Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Joe Montana and The Art and Magic of Songwriting?

Lyrics in Songwriting Example:
Book Excerpt: The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking by Joe Montana

"Remember, the more you throw, the better you get." – The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking, Joe Montana

Okay so I have to admit that I was such a huge Joe Montana fan back in 'the day' that I lost all interest in football after he retired (what was the point of watching football without Joe anyway?). There was just something so great about him -- his commanding yet understated presence; his extreme professionalism and ability to perform well under pressure; his calm, cool and collected appearance ---- and his last-minute-4th-quarter-no-way-anyone-can-pull-this-off comebacks... I mean who wouldn't want to be like Joe?

Now... any book written by Joe Montana will undoubtedly make it into my book collection and I have been known to wait in line for hours just to get him to sign one of his books for me --- but who could have ever guessed that a quarterbacking book written by Joe would be one of my favorite books on musicianship!!! But there you have it... I'm sure that this has absolutely everything to do with all those years of study under my Vocal Coach and Mentor (thank you Janet!) learning how musicians are akin to athletes --- that we must constantly and consistently do repetitive drills; we must practice diligently and specifically to address our trouble spots; we must maintain a clear, calm and centered focus (aka be 'in the moment'); we must continue to build our tools so that we can effectively think on our feet; and we must study our craft so relentlessly that everything eventually becomes 'instinctual' enabling us to transcend the mechanics and create art. Let me tell you, if I didn't know any better I would have thought that Janet was Joe's ghost writer!

So let me take this one step further... I'm sure that we can all see how the above principles apply to musicianship in regards to mastering an instrument, but I want to stress here that the same principles also apply to songwriting. Any good book on songwriting will tell you that you must "practice practice practice" in order to develop your skills (repetitive drills), you must work on eliminating your weaknesses (practice diligently and specifically to address your trouble spots), you must maintain your focus (be 'in the moment'), you must build your tools so that when inspiration strikes you won't be technically disabled (build your tools so you can think on your feet), and you must keep assimilating all of these basic principles until they eventually become second nature enabling you to maximize your inspiration (study relentlessly to build the instincts necessary to transcend the mechanics and create art).

That said, I'd like to share some excerpts with you from Joe's (or Janet's) book "The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking" (or "Songwriting") that really resonated with me:

"From practice and hard work come instincts. From instincts come art – and on the best days, if you’re fortunate, some magic."

"Developing the ‘touch’ is something that is acquired through repetition and drill work."

"We never stop working on the fundamentals. We don’t leave all that stuff in training camp."

"A game can’t be mastered without studying the playbook. And I mean study."

"You really have only one goal when you’re on the practice field. To walk off it a better player than you were when you got there. That means taking it seriously and addressing your weaknesses."

"Practice. No short cut around that. You can never be too in shape. You can never be accurate enough, because you can never perfect the art of throwing to someone who is moving. You can never study enough film, and you can never go over your playbook pages too much... It won’t come easy – but nothing worthwhile ever does."

"You will face adversity. For every magic moment I’ve had, I’ve been picked off, benched, thrown down or knocked cold. Every athlete has doubts and low points."

"Be relentless, keep getting back up."

And last but not least, the phrase that Janet instilled into my very core (again, here by Joe):

"It comes down to one thing: preparation."

What can I say except -- thank you Janet for work ethics that have served me well as a musician, a music industry professional and a person!

The Art and Magic of Quarterbacking (book) - Joe Montana

Joe Montana's Art and Magic of Quarterbacking: The Secrets of the Game from One of the All-Time Best

Joe Montana Links:
Joe Montana Wikipedia

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