Just a quick post to discuss something I've been thinking about and then back to sociology!
When I was a younger musician, I used to get tied in knots all the time about my playing. I've mentioned this before, but I used to give myself very negative messages that didn't improve my playing and certainly didn't help foster any feelings of self worth. My attitude is different now. Really my main concept about playing now is that it's a game! Games are supposed to be fun, right? In a game you do your best even though you don't know the outcome. In a game you don't sweat what just happened, but try to be more focused and successful the next round (or gig, or recording.) This attitude is especially useful while improvising but also can easily be applied to practicing as well. When I'm working on stuff at an instrument, I'm not trying to conquer it or anything like I see a lot of people trying to do. ( Besides, if you take that attitude, in my opinion, the instrument will always "win" anyway.) If I work on an idea the challenge (game) might next be asking, "How else can I play that?" or "How would that sound softer or slower?" or "How would I apply this to "Gloria's Step"? etc. Or it could be as elemental as "How many times can I play that correctly?"
The big difference for music and I nowadays is that I rarely get heavy with myself about it anymore. I really try to enjoy the process I'm involved in, whatever it is.
Speaking of enjoying the process.....
What I LOVE about watching Mr. Purdie is that no one enjoys his playing as much as Bernard Purdie himself. For those Canadians here, it might feel weird to "celebrate" yourself in such a demonstrative way. We all all products of our culture. However, if we relax and get the game vibe even just a bit, you'll be amazed at how much better you play, with way less effort.