, in moments of the heart… I’ve never played a note more earnestly than when I saw what was going on…
It then occurred to me that I don’t keep at this music thing every day for the sake of being a virtuoso or some musical freak of nature. It’s all so that I can be a part, to the best of my ability, of moments like that.
“Playing My Best Matters Most in Real Life”
Ain’t that the truth!
It doesn’t matter so much, really, in those situations where others are there to judge us. All the accolades and awards in the world mean nothing if, in those real life moments, we detach. Money, awards, accolades, fame—nothing inherently wrong with them. It’s what we value, what is truly important that matters. And at the end of our life, we’ll be more grateful and better for the heart connections we’ve made than for all the hardware we’ve collected. The two are not connected.
The Value of Being Earnest
There can be no faking earnestness. I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate this word a lot lately. I appreciate earnestness. Earnestness has solidness to it and stability. Marika said she’d never played a note more earnestly as when she saw what was going on.
Why? Why would this moment be any more special than another?
When our heart is activated and we can see meaning in a gesture of great love or great significance, we become entrained in that vibration. When we become entrained, the wave, the signature of that vibration, gets bigger. When people in a group are on the ‘same wavelength’ it’s not just a saying; it’s the truth.
If all the musicians in Marika’s group that day also played their earnest best… then imagine the force of that proposal! Magnification times awesome!
Make Every Moment a One Quality Moment
I love that Marika uncovered this stupendous truth: that making one’s best music (or any other ‘thing’) in real life is when it really counts.
My hope, too, is that she and all of us can aspire to live each moment with that same earnestness and attention. It requires attention and presence and understanding the love that is behind whatever is happening. It requires practice. It requires a willingness to fail, because, well… it’s an aspiration and we have to take small steps towards that idea.
Marika has taken the first step. She recognized a moment when she was fully present to the awesomeness of the moment and was able to act on that presence with full awareness. That, in itself, is brilliant.
Every time we recognize and lean into one of “those” moments. Every time we leave our inner critic and inner chatterer at the curb and bring all of our parts together, we take another small step into that earnestness she spoke of. We can take another step into living our life as One Quality Note.