Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Buddy's War #19 - Performing a Miracle


Before we get to the next months and the 10th being sent overseas, it is good to take a quick review of the US Army before the war began and the miracle performed in a short period. To say the strength of the US military was low would be an understatement. Politics, including isolationism, had to some extent tied the hands of President Roosevelt. Many hoped that the other European nations would take care of Hitler and Mussolini without US intervention. Roosevelt and others managed to finagle different ways of building readiness for what they felt was inevitable. It may only be through the lens of history that we can see that FDR and Churchill were correct and that Hitler’s advances were certainly one of the greatest threats to world peace and democracy that had ever been seen. It was a tightrope that they walked with finesse.

Even with that, however, in the months after Pearl Harbor, the United States was in the war but without a large and broad-based military. It was only the pre-Pearl Harbor draft which gave the foundation for what would become a huge fighting force. New armies and divisions were being created as long-range plans were developed and implemented in Washington for a war across both oceans and very far from home.



The 10th Armored Division was officially activated on July 15, 1942, at Fort Benning, Georgia. My dad’s 80th Armored Medical Battalion was an organic unit the 10th Armored- where the 10th went, the 80th went. When the 10th was created the new commander, Major General Paul Newgarden held a competition to give the unit a nickname. They took the name “The Tiger Division”. For the next year, Lester Nichols, author of the 10th Armored’s history, Impact, writes that the
training was especially rugged. There was the Tiger Camp with its night problems, forced marches, endurance tests, 'dry runs' and firing problems.
10th Armored Division, December 1942-  Fort Benning, Georgia
A division is somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 soldiers. Fort Benning and the many training camps like it, became small cities providing more than just training. They also sought to provide entertainment, activities, sports, and more than enough “fun and games” to keep the troops occupied when they weren’t too tired from the training that Tiger Camp provided.

In late June 1943, the Division packed up and left Fort Benning for what has become known as the Tennessee Maneuvers. These maneuvers were at the heart and soul of turning the American Army into a world-class fighting force.
The Tennessee Maneuver Area was a training area in Middle Tennessee  selected because the terrain resembled France, Belgium and Germany. In June 1941, Major General George S. Patton conducted maneuvers with the 2nd Armored Division in the Manchester, Tennessee vicinity, where he soundly defeated the opposing forces, using large-scale armored fighting. These maneuvers led to the creation of the Tennessee Maneuver Area.

In June 1942, Governor Prentice Cooper, announced that nine counties would be used as a maneuver area by the Second Army, and was eventually expanded to twenty-one counties by the time of closure in 1944. Cumberland University, in Lebanon, Tennessee was the location of the Headquarters for the Army Ground Forces field problems, commonly known as the Tennessee Maneuvers. (Nashville was the principal trailhead.)

Between 1942 and 1944, in seven large scale training exercises, more than 850,000 soldiers were trained in the Tennessee Maneuver Area.

The 10 Armored was there with the 101st Airborne Division, the 80th Infantry Division and the 83rd Infantry Division through June, July, and August 1943. (--Link)
Between the wars, German officer Erwin Rommel, as a young military attache, had visited Nashville and Middle Tennessee to study and follow the cavalry campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to help him develop a pattern for the use of tank units as cavalry. This is part of what led General Patton to choose the area for his training in 1941.

Over the hills and valleys of twenty-one counties “Blue” and “Red” armies engaged in weekly strategic “problems,” with troops moved in and out according to a calendar of “phases” that lasted about four weeks apiece. In the military’s scenario Nashville was Cherbourg, without the bombing.

Maneuvers paused at noon on Thursday or Friday, when a light plane would fly over the mock battle lines, sounding a siren. Then thousands of soldiers would seek recreation in Nashville and the county seat towns. Facilities were limited, despite the best efforts of the U.S.O. and the American Red Cross; movie theaters and cafes were packed; drug store soda fountains were forced to shut down twice a day for cleanup. Each army PX was strained to the limit. Churches opened their doors and set up lounges; schools opened their gyms for weekend dances. The Grand Ole Opry had never drawn such crowds than during these months when Middle Tennessee hosted the army’s preparations for the eventual invasion of Normandy in 1944. (--Link)
According to Nichols the maneuvers themselves were

the scene of combat with chiggers, choking dust, sleepless nights, sore backs and aching feet. As always, the ‘enemy’ was constantly pursued. The battle umpires, too, were on hand to declare tank, track and truck ‘knocked out’ by a hidden ‘enemy’ anti-tank crew. (Impact!)
Other personal reports from other units indicated that the maneuvers were tough and often see as the toughest thing they ever did in the Army. Bob Wells who trained with the 100th Division through Tennessee Maneuvers wrote
In Tennessee we were as ‘in the field’ as we could be. When we slept it was in our pup tents, but each week for, as I remember, six weeks, we had problems Monday through Thursday. It was cold and wet, and I for one learned a lot about keeping myself together with no roof or facilities. (--Link)
Wells then records a poem written by and for the 35th Division vets. It begins:
The Tennessee Maneuvers
The devil was given permission one day,
to select a good place for the soldiers to play.
He looked around for a month or more wanting a place that would make them sore.

And, at last was delighted a country view
where the black walnut and the hickory grew, and vowed that Tennessee could not be beat
as a place for maneuvers in rain, snow, and sleet.

He scattered the rocks so the men could not sleep
and brought weather so cold it froze the sheep.
He then sent some rain, the bed rolls to soak
and a few cards and dice, so the men could stay broke.
And the final stanza
Now we’re on the last problem we’ve all done our part,
and at the end of this week the furloughs will start.
Then the men will go home with tall tales to tell
of the things that they did through this six weeks of hell.
35th Divisionaire. March 2008 Association Newsletter
The first week of September 1943 the 10th left Tennessee and settled at its new home, Camp Gordon near Augusta, Georgia. Here they would continue to train, grow and develop into a highly effective unit for the battles that lay ahead. Tiger Camp and lots of training continued.

By mid-May 1944, 75 years ago, training and planning were coming to an end. The war was waiting, and it appears as if they were ready. The US Military was working miracles and more were to come.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Tuning Slide # 4.42- Moving from Voice to Song

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

I think I can hear your song, all of them, even now…
— Dan Millman

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been writing about finding one’s voice using ideas from Stephen Covey and others. Before finding out what that means here’s a recap.

• Voice:
✓ Your voice is your own “unique personal significance.”
✓ Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.

For that to happen we have to learn to convert different energies.

• Energies:
✓ mental energy into vision
✓ physical energy into discipline
✓ emotional energy into passion
✓ spiritual energy into conscience

Then, to find that unique voice find out what it is about you by asking some questions.

• Questions:
✓ What angers you?
✓ What makes you cry?
✓ What have you mastered?
✓ What gives you hope?
✓ As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
✓ If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do?
✓ What would blow your mind?
✓ What platform do you own?
✓ What change would you like to see in the world?
✓ If you had one day left, how would you spend it?

Then it is time to find your song. Here is my definition of your song.
• Song:
✓ The message you can uniquely share with the world.
✓ The way your voice is presented to the world.
✓ An outward expression of who you are.

There are a couple of ways to look at this that can help us move toward finding the song we are called to sing or play. One is an actual song that can be a “theme” song for you. It is a song that you turn to when you need support, a song that inspires, directs, comforts, enlivens you, makes you smile. We all have a number of these for different settings. But think about those two or three songs that are always your go-to song.

◦ What are those songs about?
◦ What is their message?
◦ How do you feel when you hear one of those songs?
◦ Why is it important to you?
◦ How does that message fit your life and the mission of who you are?
◦ Can you put this into one or two sentences, or even better, two or three words?

