One of the greatest freedoms of musical improvisation is the opportunity to try it again in the next eight bars.
If you are a musician or have been around music a lot, you will have heard the phrase “Close enough for jazz” or “Close enough for rock and roll” when people are rehearsing, much to the chagrin of all perfectionists, classical musicians, professional artists, or even decent worship team leaders. Yes, music does not have to be exact to be good, but sometimes it is used as a substitute phrase for “I’m tired of practicing this part and ready to go home.” These feelings resonate with some people about the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. This past year has played out and we’re ready to go home and relax. Understandable.
Music, and life, takes pauses and reasonably restarts into new sections, subtle revisions, and melodic inventions off a previous theme.
As 2024 dawns, how about figuring out a new take on the previous concerns, preparing to make another ambitious run at the things you need to do, but letting some fo the fluff go into the past. As a simple example, last year I decided (and wrote an article) to "retire" my love of pro football. Maybe I’ll release that article at some point but basically I was “retiring” the idea of following teams and stats and concerns that I really did not hold closely to my heart any longer. Maybe there are some simple or even deep things you can let go of this year and focus better on important issues and development of self and community as we get started on this 2024 journey. Lighter load.
Let’s give each other a break and add the essentials and remove the junk as we walk forward into “the next eight bars” of this musical (I hope for you) journey.