The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – REVIEW

 

41 - MonkWhoSoldHisFerrari

This one goes out to the ones seeking a life of simplicity, serenity and harmony.

“Julian, I promise you that the time you have spent with me will not be in vain. I will dedicate myself to living by the wisdom of the Sages of Sivana and I will keep my promise to you by sharing all that I have learned with those who will benefit by your message. I am speaking from the heart. I give you my word,"

Robin Sharma in “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”

In the Summer of 2015 a special friend invited my wife and I to spend a few days in the countryside. I vividly remember waking up with the first rays of sun, grabbing my sneakers and going off, alone in the wild, running, while everyone else was sleeping.

I only took one thing along the way: Robin Sharma’s bestselling masterpiece “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” audiobook.

Fast forward to 2016 I’m writing this intro in the very first place I started to listen to Yogi Raman’s fable, Julian Mantle’s journey and Robin Sharma’s must-read piece of art.

Just like Julian Mantle’s character, I also quit a promising career as a lawyer and took the path of inner peace. In my case, it was through the life of a Jazz musician. I suffered. A lot. I’ve made many mistakes and compromised good personal and professional relationships. I’ve harmed myself, probably in permanent ways, simply because I had no light to guide my journey.

It took me a lot of sweat, blood and tears to start realizing who am I, what am I doing and where am I going. I had no idea that “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” could be a decisive key of an adventure that started with a dream: moving to Australia.

In 2014 I had a shoot at moving from Lisbon to Melbourne. I offered the VCA (Victorian College Of Arts) a project. This project: MAXIMIZING PERFORMANCE. This is where Musical Performance, Pilates and Meditation connect. This is what made me walk the longest road to be who I want to be. This is why I’ve been working on the best version of myself.

Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” is like the last chapter of this VCA project. A project my dear Australian friends from the VCA and the MCM feared it was too big and too broad to be doable. This is (one of) my life’s project coming to a closure. I hope I’ve been of service to you along these years.

Studying, practicing and playing Jazz Guitar for so many years had me searching for the best strategies to do so. I had the privilege to realise the connection of the body, mind and spirit, all in one. I had the strength to experiment better practice regimes, strategies and approaches. I had the consciousness to discover that there are no absolute truths and that the best method is the one who serves you.

Like in Chess, playing music or body-mind-spirit alignment offer us infinite possible combinations. But there’s usually one better suited for where we are. Here and Now.

If you want to be a great chef, at some point of your life you should try ALL the ingredients at your disposal. After being conscious of the infinite possibilities you may choose to rely on a smaller number of specific ingredients. And when you start facing adversities you may well be bold, make a wild decision and going for a long-lost and avoided ingredient. Just see where it leads. Go for it.

You have the tools. Choose them wisely. Check Mate.

“The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” is an invaluable work. For the sake of accuracy I choose not to tell this story in my own words. Instead I opt to offer you the 20% unmissable wisdom it contains.

I have studied this masterpiece’s fable time and time again. It was the only book that made me literally cry after reading its last word. And now I’m bond to honour the wisdom of the Sages of Sivana by sharing it with you.

Please empty your cup and let yourself be inspired by “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.

Yogi Raman Fable has 7 elements:

  1. The Garden – to keep you focused on inspiring thoughts.
  2. The Lighthouse – to remind you of your life’s goals.
  3. The Sumo Wrestler – to keep you centered on continuous self-improvement.
  4. The Wire Cable – to link you to your willpower.
  5. The Stopwatch – to remember time as your most precious commodity.
  6. The Roses – to remind you of practicing random acts of kindness.
  7. The Path Of Diamonds – to recall you should enjoy the process and embrace the present.

Success is often experienced as an outer accomplishment: a medal, a prize, a win, a goal. But what we so often forget to realize is that success grows from within. Inner success is the foundation of great accomplishments. Inner success adds meaning to those victorious moments.

Self-mastery is the result of mental, physical and spiritual care. When it reaches it’s full potential it reveals in the outer world in a form of… a medal, a prize, a win, a goal.

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears”

Robin Sharma

Let’s add more living into our lives!

Start by realizing how full of preconceived ideas you are. A filled teacup is no longer suitable for pouring extra tea, unless you start emptying it first.

Next week’s post will be all about nurturing the magic garden of your mind to keep you focused on inspiring thoughts. Stay tuned.

Self-Regulation: Becoming your own Master

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If you don’t follow a Master, become one.