I talk about several songs since they may be in different places in our lives, expressions of different ideas. They may or may not be songs we play on whatever our instrument might be. But they are only a starting point- a way of discovering and then expressing you, your voice.

That can lead to the song of your soul. When digging around for thoughts on this I came across a Facebook page titled, of course, “Finding Your Song.” It is from Sangeeta Bhagwat who calls herself an Inner Landscape Artist in India. On the Facebook page, she tells the story of an African tribe.
◆ When a woman in one African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose.
◆ When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
◆ And when children are born into the village, the community gathers and sings their song, one unique melody for each unique child.
◆ Later, when children begin their education, the village gathers and chants each child's song.
◆ They sing again when each child passes into the initiation of adulthood, and at the time of marriage.
◆ Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the bedside, as they did at birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
◆ If at any time during a person's life, he or she commits a crime or aberrant social act, that individual is called to stand in the center of a circle formed by all members of the tribe. And once again the villagers chant the child's song. The tribe recognizes that the proper correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment, but love and the remembrance of identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
◆ A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you when you have forgotten it.
◆ Life is always reminding you when you are in tune with yourself and when you are not. When you feel good, what you are doing matches your song, and when you feel awful, it doesn't. (- Link)
There are a number of important insights in this. The obvious one that it takes a village is quite clear. We do not find or develop our song in a vacuum. It may be something that only we understand, but it is found in interactions and relationships in some form of community. Thus the importance of finding a community that is willing to take the time to know you and who you are while not allowing you to stay stuck in a spot. The community is one that can nurture and challenge, comfort you when you are afflicted and afflict you when you are comfortable while always expressing compassion and support.

Our song then becomes associated with us and with our own unique journey. Even those of us who do not live in a community where the tribe finds your song and sings it to you, the environment we surround ourselves with, the people we pay attention to, the mentors, teachers, and guides who come into our lives lead us onto the paths if we pay attention and internalize the direction we are moving.

Where that can take us will be next week. Until then look at your community or communities that you are part of. Which ones nurture you and which ones ignore you? Who are the mentors who have that something that enhances your life and uplifts your soul? Think about what they have taught you, directly or indirectly, and how that has allowed you to be the singer of your own song.

Don’t get hung up in words, just listen to your heart and see where it leads.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Tuning Slide 4.41- Finding Your Voice (#2)

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
Cover bands don’t change the world – you need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive
— Todd Henry, Accidental Creative

Last week I started a series on finding our voice and our song. I talked some about Stephen Covey’s The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (2004). The 8th habit is “find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” Covey says that voice is
Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.
I looked at the cancerous behaviors that can be barriers to greatness- such as complaining, comparing, contending. But Covey also talks about those who do success and become what he calls “achievers” or those who do find their voice.
Achievers, those who manage to find their “voice”:
▪ develop their mental energy into vision
▪ develop their physical energy into discipline
▪ develop their emotional energy into passion
▪ develop their spiritual energy into conscience – their inward moral sense of what is right and wrong and their drive towards meaning and contribution.
That is quite an insight, in my opinion. He sees that we have four types of energy- mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.

▪ He starts with the mental since as we have talked about before, a great deal of success is found in the “mental.” We have to first know where we are going. That’s vision, which comes from developing and directing our mental energy.

▪ But doing isn’t thinking. Doing takes a different energy than mental. No, will power is not what works. What we need is the actual physical energy to move ourselves in action. We know that from the need to practice, build endurance and range, and become flexible in embouchure and fingering the trumpet. But there is other physical energy involved, namely the physical ability to do the work in the first place. This is we need discipline. Physical energy becomes discipline- doing it.

▪ But these two energies, like all sources of energy can run down. The next energy he calls emotional energy which gives us a boost. I like his use of the word passion to describe the focus of emotional energy. Passion is a powerful force. It helps us focus the vision and the discipline into what excites us. Look at the definition and some synonyms for passion: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. I.e. fervor, ardor, intensity, enthusiasm, eagerness, zeal. Adding these to our vision and discipline and we have more energy to work toward finding our voice.

▪ Finally Covey adds spiritual energy and conscience. Spiritual energy gives life to what we are doing. It grounds us in what is right and the better ways to live and work and treat others around us. It gets us in touch with powers, inspirations, and directions beyond ourselves. Conscience then gives our vision a moral and transcendent quality.

That’s what makes your voice so important- and unique. It doesn’t matter what field you are working - or playing - in. These four sources of energy help me discover me, who I am, what’s important to me, how I want my life to be lived. We don’t just imitate someone else, we are not a “cover band” for someone else’s music. This is ours.

While working on this I was listening to music. On my shuffle along comes a great Bob Dylan song- "All Along the Watchtower." But it wasn’t his version. It was the one far better known- Jimi Hendrix. Was Hendrix leading a cover band? No way! It was Dylan’s song, but this was Hendrix’s voice! The same is true, for example, in the amazing Coltrane recording, "My Favorite Things." It is, as many already know, a song from the musical/movie The Sound of Music written my Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yet Coltrane’s version is unique and definitely his own. It contains his vision, the discipline to work it out, the passion he had for music, and his own spiritual vision. It is no cover version- it is as original as the Rodgers and Hammerstein version.

That doesn’t happen often. Only those who have found their own voice will be able to move in this direction. Todd Henry, who I quoted above, has 10 questions that will help you find your voice. He posted these at Accidental Creative. He says that we may start with emulating others (being a “cover band”) but we must move beyond that to our own uniqueness. Here are his ten questions.
✓ What angers you?
✓ What makes you cry?
✓ What have you mastered?
✓ What gives you hope?
✓ As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
✓ If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do?
✓ What would blow your mind?
✓ What platform do you own?
✓ What change would you like to see in the world?
✓ If you had one day left, how would you spend it?
◆ Spend some time in the next week thinking about these questions. Put them in a journal or diary and play around with them. I am adding nothing in the way of my explanations. I will let you do that for yourself. Then see how we can apply that to moving with our voice (your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation) into your specific expressions, your song.

Why? Well, back to Todd Henry:
We need you. You are not disposable, and your contribution to the rest of us is not discretionary. Do not abdicate your contribution. If you do, you will spend the final days of your life wishing you’d treated your time here with more purpose. Today, here, now, in this moment, resolve to uncover your voice and to begin acting to effect change in this world. You may be reluctant to accept the role that you can play, but resolve to engage. Die empty.
— Todd Henry, Accidental Creative

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Buddy's War # 18- What a Shock


    •   May 4, 1944
Buddy called at 9:45 from Georgia saying he was married on Wednesday [the previous day, May 3.] Well the shock was awful
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

It may be that the shock is simply that he married someone other than the one he had been dating for years. It may have sunk in that the “friend” grandma mentions speaking to in a phone call from Georgia 13 days earlier is now Mrs. Harold Lehman.

Here we meet Dora Moldawsky. Her parents, Sam and Anna, came to the United States from Eastern Europe, most likely the Ukraine. It was the early 1900s, probably around 1904 before the Soviet Union, but not before the pogroms. That is no doubt why they made the trip to the United States. How they entered is a piece of the myth. In those mists of childhood overhearing, I remember something about them posing as brother and sister, even though already married.  All genealogical research points to them already being married when they got here. It makes an interesting story. Legal, illegal, or semi-legal immigrants, they came through the golden door of Ellis Island in New York Harbor next to the uplifted lamp of the Statue of Liberty.

Sam and Anna had three children. Dora, the youngest, was born in 1913. I have some pictures of Sam from the 1940s- a tall, handsome man, tanned and well dressed. Anna was the typical Jewish, eastern European Bubbe, grandmother. Sometime in the late 40s or early 50s, Sam had a leg amputated. Family lore had it due to diabetes, but a cousin later discovered other possible causes.

