Tuesday, August 09, 2011

just say YES

but you have to mean it...

Alexis told a wonderful story about her time in India. They deliver everything there and she and a bunch of friends were ordering ice cream from Baskin & Robbins to be delivered to their house. They called and asked, "What flavors of chocolate do you have?" "Yes." (with an Indian accent). "Do you have Rocky Road?" "Yes" (keep the accent going here). "Dark chocolate?" "Yes." "Chocolate with chocolate chips?" "German chocolate with coconut?" "Yes." "How about strawberry?" "Yes." "Mango?" "Yes." So they placed a complicated order with at least 4 distinct kinds of ice cream. 45 minutes later a bicycle delivery guy arrives with a package, takes his money and rides off... vanilla.

Saying yes without meaning it doesn't accomplish anything, but meaning it can open amazing doors. A week or so ago John Bohlinger had a great column in Premier Guitar where he quoted Tina Fey's book, Bossy Pants, extensively. Fey say's that when improvising, you need to say, "yes." Anything else stops the process.

While Bohlinger is talking about improvisation on guitar and Fey in comedy, I think the general idea is a good one for life.

A few months ago, I got a call from Stefana Dadas to play a gig. Her normal guitar player was not available nor was her back-up. The gig included a few middle easternish tunes and a belly dancer - far outside of my musical vocabulary and my comfort zone. I thought there would be a keyboard player though, so I'd have some cover... and said, "yes." It turned out there was no keyboard player, just two vocalists, a drummer, a percussionist, a bass player, and me. Had I known how much sonic space I needed to fill, I may not have said "yes." I'm glad I did. I got stretched a bit. Met some great musicians and a wonderful dancer. (thanks Stefana, Ei, Kali, Budhi, Randy, & Mason!) And we sounded good. Because I said "yes," I got to be a part of something wonderful. You can see some video clips here.

Last Friday we presented Jill Knight at Cambridge Drive Concerts and Jill invited me to sit in on a few songs. I have to say that my first inclination was to say, "no..." Then I thought about the article and said, "yes!" I'm glad a did. Here's a link to a previous post about that evening with a video of one of the songs I joined. Again, saying yes, allowed me to be a part of something beautiful.

Now, it is true, saying "yes," doesn't guarantee that things will turn out wonderful. Sometimes there will be messes. The possibilities of both are there. Still, you can be sure that if you don't say "yes," the beauty will not happen. Take the chance. Say "yes," mean it, and see what comes your way.

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