©2018 Singin String Publishing, ASCAP

February 22, 2018
Linda’s Lair, Monroe, Washington State

[Note to student]

Today’s lesson, per your request, is a refresher in social skills.

To put this in perspective, let’s look at your and my history. It began, I’m guessing, in 2010 when we friended each other on Facebook. You told me you had followed me for many years, loved my guitar playing, and you were a fan of many others too, and you dropped a few names of major people you had been in touch with. We had a perfectly fine relationship via Facebook for quite some time, I always recognized your wit and sarcasm, and appreciated your quirkiness. Then, maybe six months in to our correspondence, you began to doubt if it was really me you were communicating with. The Heart camp had blocked you, and others had blocked you as well, and now you were turning negative on me. I tried and tried to convince you I was really me, unsuccessfully. Then, I stopped replying to you because it made no sense if you didn’t believe what I was saying to you. Then you, in a fit of deprecating comments, UNFRIENDED me.

Months passed. I saw a message from you, apologizing, “Would you please friend me again?” So I did, immediately. Our mutual chatter carried on for maybe another year and then you began to doubt if it was really me again, got negative, and in a fit of deprecating comments UNFRIENDED me again. This whole process repeated a third time. Some months after that, you were begging me to friend you again. I said, “Why would I choose to be unfriended a fourth time?!?” And there was a peaceful silence between us for nearly a year. Now we have begun talking again and I friended you again. We spoke on the phone the other day for the first time. You talked about yourself and talked about yourself and talked about yourself. You’re a cancer-survivor; you have very little money; you’re in need of guitar instruction. You acted like I owed it to you to give you something - me having “a blessed life,” me the rich rock star who never works and always is partying or swimming with my koi, me who you wish could get cancer so I would know what it’s like.

So here’s the lesson buddy. Why am I taking the time to address you at all? Most people would block you and enjoy the peaceful silence. I’m not throwing you under the bus because you don’t fit the description of my ideal pen pal. I’m not giving up on you because you’ve unfriended me three times. I SEE GREATNESS IN YOU, pal. I’m replying to you to prove that there are people in this world who sincerely care about you and people like you - people who are challenged socially. That’s the first lesson... UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for all. It doesn’t matter what a person has done or hasn’t done; it doesn’t matter what crime an individual has committed. We either care for and nurture life or we don’t, and if we don’t, then we are part of the disease. Look at Norway’s justice and reform system. They rehabilitate law-breakers and get them back in to society as positive participants.

Second lesson... it’s not all about you. You and I, assuming we see ourselves as musicians, are servants. We serve the public, providing entertainment, enlightenment, encouragement, and direction to an audience that really needs our service.

Assignment: You probably already have, but read Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. He adeptly describes winning ways to interact between people. One of his points goes something like this: Listen to the person you’re talking to. Really listen and respond with whatever supports that subject. Then listen more. The more you listen, the more they’ll enjoy talking to you because people love to talk about themselves. When you sit and listen to someone talk self-centered, it can become old real fast and you just want to turn it off and get away. Don’t you be the one doing that.

So lesson two requires HONESTY. You have to be able to look at yourself and monitor your own activity, with honesty. You can’t allow yourself to be in denial. If you’re in denial, I’m going to be unfriended a fourth time, and I don’t want that!

Lesson three is RESPECT. Show respect for people by not hounding them with messages. Last night, while I was trying to watch the Olympics, I received 39 messages and photos/videos from you. I appreciate the fact that we’re friends who enjoy communicating with each other (and that’s true) but you must realize that I communicate with a LOT of people. I don’t allow my time to be allocated to anything that gets in the way of my family, friends, or career. The time I spend talking with you should be appreciated, should be respected. Last night, and many times previous, I haven’t felt respected by you. It seems that it’s all about YOU. The best thing you can do to improve your communication with others is show them that you are considerate of their space, and show them respect. Ask yourself why you’ve been blocked by so many people. Don’t be in denial. Be honest. Instigate the change.

If you are serious about being a musician, learn how to communicate using your most important instrument: YOU.


Now you tell me... was this a good first lesson?