They were observant, Orthodox Jews. They kept Kosher and Sabbath. When we visited, the strict separation of meat and milk, for example, was hard for my brother and me to understand. Mom was not observant back in the Gentile wilds of Pennsylvania, Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. When we were in Brooklyn I don’t remember any time when anyone went to services on Friday evening or Saturday morning. It is quite likely that at least the men went, but, since Sam died when I was nine or ten, it wouldn’t have been unusual for us not to even notice what was happening.

Sometime in her late 20s, Dora did her version of running away from home. In 1940 according to that year’s census records, she was still in Brooklyn, working as a bookkeeper at a wholesale dress house. In some magical and mysterious unknown way by 1943 at age 30 she ended up in Augusta, Georgia. Different versions of the story claim she was working as a secretary or did accounting or was a club singer in Augusta. Maybe all three. What is clear is that while there she met a GI from Pennsylvania who was eight years older than she was. That adds a certain amount of rebelliousness to her character. It would take a great deal of what her family would call chutzpah for her to be on her own, in 1944, and then get married to a gentile! This was as “mixed” a marriage as any other in 1944.

Sam and Anna must have loved her, though, they did not disown her. Beula’s diaries mention Harold and Dora both going to New York to visit and then, after Buddy was deployed, Dora coming to spend time with his family in Pennsylvania. Later pictures show Sam and Anna visiting in Pennsylvania with my brother and me, their two youngest grandchildren.

What we have here is a story with a glimpse into a far-different time. We have Harold Lehman, a run-away gentile from Pennsylvania standing at the Jewish USO of Camp Gordon, Georgia, marrying Dora Moldawsky, a run-away from her Brooklyn family.

People have asked me what it was like to grow up Jewish in Gentile, Bible-belt, Pennsylvania. My immediate answer often was, “I have no idea.” My brother and I grew up culturally Gentiles. I was living in the midst of my family’s home area. As I have mentioned before we were the 7th or 8th generation from my family tree in the West Branch/Pine Creek Valley. And they were all culturally, if not actively practicing Christians. Christmas was a big holiday in our family with a tree and a midnight Christmas Eve/Day party where my brother and I were awakened. We went out to open our presents, delivered by Santa Claus, with family and Dad’s workers there.

I know there was an awareness in the community that our mother was Jewish and that therefore I was, in some way or another, Jewish. Before 1964 each school day started with a reading from the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer,* and the Pledge of Allegiance. When I became aware of such things, I noted that I was always given a passage from the Old Testament. Socially, and practically, though, I was far more Gentile than Jewish. That does not mean I wasn’t aware of “Jewishness.” It was just far more prevalent and obvious to me that I was part of a Pennsylvania native family. I have no idea how others in town felt.

Seventy-five years ago today none of this was on the table, at least in any way I can see. Knowing my family, I am sure there was a great deal of uncertainty, fear, perhaps even anger, at what Buddy had just done. I would guess they had some of the same stereotypes and prejudices, especially about New York City Jews, as were common in the day. Beula never mentioned in her diary that Buddy’s wife was Jewish. I have a hunch that, like many a mixed marriage today, the tension would have been incredible. It is May 1944 and he is only a few months away from shipping out to Europe. As if that wasn’t enough stress, they would have to get used to a new and very unfamiliar family member.

*Footnote: Many years later, living in the Midwest, I learned that in a number of places in the United States this daily Bible reading and reciting the Lord's Prayer was NOT the practice. I had a roomful of church members look at me like I was crazy and dreaming when I said that we did that each morning. The reason was simple- there were Christian groups in the community that were not allowed to pray with others, Christians or not.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Monday, April 29, 2019

Tuning Slide #4.40- Finding Your Voice (#1)

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.
― Madeleine K. Albright

Steven Covey was an imaginative and insightful self-help and management guru whose work changed how many people saw their lives and tasks. His most famous book was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989. He listed three “stages” of growth into maturity and the “habits” that help highly effective people move to the next stage:
1. Independence
1 - Be proactive
2 - Begin with the end in mind
3 - Put first things first
2. Interdependence
4 - Think win-win
5 - Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6 - Synergize!
3. Continual improvement
7 - Sharpen the Saw

Any of you who have been part of Mr. Baca’s trumpet workshops know these seven habits and how important they are to many of us as we have developed our own musical maturity. These ideas have run through many of the ideas on the Tuning Slide over these four years, even though I have never specifically worked with these ideas in a series in the posts. (I think I just made a commitment to do that next year.)

In any case, in line with what I have been writing for the past six weeks about life lessons and music, I thought I would actually deal with an extension of Covey’s 7 habits that he introduced in a follow-up book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (2004). The 8th habit is “find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.”

The minute I saw the word “voice” I naturally turned to music and the ideas from a book on the subject I had picked up last year. The Art of Mindful Singing: Notes on Finding Your Voice by Jeremy Dion who uses mindfulness and singing to describe how music can experience well-being through music. So, as a natural extension of the past six weeks I decided to start with Covey and see how finding our voice- and our song- can bring us greater well-being and then later move into a bit of the ideas from the mindful singing book.
Voice is Covey's code for "unique personal significance." Those who inspire others to find theirs are the leaders needed now and for the future, according to Covey. The central idea of the book is the need for steady recovery and application of the whole person paradigm, which holds that persons have four intelligences - physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. (Wiki)
As the title of the Covey book indicates, effectiveness as described in his first ground-breaking book, isn’t the end. Now he wants to show how people can move from effectiveness to “greatness.” At the heart of that is our individual ability to make choices. It has almost become a post-modern mantra that we can choose how to respond to just about any situation that we find ourselves facing. We can choose to be angry or to forgive, for example. We can choose to wallow in sadness or find ways to move on. We can choose to be satisfied with being mediocre, or we can look for ways to increase and grow in our abilities and skill. That’s where the first seven habits move us.

But many times we are stifled, inhibited or blocked from those movements. The book talks of "5 Cancerous Behaviors" (page 135) that inhibit people's greatness:
◦ Criticism
◦ Complaining
◦ Comparing
◦ Competing
◦ Contending
This list is one that we as musicians have certainly faced.
◦ There is the criticism that others aim at us for making mistakes or, in this point, the criticism we aim at others who we don’t want to be better than us. There are outer critics and our own inner critic. No one is ever good enough for a critic. We can choose how we respond (if at all) to these criticisms or take them and grow with them.
◦ There is the complaining (whining) that I “can’t” do that, I don’t have the time to practice that much, I will never be able to hit that note. Who does the director think he’s dealing with, Doc? Nothing is ever good enough for the complainer. We can choose to stay a whiner and complaining, letting the inner critic win, or we can decide to move on.
◦ There is the comparing of myself to others either better than I am or not as good as I am. When I compare myself to the better musician, I can end up with jealousy or envy or low self-esteem. When I look to compare myself to someone who isn’t as good as I am, I can tend to get that egocentric behavior and attitude we are often told we have. We can choose not to compare with others and seek only to be better that the person I was yesterday.
◦ There is competition. I don’t mean we don’t compete. We will. But if it is a win-lose competition, we have moved into dangerous territory as we may end up only wanting our way to win. We compete in order to be better than the other. We can’t help others achieve their greatness, an important part of the 8th habit, if we are always seeking to beat them. We can choose to reach out and assist others to increase their skills and ability.
◦ Here is contending which leads us to move even beyond criticizing to wanting to make the other person look bad. Contenders are always looking for a fight in order to beat the other. Again, we can’t reach out and help others in positive ways if we insist they are inferior and unable to do what we do.
Covey sees these as “cancerous.” They are dangerous; they break and inhibit relationships. They eat away at who we are. They undermine any ability we might seek to discover. In the end they can destroy the possibility of greatness. Not that there aren’t good musicians who might even embody some of these cancerous behaviors. There have certainly been enough self-centered, angry, jealous, mean individuals who achieve “star” status in all areas of life from music, to politics, to business and beyond. They force their personalities and dysfunctions on others- sometimes as bullies, sometimes as oppressive individuals, sometimes as just plain people we hate to be around.