Parents, teachers and mentors they all take care of us and it feels wonderful. But even under their wings there are times where you are left alone to be taken care by yourself.

Practicing an instrument, writing or any other art form requires a great amount of time alone. You can take homework, exercises and practice regimes from your tutors, but still, you’re on your own in the practice room.

Self-regulation is the process where you acquire practice and performance awareness. This is your self-monitoring and self-evaluation process. Now you’re in the driver’s seat on your way to become your own Master. Self-regulation is the cornerstone to Maximizing Performance.

A Self-regulated learner is able to maintain motivation concentration and effort during planning, executing and self-evaluating the learning process.

The musician’s practice regime is built upon the following:

1 – Motivation: What are your self-beliefs and long-term goals?

2 – Time: How many hours do you engage in a focused practice mode?

3 – Quality: What results have you achieved during the practice session and what goals are you pursuing?

4 – Social Influences: Where are you seeking help? Which teachers, books, etc.?

5 – Rest: Pauses, short breaks, long breaks, sleep, day off and vacation. Periodic rest increase efficiency. Relax, refresh, stretch and breathe.

6 – Procedures:

  1. The environment: Structure your space for focused practice sessions.
  2. Concentration: Practice meditation and visualization. It helps you to observe thoughts and emotions, therefore, you become more aware of your level of concentration (=focus and distractions).
  3. Setting short-term Goals and addressing difficulties.
  4. Planning: Identify and prioritize challenges to work on and prevent reinforcing bad habits.
  5. Self-Evaluation: Keep track of your progress. Be objective, non hypercritical and constructive.

7 – Practice Strategies (Methods):

  1. Slowing down
  • The goal is to build accurate habits.
  • Use the Metronome to keep a steady pulse and preserve rhythmic patterns.
  • Add speed gradually until reaching a target tempo.
  1. Repetition
  • Chaining: Identify chunks and progressively chain those bits of musical fragments together (Example: add the first note to the second, then add those two notes to a third, and so on). There are 2 kinds of Chaining:
  • Forward Chunking – Chain several chunks together following the stream of the song.
  • Backward Chunking – Chain several chunks together in reverse (for instance: from last bar to the top).
  • Whole-Part-Whole: Work on a specific isolated chunk and re-contextualize it in the entire piece.
  • Singing, Humming and Visualization: Mental practice (in between physical repetitions of a passage) also helps creating an accurate image of how the piece sounds.

Now it’s time to pave the way for greatness by Maximizing Performance.

For more on the subject check Indiana University Pete Miksza’s study on Self-Regulation: https://prezi.com/yowspr739y5l/miksza-rime-presentation-exeter-uk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

1001 Creative Ideas

39b - Creativity

I always ask my students to come up with a list of (at least) 10 different ways to play a melody or solo.

Sparkling creative spirits in music is all about figuring out new and exciting ways to do manageable and pleasurable things sound different. Add character, passion, novelty and surprise to catch the listener’s attention!

What I’ll describe next is my own list of (I) melodic, (II) harmonic and (III) soloing concepts. The list keeps growing and I’d like you to join the challenge. Remember the clip and elastic rubber challenge? Let’s upgrade the concept to music, jazz and performance. Check it out:

I – Melodic Interpretation

1 – Single Lines

2 – Intervals

3 – Melody Chords

4 – Auto Comping

5 – Voice Leading

II – Harmony and Comping

1 – Duration:

  1. Equal/Regular;
  2. Longer (Let ring – Left hand doesn’t releases the pressure);
  3. Shorter (Staccato).

2 – Intensity:

  1. Light accent;
  2. Hard accent;
  3. Heavy emphasis on 1 and 3;
  4. Staccato on 2 and 4.

3 – Tempo:

  1. Push on 1 and 3. Steady on 2 and 4, and vice versa;
  2. Laid back 1 and 3. Steady 2 and 4, and vice versa.

4 – Strings:

  1. All strings on down and up strokes;
  2. Bass strings on down, all on up strokes;
  3. Mute strings on upstrokes;
  4. Pressure strings on upstrokes.
Combinations and Examples:

1 – “Minor Swing”: Regular & Light accent on all chords.

2 – “All Of Me”: Regular & Heavy emphasis on 1 and 3.

3 – “Si Tu Savais”: Stacatto & Hard accent.

4 – “Nuages”: Long & Light accent.

5 – “Douce Ambience”: No upstroke.

6 – “Hungaria”: Bass string on 1 and 3 & Treble strings on 2 and 4.

