When the music runs out

by Brent M. Jones


What happens when the music runs out? Do musicians retire when that happens?  Louis Armstrong said that musicians don't retire, they only stop when there is no more music left in them.

Music is a connection between our physical self and our very souls. We feel the music. It reflects our heart. Music with scriptures are hymns. We worship through hymns. The feelings of our heart are conveyed in verbal prayer. Our bodies and faces reflect the images of happiness and sadness, with music opening those feelings.  Singing makes us better. Sometimes we sing for what we long for. We use music to help us get by without things wanted.

Louis Armstrong also said that “What we play is life”. What is that music that is our life? How did that music get to be inside us, the musician? Is it a song yearning for something, or is it a song celebrating something?

Did the music ever leave Louis Armstrong?  Did it ever run out?  He never retired, so that answers that, doesn’t it? What about us? What do we long for? What do we have a passion for? Love and kindness are passions that can focuses and drive us. We lose ourselves in those feelings.  They fill our minds, and we have little place for worrying about ourselves.

In the play, Cats, the cats all audition for the opportunity to go back and have another life and tell us why in the song "Memory" telling us “They had the experience but missed the meaning”. They had lived once, their music had run out, and wanted another chance.

Is there any chance that Louis Armstrong would want to come back and have another life, feeling he had missed the meaning? Of course not. That one is so easy to answer. He knew his passion and told us that “what we play is our life”.

His playing moved us. We felt it. For him the music was Jazz.  For us, what we play can be just whatever it is that we love. It can be anything we chose, but then we need to feel passionate about it. If your lucky enough to love knowledge and learning, then your indeed blessed. That, like the music for Louis, just never stops being an option.  

If your passion is your family then be an example to them. Show your love and concern.

If your passion is for art, poetry, music, knowledge, reading, or nature then seek more.

Find the good in your life.

What about Louis? Do you think he had a perfect personal life? Do you think he spent his time worrying about missing the meaning in his life?  He dropped out of school at 11 and had rough years ahead of him. His mother didn’t have an inspiring occupation. Later he said of himself, that he hardly looked back at his youth as the worst of times, but drew inspiration from those times instead. He said that "Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans... It has given me something to live for.”

What we have a passion for matters. Yes. musicians don’t retire, as long as they have music in them. Find the music.