We can choose to NOT be one of those people. I am deeply saddened when I hear of- or meet- one of those individuals. Some of them are mean to themselves in self-criticism, lack of self-awareness or self-esteem. They are short-changing themselves. Some are mean to others. They are short-changing others- but are also short-changing themselves. They will never discover the joy and wonder that might bring even greater possibilities in their lives.

When we truly find our voice, it will have an impact on all that we do and all that we can be. More on how we do that next week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Buddy's War # 17- A Hint of Something to Come


    •    April 21, 1944
At 6.45 in the evening Buddy called from Augusta and his friend was there and I talked to her.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
This is the first mention in the diaries of Buddy’s friend. Did Beula know that she was more than just a “friend” and was she using the euphemism to ignore the implications? Dad was 38 years old, never married. His brother Carl, 42, the eldest, was to be married by the end of June to his very long-time girlfriend.  His sister Ruth, 40, the middle child, had been married about 10 years. Dad had a history of a long time girlfriend that I have mentioned in other posts, whose tires he reportedly slashed when angry.

For all practical purposes Buddy was a small-town boy He spent most of his life in his hometown along the banks of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the nearby Pine Creek in North Central Pennsylvania.

The West Branch rambles through the Allegheny Plateau, before heading east at Lock Haven. Forty or so miles later it breaks south at Muncy leaving the valley. It will join the North Branch a few miles further and form the main river to the Chesapeake Bay. The east flowing section is in a wide, fertile valley, the transition between the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Province (- Link) to the south and the Allegheny Plateau (- Link) to the north. For those 40 miles Bald Eagle Mountain (- Link) bounds the river and the valley. Powerful, tall and green, the mountain is the edge of the world from either direction.

Then there is Pine Creek (- Link). Don’t let its name fool you. One historian commented that it deserves the name river rather than creek. It can be a powerhouse of liquid- or a rock strewn stream. It runs eighty miles from its start beyond Ansonia. It flows through the Allegheny Plateau heading south having carved what is known as The Gorge or the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It flows into the Susquehanna a few miles from my hometown, near the site where an ancient Elm stood for centuries until felled by Dutch Elm disease. Under that elm, the Tiadaghton Elm, on July 4, 1776, a group of illegal settlers known as the Fair Play Men signed a declaration of independence from England as the same thing was happening in Philadelphia. (- Link)

Pine Creek is the Tiadaghton- its native name. We were always told it was the largest creek in the world; the major tributary of the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Pine Creek is the wild place, the wilderness on which one’s life foundation can be built, a wilderness at the bottom of a majestic pine bounded gorge. Get your feet wet in Pine Creek, the saying went, and you will always return.

Both Dad’s parents grew up in the same area on neighboring homesteads. The town, and the whole valley from Williamsport to Lock Haven as well as up Pine Creek was filled with all kinds of distant- and not too distant relatives. Everyone knew everyone.  Nevertheless, as I said in post #2, I have little concrete information about his childhood and young adult years.

As a small-town boy, he did become familiar with the city when he went to pharmacy school in Philadelphia. But his feet had been in Pine Creek. After his graduation in 1928 he returned home to the West Branch Valley and lived with his parents in the house where he had spent much of his youth, worked at a local pharmacy that he and his father eventually purchased.

I am sure that it would not have been too much to assume that Dad was going to marry someone local.

All of this was now several years past when Beula got to talk to Buddy’s “friend” 75 years ago. When and how he met this friend is lost in family history. From information in Beula’s diary it appears that Dad was renting from a family in Augusta, about 9 miles from Camp Gordon and probably working in a hospital at least part time. Sixteen years later the family would stop in Augusta on a return trip from Florida and visit with a family who we were told was where Mom was living at the time. I can only guess that it may have been the same place. Who knows? Sometimes facts are not possible to discover.

What Beula and Bill or any of his siblings knew is pure, uneducated conjecture. Now, 75 years later we know where it was about to go.

Meanwhile,

◆ April 1944
◆ 75 Years Ago
    ◦    Adolf Eichmann and the Nazis offered the Hungarian rescue worker Joel Brand the "Blood for Goods" deal, proposing that one million Jews be allowed to leave Hungary for any Allied-occupied country except Palestine, in exchange for goods obtained outside of Hungary. The deal would never be made because the Allies believed it to be a trick and the British press slammed it as blackmail,
    ◦    A two-day meeting between Hitler and Benito Mussolini was held near Salzburg, and
    ◦    "It's Love-Love-Love" by Guy Lombardo and His Orchestra topped the Billboard singles charts.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tuning Slide

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that's what we are.
— Mickey Hart

Mickey Hart, one of the percussionists with the Grateful Dead has written much about rhythm and its location at the very center of our lives. It is not a pun to say it is the heart of who we are. To be in touch with the rhythm of our lives is one of those tasks that we can never end. The give and take, the pulses of daily living, the ups and downs of emotions can all fit into a rhythm. Many experiments have shown that different sources of rhythm will fall into sync with each other. Rhythm is one of the basics of music itself, and is therefore, I think, music is one of the best ways to learn about the importance of keeping the beat.

For the past month I have been pulling together the ideas of music and life, how they interact and what one can teach us about the other. Last week I raised the importance of jazz in this process. All musical styles can and will change our lives if we are open to them. Each of us just responds in different ways to different styles. For me- and for many- jazz is one of the most effective teachers of life and rhythm, timing and pace.

Through improvisation, jazz teaches you about yourself. And through swing, it teaches you that other people are individuals too. It teaches you how to coordinate with them.
— Wynton Marsalis

Back at the end year one of the Tuning Slide I had a post that dug into the writing of Wynton Marsalis in his book, Moving to Higher Ground. The focus of that was the idea of “swing,” one of the historically important- and still living- genres of jazz. Jazz musicians will use the generic word “swing” to describe what happens when a piece falls into its intended groove and moves beyond a simple sum of its parts. When a song “swings”, when a musician is “swinging,” they are in the best of all possible musical worlds. You are not just you, but you are, as Wynton described it above, coordinating with the others. It is that coordination that makes it work! This is not just in jazz, by the way. Bach may have produced some of the best music to "swing" to in all of history!

Here is some more of what Marsalis says in the book:
Jazz is the art of timing. It teaches you when. When to start, when to wait, when to step it up, and when to take your time- indispensable tools for making someone else happy….

Actual time is a constant. Your time is a perception. Swing time is a collective action. Everyone in jazz is trying to create a more flexible alternative to actual time. [Emphasis added in both quotes]
Swing can be to a great extent what you accent and how you do it. Different tempos, different tonguing, different rhythms go together to make the music work. It means listening to each other and learning to flow together.

But something always seems to get in the way. In the brass quintet I play in we, like every musical group, can have great difficulty playing in a consistent tempo. There are all kinds of obstacles. Listening to a recording of a rehearsal I found that different ones of us can cause a tempo change within a beat or two if we

◦ Come to a change in dynamics from louder to softer.
◦ Come to a change in instrumentation adding a new tonal sound or removing one.
◦ Make a mistake and let our mind wander into self criticism
◦ Play something better than usual and let our mind wander into how good it sounds

Music teaches us how to deal with change, anticipating it and knowing how to move through it without losing who we are and what we are doing. Something we can always depend on is change, so if we learn the skill of flowing with and through change, no matter what the source, we can discover more direction in our lives.