III – Improvisation: Soloing Concepts

Right Hand:

  • Rest Stroke
  • Down Up Down
  • Double Down Up
  • Alternate Picking
  • Economy Picking
  • Sweep Picking

Left Hand:

  • Two Fingers (Django Style)
  • 2 Notes per String
  • 3 Notes per String Runs (Metheny Style)
  • Enclosures

Expression/Articulation

  • Vibrato
  • Bend
  • Slide
  • Hammer On/Pull Off
  • Ornaments
  • Open String Bounce
  • Staccato
  • Legato
  • Punctuation
  • Use of Silence
  • Syncopation
  • Clusters
  • Pace (Miles Davis Style)

Core Playing

  • Arpeggios
  • Long Lines
  • Triplets
  • 16th Notes
  • Using The Melody
  • Chord Anticipation
  • Over The Bar
  • Ascending/Descending Lines
  • Arpeggio Up/Scale Down
  • Octave Change Phrasing
  • Chord Tone Approach (ex: three notes under 1, 3, 5)
  • Chord Tone Extensions (9th, 11th and 13th)

Alternative Playing

  • Octaves
  • Intervals
  • Double Stops
  • String Skipping
  • Wide Intervals
  • Open Triads
  • One String Soloing
  • Pedal Note
  • Clusters
  • Low/Middle/High Register
  • Double Line Melodies
  • Harmonics

Playing Outside

  • Sequences
  • Triadic Patterns
  • Side Stepping

Scales

  • Chromatic
  • Diminished
  • Whole Tone

Time

  • Laid Back
  • Ahead of Time
  • Rythm – Mixing Subdivisions

Harmony

  • Chord Soloing
  • Re-Harmonization
  • Chord Substitutions
  • Progressive Diatonic Chords
  • Diatonic Chord Extensions Movement

Let’s share more ideas to this list, will ya? Leave your suggestions in the comments section bellow 🙂

How To Deal With Creative Blocks

39c - Creativity

Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? Jazz is all about expressing oneself creatively. But sometimes that liberating state of mind kind of feels closer to a rat in the cage than a lion out in the wild.

Unleashing creativity is all about thinking outside of the box. Exposing to new ideas and different concepts can really have the power to unleash a “Ah-Ha” moment!

There’s a creativity test consisting in finding multiple uses for the combination of a clip and an elastic rubber. Think about it… What ideas can you come up with? Check my list at the bottom and add yours in the comment section bellow.

Meanwhile, here’s some great insights on dealing with creative blocks:

1 – Creative Pairs: Find creative people to work with and brainstorm ideas.

Do you remember Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Simon & Garfunkle… John Stockton and Karl Malone? That’s the spirit 🙂

2 – Movement: Get up, take a walk, breathe fresh air, exercise… Just get that butt off the sofa!

3 – Creative Batching: Turn on your Pomodoro for a predetermined period of time and give yourself the opportunity to focus exclusively on creating something new.

4 – Sleep: Take a rest, turn your mind off, disengage from work, take a nap, go on holidays.

5 – Travel: Get out of town, go to a different unfamiliar place, experience something new, get out of your comfort zone, take new inputs and influences and break patterns.

6 – Copying: Play “in the style of”… Django, Metheny, Scofield, Frissell? You choose 😉

7 – Streaming: Let your pen flow directly to the paper. What did it come up with? Weird crazy stuff? Good, keep going!

8 – Media Diet: Cut off your online connections and stop absorbing all the incomes… stop the newsletters, the emails, the advertisements, the papers and the articles. Pace yourself and stop taking in new information all the time. Let your mind rest a bit. Unplug from constant new data. Allow a slight void and let your mind to do the work with great ideas.

9 – Switch Mediums: Work on other art forms beyond your own. If you’re a guitarist, play the drums or the piano, paint, do some poetry.

10 – Relax: Take a breath. Creativity is not always around the corner. Creativity is like a bird: sometimes it shows up at your door, sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t let stress disrupt your peace of mind. Creativity will show to the patient ones.

For more of the subject check James Taylor’s research at http://www.jamestaylor.me

About my list, here are some ideas for a clip and an elastic rubber:

  • Sling Shot
  • Ring
  • Piece of Art
  • Tools to fix a house problem
  • Lock opener
  • Table shim
  • Tab book
  • Scratcher
  • Puncture tool
  • Toothpick
  • Buckle
  • Earring
  • Prank tools!

Now’s your turn! Give it a go 🙂