What do you want?

I wanted to play music! As early in my life as I can remember, our home was filled with the sound of music. When I turned five, my physician father and life long musician, told me I was going to study a musical instrument. He listed the various instruments he had. “Choose one,” he said.

“I want to play drums,” I proclaimed. “Oh no, not drums!” said my father, offering no explanation. It may have been that he did not consider drums a real musical instrument, or because his office was on the first floor of our home, directly under our living room. Either way, I had to choose another instrument.

He had saxophones and an extensive collection of other instruments: a Steinway Piano, a Heckle Bassoon, an accordion, oboe, clarinet, flute, piccolo and a trombone to name a few. The LP’s playing in our home frequently included the great Louis Armstrong and a Mexican trumpeter, Rafael Mendez. Both wowed my senses! “O.K. trumpet,” I decided. Thus began my life as a musician!

My father was a strict taskmaster and regularly ordered me to play my exercises when he heard me playing love songs. Though I rebelled against his style of discipline, which I experienced as rigid and controlling, my love of music and commitment to being a musician has endured all through my 66 years.

Many of those years passed before I was able to set aside the early dislike of practicing from my childhood. Although my father’s style was less than encouraging, he was absolutely correct about the necessity of practicing the fundamental ingredients in playing any musical instrument! Ask any musician, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer will be, “Practice! Practice! Practice!”

My deep love of music has never wavered. It fills my life with great joy. It is a most important and wonderful passion that Ellie – the love of my life – and I share. We’ll travel log distances to hear music when we know the skill and musicality of the players is at the highest levels! I continue to play trumpet, guitar and yes, drums! I too have a home office under my living room, but now it is my house so I get to decide.

I have used a musical metaphor to make an important point that doesn’t only apply to being a good musician. It is true to most aspects of life, especially great friendship and love. Commitment is everything! In our important relationships there will be many moments where both heartbreak and love are present, but if both you and your significant other want to share great love; ups and downs not withstanding, commitment to your relationship must remain your highest value!

Just like playing a musical instrument well, good relationships also take ‘practice’ – especially in the moments when things aren’t going so well and it would be easier to set it all aside for something that ‘feels’ better. But in the tough moments, if you stop to listen more carefully and with a loving heart, you will find a way to make beautiful music together.

Know Love
“To love is to give;” respect, remain faithful, listen, compromise, laugh, play, share and when necessary forgive day by day, year after year. Great love is about many years traveling in close parallel across all bridges – into the sunset.

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Jeff Levine

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  1. Maria Tiscia January 27, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I sing because the wonderful lyrics written by folks like Cole Porter, The Bergman’s, etc. express things I could never express on my own. Wish I had the Bergman’s to help me express how I feel about your posts. “Practice what you preach” has to be the key to why you and Ellie have such a fabulous relationship. We can learn a lot from the two of you. Thanks!

  2. Jeff Levine January 27, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    With humility…
    Thank you Maria.

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