Rhythm is sound in motion. It is related to the pulse, the heartbeat, the way we breathe. It rises and falls. It takes us into ourselves; it takes us out of ourselves.
— Edward Hirsch

Wynton Marsalis applies all this to our daily lives. Swing helps us in:
1. Adjusting to changes without losing your equilibrium;
2. Mastering moments of crisis with clear thinking;
3. Living in the moment and accepting reality instead of trying to force everyone to do things your way;
4. Concentrating on a collective goal even when your conception of the collective doesn’t dominate.
In the end, Wynton Marsalis says, swing demands three things:
1. Extreme coordination- it is a dance with others inventing steps as they go;
2. Intelligent decision making- what’s good for group.
3. Good intentions- trust you and others want great music.
The most prized possession in this music is your own unique sound. Through sound, jazz leads you to the core of yourself and says “Express that.” Through jazz, we learn that people are never all one way. Each musician has strengths and weaknesses. That is where we each find first our voice and then our song. When we do that we fall into rhythm with our lives and the world, giving back to others the gifts of our own lives.

So then next week we move to finding our “voice” so we can then learn to live our “song.” This may be the greatest gift music has to offer us.

Until then, keep the beat, watch the rhythm, and keep swinging.

Note: All Wynton Marsalis quotes are from the book:
Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life by Wynton Marsalis and Geoffrey Ward. 2008, Random House.

Happy Anniversary # 47

We start another year!



We're the best partners this world's ever seen,
Together as close as can be.
Sometimes it's hard to find time in between,
To tell you what you are to me.

You are the rose of my heart,
You are the love of my life.
A flower not fading nor falling apart,
If you're tired, rest your head on my arm.
Rose of my heart.

When sorrow holds you in her arms of clay,
It's rain drops that fall from your eyes.
Your smile's like the sun come to earth for a day,
You brighten my blackest of skies.

You are the rose of my heart,
You are the love of my life.
A flower not fading nor falling apart,
If you're cold, let my love make you warm.
Rose of my heart.

So hard times or easy times, what do I care,
There's nothing I'd change if I could.
The tears and the laughter are things that we share,
Your hand in mine makes all times good.

You are the rose of my heart,
You are the love of my life.
A flower not fading nor falling apart,
You're my harbor in life's restless storm.Rose of my heart.

Rose of my heart.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Buddy's War # 16- Medical Training


◆ April 1944
◆ 75 Years Ago
Less than two months before the planned Allied invasion of France, American and British warplanes soften German defenses on the Normandy coast. (WW II timeline)
    Things will soon get far more hectic, surprising, and involved for my dad and his family. At this point 75 years ago it was all still in limbo. Through mid-April the only mention of Buddy this month in my grandmother’s diary was that she either received a letter from him or sent him one or a “box,” most likely of food. During this break in the action I have been researching the how and what of training for medics. I have found a number of helpful manuals and reports on the Internet. One is The Instructors’ Guide for Medical Department Mobilization, September 1942 and the other is part of the series on World War II history, this volume from 1974 on the Army Medical Department Medical Training in World War II. They give a clear picture of what the US Army Medical Department faced in the early years and how they developed the world class medical units that were indispensable. First, some background from the pre-war years as reported in the history.

    Training facilities of the U.S. Army Medical Department in 1939 reflected adaptation to peacetime medical requirements. From a World War I peak of over 340,000, the Medical Department’s strength had been reduced to a little over 11,500 officers and enlisted men by June 1939. … The five Medical Department field units that existed were either understrength or skeleton organizations; trained enlisted cadre could not have been provided in case of mobilization.
    Had the Medical Department been confronted with mobilization in the summer of 1939, the problems of creating a functioning organization capable of providing both routine health care and field medical support might have proved insurmountable. [Emphasis added.] The 2-year period that intervened provided an opportunity to adjust the program for the crisis that lay ahead. (Medical Training)

    Training that already existed was expanded slightly starting in 1939 after the start of the war in Europe when Germany’s invaded Poland. A report about the later development of replacement training centers on the website of the WW II US Medical Research Center clearly states the purpose:

The ultimate purpose of all Military Training is the assurance of Victory in war! An Army must be trained to do its job in the most effective manner if it is to reach victory with the least possible losses to the country. … Attached medical personnel and Medical Department units must be prepared to support the offensive spirit and actions of the Armed Forces. … Units must be trained to function effectively in any type of military operation. The well-trained medical unit will increase the offensive spirit by assuring combat personnel of adequate medical service at all times.

Medical personnel were therefore trained to be aggressive, resolute, and thoroughly capable…While the basis of initial training was the individual, the ultimate requirement was teamwork, from the smallest unit to the largest. (— Link)
    In order for that to happen, there was a basic program for medical personnel training. It appears that after the draft was begun in late 1940, the training looked something like this:
[E]nlisted men were to receive 13 weeks of basic training. [It] was divided into two phases: The first, a period of basic military training; and the second, a period of basic technical and tactical training. After 2 weeks of basic military training at the beginning of the cycle, the trainee was expected to be able to display and care for his uniform and equipment, to understand military courtesy, and to have acquired a fundamental knowledge of such basic military subjects as individual defense and march discipline.

The third to 13th weeks of the program were devoted to basic technical and tactical training. Training in basic military subjects continued, but after the second week of the cycle, the program stressed basic technical subjects that would prepare men either for specific duties or for further training at a medical unit or installation. During this period, men were also trained to march and execute tactical movements, to establish and operate battalion or regimental dispensaries, and to maneuver with the combat arms in the field….

Individuals qualified to be trained as technicians were selected at the end of the fourth, eighth, and 12th week of the cycle and sent to Medical Department special service schools or to enlisted technician schools for 8 to 12 weeks of technical training. (Quora)
    From other sources I have found that the Army earmarked medic candidates from the very first day they joined the Army. Sounds simple enough, but the truth of the matter is that in that time referred to as the period  of “Limited National Emergency”
Although there was extensive study and planning for the expansion of the Army Medical Department [during that period], little was actually done. …  The Army Medical Department was also handicapped by lack of funds to construct troop housing and classrooms at the training centers and to expand facilities at the technical and advanced technical training schools. The shortage of instructors at the training centers and technical schools was a chronic problem. Training equipment had to be improvised or simulated. Irregular arrivals and unscheduled transfers of trainees resulted in vast fluctuations in enrollments. (— Link)
    Looking at the 1942 Instructors’ Guide gives a decent outline of what the training was supposed to look like.

1) Basic Training- weeks one and two
The preliminary training of the individual enlisted man will be stressed. At the end of this period he should be able to wear properly, display, and care for his uniform and equipment; understand and correctly practice indoor and outdoor military courtesy; and have an applicatory knowledge of the essentials of all basic subjects prescribed in this program.
2) Technical Training- weeks 3-10
Emphasis is placed upon fundamental technical subjects which will fit him for actual practice or further training in a medical unit or installation. In addition to the technical subjects, specialist training, tactical and logistical training is begun. Fundamental technical subjects were covered such as establishment and operation of stations, collection and treatment of casualties in the field, the operation of regimental and battalion dispensaries; and the preparation for participation with the associated arms in field exercises and under combat conditions. 

3) Tactical Training- weeks 11-13
This period should be devoted largely to field and applicatory exercises. At the end of this period personnel intended for tactical medical units should be able to march and execute tactical movements with facility, establish and operate stations, collect and treat casualties in the field during day or night, operate battalion or regimental aid stations, and participate with the associated arms both in field exercises and under combat conditions.

