Chromatic: (adj) a musical scale including all existing pitches

I have sung for decades.

This doesn’t mean I’m a good singer–and I’m not trying to be humble. Singing is similar to chasing a butterfly–because you may be able to
see what you want to capture, but it can quickly flit away.

Sometimes your voice is not in good shape. Humidity can affect it–and stubbornly insisting you are on pitch is the best way to be out of tune.

So one of the best exercises for singing is practicing the chromatic scales up and down. Moving your voice only a half-step teaches you precision–and exposes those occasions when you might find yourself rubbing up against the correct tone but not actually owning it.

Now, if you’ve never sung, this may not mean anything to you. If you’re a singer, some of this may not mean anything to you.

But the reason I continue to sing is because it’s a wonderfully humbling chamber for the human ego, because there are three obvious realizations:

1. You’re at the mercy of your voice

2. There is no excuse for bad tone or bad pitch

3. There is always someone who will sing better than you.

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Behave: (v) to act or conduct oneself in a specified way, especially toward others.

Dictionary B

  • Read the rules.
  • Study the room.

Over the years, I’ve learned the power of these two profiles. Every situation you find yourself in has rules and also has a climate for activity.

If you enter the situation and decide to be ignorant of the rules and the climate, you will quickly break one of their commandments, and end up looking like a fool–especially if you try to defend yourself.

I have never been a great fan of rules, nor do I find trying to maintain a specific atmosphere to be fulfilling. But even more, I hate being on the outside looking in because it has been proven that I broke the rules. If I don’t like the rules, more than likely I will not be able to change the game.

I have to smile when I see idealistic younger folk who contend that they can enter the world of politics and transform it. Politics enjoys being ambiguously evil.

Likewise, the notion that you can go to a church, a corporation, a club or even a family reunion and insert your notions and have meaningful input is extraordinarily naive.

Make sure wherever you go–so that you will behave well–that you learn the rules and understand the climate.

If you’re going to vacation in Miami, Florida, in the middle of July, understand that there will be a lot of ethnic food and tons of heat, humidity and surprise rain storms. If you are prepared for that, you will not break the rules by complaining to the locals about the situation, which makes you come off as a tourist instead of a participant.

I do not participate without knowing the rules, and I do not leap into any activity without comprehending the climate in which business is conducted.

That way I behave myself and am considered a solid citizen … instead of an intruding jerk.


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dictionary with letter A

Amphitheater: (n.) a round location for performing events, surrounded by tiers for seating.

I don’t know if the Greeks intended for their amphitheaters to be outside or not, but every amphitheater I’ve ever performed in was ala natural.

And here is the problem: there is nothing creatively hatched, artistically structured, musically composed or theatrically staged which is better when exposed to the mosquitoes.

The only people who actually like having their entertainment performed outside are cruel promoters and idealistic committees who think it would be “really neat.”

Such an event happened to me in Detroit, Michigan, when I was working a supper club and having great fun sharing music and a bit of hilarity with the audience over dried-up pot roast and light green chicken.

It suddenly occurred to the owner of this supper club that it might be a real public relations boost if we did one of the shows outside in the parking lot, creating our own amphitheater of chairs and signage, advertising the establishment for those passing by or willing to come and sit in folding chairs to listen to music that they could hear at home in their recliners.

Not only was there a dearth of attendance but we got a late start, and the dampness of the early evening created humidity in our speakers, so the sound, as we went along, became more and more muffled.

Perhaps the most aggravating part of this little “amphitheater adventure” of our promotional argonaut was when he came up, feeling the need to justify himself, and proclaimed with an unnerving jubilance, “It wasn’t that bad.”

Yes. That’s what every artist wants to hear–of the disasters available, you ended up with a broken paddle in a canoe on the Niagara River instead of bottom bunk on the Titanic.

Did I mention to you that I don’t particularly care for amphitheaters?

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