Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Friday, March 16, 2018

Don't Wait on Perfection. Just Get it in the Mail

We often want to wait until something is perfect. Perfection is an illusion. You'll find Sant Claus faster. We can't wait until the optimal moment to act. Sometimes in life, you just have to put it in the mail. We often spend way too much time obsessing over the envelope stuffing process. 

And the same can be said of playing music. Don’t wait until you have something to say to play. Play so that you can figure out what you have to say. I say this to people who are ultimately waiting until their music becomes perfect before they feel compelled to release a recording or book a gig. 

Aiming for perfection and wanting to wait until we’re "ready" has become all-purpose excuses for not trying. The truth of the matter is that we never feel we’re 100% ready. There’s always something to do—a tweak here, an edit there...I once heard an executive from Pixar say that “ Pixar, we don’t finish movies, we just decide to release them.” Or as Leonardo da Vinci said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."

This is why I’m a firm believer of just getting to the bandstand “by any means necessary.” And don’t worry about being outmatched. If you can’t keep up, musicians will let you know.

Look at professional sports. Ballplayers don’t wait until they’re ready to hit a home run to step up to the plate. Home runs are a byproduct of having stepped up to the plate several times.

If I thought this way, I’d still be tweaking Monk Abstractions, my first solo saxophone CD.

So my advice is:

Get it in the mail!
Hit send!
Press record!
Count off the tune!

Just start swinging, and let life take care of the rest!

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