4) Specialist Training- weeks 14-26
For a surgical technician this would include everything from nutrition and hygiene to ward management and air raid procedures. (Instructors' Manual)
    It appears that in the last quarter of 1941 the basic training portion was shortened to 11 weeks. But by then my dad would have already completed both basic and specialist training as outlined in the Manual.

    My Dad was part of the initial mobilization in the two years of 1939-1941. As I talked about in an earlier post, he registered for the draft as required on the first day in October 1940. His enlistment date was January 13, 1941. I assume that because of his own civilian training as a pharmacist he went though both basic training and medical orientation as listed above. The one thing that supports that assumption is a picture I have of medics from the hospital at Camp Blanding, Florida in late August 1941, over seven months into his year.

Buddy in upper right corner (cropped)

As I have said elsewhere, I have no diary from my grandmother to confirm any information. So far I have hit dead ends on following him in that first period of service. If, as I assume, he was trained in his eventual specialty- surgical technician- this all would have taken him until mid-July 1941. Did he stay for further training or to develop skills? Camp Blanding is not listed as a medical training facility in anything I have found. Was he sent home early since the space was needed for increased training when the draft was extended in 1941?

    All I know for sure are the dates above, the picture from Camp Blanding, and that by January 1942 (perhaps earlier) he was home and remained at home until activated in August ’42 into the 80th Armored Medical Battalion. Now, in April 1944, he was a medic with the 10 Armored Division’s medical battalion, no doubt “enjoying” these last months before going overseas. D-Day was less than six weeks away and then everything would change.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Buddy's War # 15 January - March 1944: The Greater War


While my dad, with the 10th Armored Division and 80th Medical Battalion continued training, there was a great deal of activity elsewhere. In the first 3 months of 1944, 75 years ago, some actions in the greater war:

January 1944
◦ 16: General Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in London, returning from a week of rest and planning in Washington, D. C., and assumed command of the European Theater by General Orders No. 4. His new title was Commanding General, U.S. Forces, European Theater of Operations.

◦ 20: The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin,
     and   The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Gari River but suffers heavy losses.

◦ 22: Allies begin Operation Shingle, the landing at Anzio, Italy, commanded by American Major General John P. Lucas. The Allies hope to break the stalemate in south Italy, but they are unable to break out of the beachhead and the line holds until late May. The minesweeper USS Portent commanded by Lt. H.C. Plummer, hit a mine and sank southeast of Anzio, Italy.

◦ 27: The Siege of Leningrad ended after 872 days, as Soviet forces finally forced the Germans to withdraw. Some 2 million died, mostly of starvation and disease.

February 1944
◦ 1: U.S. Marines mop up on Roi and Namur in the northern part of the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands.

◦ 2: The Narva front near the east border of Estonia is formed between the Soviet and German forces.

◦ 3: American planes bomb Eniwetok in the Marshalls, later to be a major B-29 base.

◦ 4: Kwajalein, the world's largest atoll and a major Japanese naval base, is secured.

◦ 5: The American Navy bombards the Kuril Islands, northernmost in the Japanese homelands.

◦ 8: The plan for the invasion of France, Operation Overlord, is confirmed.

◦ 17: American Marines land on Eniwetok.

◦ 18: The light cruiser HMS Penelope is torpedoed and sunk off the coast of Anzio with a loss of 415 crew,
    and    American naval air raid takes place on the Truk islands, a major Japanese naval base, but they will be one of the bypassed fortresses of the Japanese outer defense ring.

◦ 19: Leipzig, Germany is bombed for two straight nights. This marks the beginning of a "Big Week" bombing campaign against German industrial cities by Allied bombers.

◦ 26: The "Big Week" bombing campaign comes to a successful conclusion; the American P-51 Mustang fighter with its long range proves invaluable in protecting American bombers over Germany.

March 1944
◦ 3: German forces around Anzio, having failed to drive the Allies from the beachhead, go over to a defensive posture.

◦ 6: The Allies receive intelligence that the Japanese may be about to attack Western Australia, causing them to greatly bolster defenses there. When no attack comes, forces return to their regular stations on the 20th.

◦ 16: United States XI Corps arrives in Pacific Theater.

◦ 17: Heavy bombing of Vienna, Austria.

March 20, 1944
◆ 75 Years Ago Today
The Royal Air Force drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.
The U.S. Army 36th Infantry Division, in Italy, attempts to cross the Gari River but suffers heavy losses.

◦ 24: Heavy bombings of German cities at various strategic locations last for 24 hours.
-- Wikipedia




Monday, April 15, 2019

Tuning Slide 4.38- Why Jazz

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
The thing to judge in any jazz artist is, does the man project and does he have ideas.
— Miles Davis

[I left Miles’s male pronouns so as not to interrupt the thought.]

Last week I brought the three life lesson posts together in the post about lessons from jazz. But that hardly scratched the surface of jazz and its importance in the world of music. Jazz encompasses so many genres that it would be hard to make a complete list. Wikipedia’s jazz subgenera page lists 54 styles from Acid Jazz to West Coast Jazz with all kinds in-between. I have been a fan of jazz for over 55 years now. I don’t remember the first jazz I discovered, although it included anything I might have heard by Louis Armstrong, Doc Severinsen, Buddy Rich, and others on the Tonight Show or Dick Cavett, and perhaps the first, Al Hirt’s "Java".

Learning and listening to jazz, let alone playing it, is a difficult journey unless you get introduced wisely or have some inner DNA tuned to it. I have worked and wrestled and wrangled away at aspects of jazz in the 50+ years since a fellow DJ at our college station introduced me to the breadth of jazz beyond Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck. The performance and album that did that was the live album Swiss Movement by Les McCann and Eddie Harris. The now iconic “Compared to What” blew me away. I have never looked back, forever glad I found it.



So, what did Miles mean in that quote above and how is that a basic lesson from jazz? First, as in last week’s post, it is the reminder that unless you are willing to be out front, “projecting yourself,” your jazz street cred will be suspect. A jazz musician will, by the nature of the beast, be up front. Jazz means to be yourself and let people get to know who you are. Not an easy thing to do. That iconic Miles Davis style of playing downward and wandering the stage with his back to the audience was not a way of hiding. It brought the audience upright, searching for the sound. He did it with a microphone, of course, so his sound would get out there, especially with the Harmon mute. He was in charge of the stage and projected energy, electricity, spirit. You never doubted Miles, even when you didn’t understand a thing he was doing.

Which is the second thing from jazz- you have to work on your ideas. Miles was a man with ideas, way more than any one person could follow. He was never satisfied with what he had already developed. He all but invented “cool jazz” and then “modal jazz” and immediately moved to something else. Once he did it, it was time to move on, discover something different, invent something no one ever played before. He made the complex sound so simple, but few could duplicate it. No one sounded like Miles, though many of us wanted to. His ideas were so rich and diverse.

Apply that to life and you have a powerful understanding of what makes a person stand out, and what each of us can learn to do.

✓ First, be yourself- and project that self. That does not mean that introverts need to stand up and shout to the world who they are. That’s not what Miles means. It means be who you are. Is the “you” that people meet in your daily life the “real you?” Sure we have different persona depending on the location and group, but do you shine through, no matter what?

✓ Second, think for yourself. Knowledge is, I believe, a combination of learning, study, experience, personality, and personal interpretation. Too often we just blindly accept something that someone else has said- as long as it matches our beliefs, or reject it because it doesn’t. That isn’t thinking for yourself. That’s allowing someone else to do it for you. When learning jazz, we start by listening and learning from others, we play transcriptions or develop them ourselves. But then we learn to think of our own melodies and improvisations. Do that with your daily life.

Brent Vaarstra at the Learn Jazz Standards website had a list of four reasons why every musician should study jazz. Like Miles’s quote, it is a starting place for that life and music connection. Brent’s four reasons are:

1. [Jazz] will expand your harmonic knowledge.

