We create our own beliefs and reality based on our surroundings. It’s hard to believe the rest of the world does not look or operate like America. Especially if you’ve been living there for the past 29 years like myself. How could one possibly know or understand what other parts of the world are like? You can’t. So you build an image in your head based off of what you’ve experienced or heard. Let me tell you something. If you have one of the those images, it is completely wrong.

Since being in China for a week now, the most beneficial part of this trip has been the perspective I’ve gained. Perspective is everything. It can completely change a persons entire being. Perspective helps you grow. Perspective inverts the 3D image for you. (Remember those 3D images where if you blurred your sight you could see the image?) Without perspective you can be stuck in the same box, the same wheel forever, and never know it. You are a prisoner to your own mind and beliefs without perspective. Perspective is the light that breaks through to the darkness. It’s the intangible thought that makes the light bulb go off. It has the power to motivate, inspire, and push you off your current path. Well if it’s so great how do we obtain it? How do we become enlightened by perspective? I’ll tell you.

Perspective will come to us on a more basic level in many ways. We must be open enough to accept and realize certain levels of perspective. If you feel you are at this level than you should be happy because you are doing better than most.This could be in your music career, your health, financially, or spiritually. Perspective can be a catalyst for growth in all these areas. Unfortunately, not all people can realize certain opportunities of perspective. They are unable to embrace and accept perspective as it comes their way in a positive or negative form. These people will sadly stay confined in their own belief boxes. Let me tell you, these boxes are comparable to a lower east side studio apartment. Very, very, small. So how can we gain more perspective to expand our personal boxes?

We must go out and find it! We must explore. We must break out of our comfort zones to seek new information and be open to what we find. We must open the lid to our personal boxes and climb out. What does this mean? This means traveling. Listening to new music. Eating new foods. Having new experiences. Doing something you wouldn’t normally do. Stay up all night. Go to bed early. Go to the gym. Don’t go to the gym. Practice for ten hours. Practice one tune for a 2 months straight and nothing else. Everything will give us perspective in one way or another as long as it exists outside of our box.

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Perspective can be viewed as a gauge. How much perspective did I receive from this trip? I’d say it’s completely full right now. It has helped me understand that there is life outside of America. Not everyone acts like Americans. Not everyone does the same things Americans do. Nor do they have to, and that is the greatest part of the perspective. So how does this all relate to jazz piano?

Hopefully you get the picture, but perspective can be a huge determining factor into the growth of a jazz musician. You must be willing to go outside your box to grow, through listening, by playing, by composing, and any other way you can possibly think of. When you strive to live outside of your personal box, you will always experience continuous growth. You will personally grow in ways you never imagined and so will your playing.

Happy Practicing!

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Brenden Lowe

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