2. It will force you to be proficient on your instrument.

3. It will improve your ear…big time.

4. It will help you become a better composer.

As I look at those, three things come to mind, reasons why these four are important, no matter what your favorite music genre, if you play jazz or not.

• It will make you think because
• It will be a new language that
• Will introduce you to things you never thought about before.

Now that makes sense. When you start paying attention, your mind begins to learn to focus on what ’s happening. It is a development of a mindfulness of what is happening. You are no longer a passive observer or listener, you are moving toward an understanding. A few months ago my wife and I were driving and I was listening to jazz and blues. My wife is not a musician so I asked her if she wanted to understand what was happening in the music- changes, 12-bar blues, etc. I spent a couple of songs lining it out. She commented that she now had a different appreciation for what she was hearing. She still doesn’t know music theory, but she is hearing something different.

Which is a language, a different language. I have spent many, many years working on the language of jazz and how someone like John Coltrane can do what he does. I am now beginning to hear the language. I have crossed some line into a different language- and culture. I am amazed at what I hear in unique ways that I never knew were there.

Which opens me to differences, diversity, cultural complexities, ways of thinking that impact my world-view.

And if that doesn’t apply to life, I don’t know what does.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Tuning Slide 4.37- Life Lessons #3- Jazz and Life

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
What we play is life.
—Louis Armstrong

Before last week’s attempted sidetrack into humor I have been looking at the application of life lessons from music. This week I come to what may be the single best music to learn from:

Jazz.

Life is always better with jazz. This is not to discount all the other kinds of music. Classical, pop, rock and roll, bluegrass- they all have an important place in my life and experiences. Each one can change moods, open doors, give vision, and give life new dimensions.

But there is something about jazz.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. — Link
As a counselor, for example, I have to listen to what someone else is saying, make sense of it, figure out what it might mean, and then respond. It’s like improvising jazz. The same is true as a preacher, even working from a manuscript, or as a public speaker feeling the mood of the crowd.

Two interesting books come to mind when looking at an understanding of jazz:

• The Jazz of Physics by Stephon Alexander and
• Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by Frank Barrett

Google articles about jazz and business and on the first page you get:

• How Jazz Can Transform Business - Forbes
• What Can Jazz Teach Us about Business? | TIME.com
• Business and all that jazz | Education | The Guardian
• Jazz as a Metaphor for the New Model of the Enterprise - Don Tapscott
• What Leaders Can Learn from Jazz - Harvard Business Review
• How Jazz Music Prepared Me for Life as a CEO - Entrepreneur
• 8 Lessons that Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Jazz - Jazz Education

One of the articles I found gave a good list to “riff” on for me- Josh Linkner in “11 Leadership Lessons From Jazz Musicians” at Inc. Here’s his list with my thoughts interspersed.

1. Playing it safe gets you tossed off the stage. Take risks. Yes, it is risky to take steps outward, to step into center stage. But we all have to do it.
2. There are no do-overs in live performances. Practice so you know what you can do is the secret of jazz improvising. This helps us get certain things about ourselves into the realm of being natural. It is no different than learning to walk- it takes practice and then you don’t have to think about it anymore. Life is a live performance- go for it.
3. Listening to those around you is three times more important than what you play yourself. Pay attention to others. I know too many people, myself included at times, that are always thinking about that they are going to say next instead of listening. Listen! I am amazed at what I don’t know and what I can learn.
4. There's a time to stand out as a soloist and a time to support others and make them shine. Share the glory! What do you do when someone else is getting the congratulations? Stand and feel jealous? Wish it was you? That won’t get us anywhere. Celebrate with them.
5. Expect surprises and adversity, since jazz (and life) is about how you respond and adapt. Anticipate problems and plan. This is where that practice in #2 above really pays off.
6. Know your audience. It is often about the other person’s needs. Remember #3- listening. This is one of the reasons we do that when with others- so we can respond to them where they are.
7. It's always better leaving people wanting more, rather than less. Don’t overdo it.
8. The best leaders are those that make others sound good. Don’t hold back and keep others from shining.
9. Pattern recognition is easier than raw genius. Learn from what has happened. This helps when the surprises happen- “Oh, I’ve been through this before. I can handle it.”
10. Shy musicians are starving artists. Linkner says, If you're playing a gig, you get paid when there's butts in seats, so you can't be shy in telling people about the upcoming show. Learn to present your possibilities without bragging. It also means looking for opportunities to be yourself, to learn, to share, to grow.
11. Keeping it new and fresh is mandatory. Linkner reminds us that Jazz has its roots in real-time, collaborative innovation. Look for the new challenges. Then look for those people who you can work with to make it real. Find the friends, the colleagues, the significant other who does more than just agrees with you, but who will also challenge and enhance what you have to offer!

Linkner ends with this:
Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck put it best, and his words resonate not only on stage for musicians but also in life for business leaders. As he so eloquently described it, "There's a way of playing safe, there's a way of using tricks and there's the way I like to play, which is dangerously, where you're going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven't created before."
I would sum this all up with the idea that life does not come with an instruction manual. How can it? Each of us is unique with our own blend of ideas, abilities, insights, and experiences. We build on what we have been given and what we know. In the end you compose your own operations manual and the song that is you!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Tuning Slide 4.36- Innovation in the Trumpet Field

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
A dream will not become an innovation if there is no realization.
-- Ciputra

I was doing some Internet surfing the other day and came across a journal I had never seen before. The Journal of Brilliant New Inventions from Technological Advances is a little known publication that itself digs into the deep recesses of technological development. They then report on what seems to them to be particularly interesting possibilities. They do give a disclaimer that many of these ideas are many years down the road. Well, I found one that might be of interest to many of us. A small group in California is working on an electric trumpet. Here is part of the introduction to the article that explains its origins and ideas. I have ignored the more highly technical electronics and acoustics to just center on the basics:
The idea of being able to play a trumpet without actually blowing into the mouthpiece seems like a dream filled with nonsense, a fools errand, a desire of only the laziest among musicians. But it has its roots in another instrument from the last century- the electric guitar. As has been explained in a number of histories of the guitar in modern music, the traditional acoustic guitar had a serious flaw- it wasn’t loud enough. However, with the addition of a microphone-type pickup, or a mike set in front of the sound hole, the sound could be amplified.

But only to a point. That point was the feedback point caused by sound waves entering and being recycled due to the hollow body of the acoustic guitar. To make a long story short, the development of a solid body guitar solved the feedback- and volume limits- of guitars. Electric guitars could now be played at a volume unheard of before. They were now able to be utilized in far more types of bands where they could soar above the other instruments.

Mention “volume” to a trumpet player and you will see eyes light up. There will be this dreamy moment when the trumpet musician will think of all the possibilities that even Maynard Ferguson would never have had the imagination to plan for. Yes, a trumpet can be miked, but, like the hollow-body acoustic guitar, there is a limit, that old devil- the feedback loop.

Jeffrey D. One of the inventors, explained the purpose this way.
Just like the electric guitar giving new possibilities to an old instrument, the electric trumpet turns this original and ancient brass instrument into a 21st Century marvel. We have worked to be able to get the electric trumpet into an almost endless set of possibilities.

With the solid-body electric guitar, the guitarist naturally still had to pluck the strings, but it no longer required a great deal of effort to get the volume up. The strings didn’t need to make much sound- the pickups did all that work.

The inventor of the eTrumpet compared that to the way he expects this new trumpet to require similar skills to the acoustic trumpet.
Just because it is electronic and will not require the level of air pressure to produce sounds does not mean it will be easier to play. An eTrumpeter will need to develop the same dexterity of fingering that an acoustic player has to have. There will not, however, be the same development of embouchure and therefore will not take the same level of physical stamina. Things like the “whammy bar” and then the electronic pedals and effects added never before heard sounds to the guitarists repertoire. Some trumpet players, especially in jazz, have been successfully experimenting with similar effects in live performances. It would appear that this new electric trumpet will bring that new sound into the hands of more people.
The inventor did not go into a great deal of detail on the electronics or how different octaves would be produced since most of that does occur with air pressure and embouchure. The prototype he displayed for the journal article seemed to indicate that an octave switch would be on the left side of the horn where the left thumb could be used to move up the scale. He did not plan on the early versions going below the normal lower F# below the staff or the high C above the staff.

He admitted to some criticism already being aimed at him. He refused to get into any arguments about the “honesty” of the sound or the “sense of cheating” that some have said his instrument would engender. “Anyone can get a sound out of an electric guitar more easily than an acoustic, but that does not make them into an Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix overnight,” he added. In saying this he also made clear that this is not going to be just a toy, but rather a sophisticated and whole new musical instrument.

— Link
The original release date of the commercial version of the eTrumpet was to be this week, but some obstacles needed to be cleared. It is now projected that the release date will be one year from today. And if you did not follow the above link, well, one year from today will also be an April 1.


Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
— Alexander Pope

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Monday, March 25, 2019

Tuning Slide 4.35- Health is Physical and Mental

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music
A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I’ll start with a confession from last week- I didn’t get to post anything. We have been traveling on our end of the winter “vacation” and things were going in all kinds of wonderful directions in Savannah, GA, that it never happened.

Two weeks ago I started a three-part series on life lessons to take away from being a musician. In that one I riffed on a post from the website, The Odyssey Online, where Amanda Gribbin reflected on Eight Life Lessons Through Music.

This week I turn to the website, Musicnotes Now.
[From their page: Musicnotes Now – A Noteworthy Blog for Seriously Fun Musicians. Bringing music lovers the latest news, tips, and products to help nourish their love for music.
“Now” is a blog brought to you by Musicnotes – the world leader in digital sheet music.]
There I discovered a post titled:
17 Surprising Health Benefits of Playing an Instrument

In the first section they talk about possible physical benefits including improved breathing, exercise, improved immune response, hearing, and stress reduction. The one item that I have had some experience with centers on the breathing and muscle improvement. I am a whiz at your normal, everyday standard “plank” exercise. My trainer was amazed the first time I did a solid two minute plank. He commented that not too many people my age (or even younger) could do a two-minute plank. A few weeks later we were discussing it again and he said, “I wonder if part of why you can do that so well is because you are a trumpet player and need to use your core?” I don’t know if that is true or not, but it gives some truth to the physical side of playing an instrument.

Perhaps the clearest benefits, and life lessons, however, can be found in the second area mentioned on the website, the mental benefits. Here these are with the comments from the article:
✓ Mental Performance
⁃ Playing music is like doing a workout for every part of your brain. It helps improve your mental performance and memory. There’s even evidence that music can help a patient’s brain recover from a stroke, as well as slow the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

✓ Coordination
⁃ Using your fingers, hands, and feet in a rhythmic manner for a sustained amount of time, while also being conscious of playing the correct tones, can be a challenge for even the most coordinated people. Over time though, playing music refines your motor skills that go beyond the hand-eye.

✓ Time Management
⁃ Learning an instrument requires practice, of course! But more specifically, it requires consistency and routine. Figuring out how to fit practice into your busy schedule and really stick to it helps you develop better time management and organization skills.

✓ Reading Skills
⁃ Reading music helps strengthen your ability to process information by creating new connections between the synapses in your brain. As a result, reading and absorbing information from other sources becomes a lot easier.

✓ Listening Skills
⁃ Learning music doesn’t just improve your ability to hear details; it also makes you better at listening. Whether you’re practicing on your own or playing with other people, you have to listen for timing, expression, and whether you’re in tune. This can make you a better listener even in everyday conversations as well.

✓ Concentration
⁃ Focus is a necessary part of learning an instrument. Improving your musical skills forces you to use all the parts of your brain involved in concentration, making you better able to concentrate in other life situations. This is another reason why music is beneficial for those with disorders like ADD (-Link)
These are not empty ideas. There is a great deal of research as well as anecdotal observation that can point in these directions. Now, one must always ask, are people who improve in these ways drawn to music because they can do that? No, I think it is more than that. Sometimes I think there are people drawn to music because they know it will benefit them.

For example, I am aware of a young person who had some significant learning concerns, possibly on the autism spectrum. They were somewhat reserved and uncertain. Somewhere around 5th or 6th grade they decided they wanted to be a trumpet player. We all know of the reputation we trumpet players have for being front and center and obnoxiously self-centered. That does not seem to be the best way to go for a person who appears just the opposite. Yet, I knew that this young person was about to do something remarkable. I was right. I saw them regularly over the next six or seven years and the change was clear and consistent. They became a trumpet player in all the best ways and expanded into other musical endeavors. It worked to change this person and help them find new and exciting ways to enter into social and school situations.

Yes, it’s an anecdote, an observation made from short and infrequent contacts. But it is not unusual as the above ideas propose.

So, for you and me- we are already musicians. We have learned how to play the instrument. Perhaps we have had to struggle with time-management or focus. Perhaps we know that we could be sharper in our mental performance- we get lazy thinking periods- or we just get lazy. Is that how we want to live? Is that going to help us move forward in music AND in all the other areas of our lives?

I have learned more from being a musician about living and thinking and development. I know that musicians (and often other arts-types) have to do a great deal of work to become more than just mediocre. We know we can do it! We have been doing it. Some of us for a few months or years, some of us for decades. We are not done yet, but we are moving.

Probably in the end, the most important life lesson we get from music is that we can succeed. It is the sense of achievement that builds confidence that helps us move to other levels of achievement and on and on.

Nike had it right, “Just do it.” Then, when we have done it, keep doing it. Why? Because you know you can do it!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Buddy's War: #14- A Year of Change Begins


    •    January 6 , 1944
Had a letter from Buddy and a picture of the meds in his division. Gee it is good.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
Note: Picture is cropped. Buddy is in center front.
We are now in the middle of March. Not much of consequence has happened with the 10th Armored so far this year. They are still in Georgia training and training and then more training. My grandmother’s diary is very brief and understated, as always. There’s not much about what my dad has been up to. Beula mentioned letters about every third day. Usually all she says is that she got a letter or that she sent one.

What was Buddy doing? What was the role of a medic in training? He has been with the 80th Armored Medical Battalion of the 10th Armored Division virtually since the beginning. He was also not a “new” recruit or trainee, having had his original training following the draft in 1941 prior to Pearl Harbor. I am continuing to research medic training, but I would think that by this point he was well-trained and as ready as it was possible to be after over 18 months on active duty. (If anyone has any stories or information from family or friends about this, please let me know!)

Two other diary entries give a brief and tantalizing glimpse at what might have been happening. The first:

    •    February 1, 1944
Buddy may get a furlough. wants to go to NY. Sent him $100.
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman

Why is Dad going to New York instead of home on furlough?  There is no hint in the diaries so far that he has been dating anyone or that he was interested in anything except the military. It is a more than educated guess that this diary entry hints at something that will make a huge difference in coming months.

The second entry, 75 years ago last week gives a slight glimpse at what might have also been taking up his time.

    •    March 10, 1944
Letter from Buddy. He said he is working in a big hospital in Augusta
- Diary entry, Beula Keller Lehman
Was this common? Remembering that he was not a new recruit, was he as trained in the duties of a medic as he needed to be and could go off-base? Or, and perhaps more likely, this was part of the training. From later information I have found that in Europe he was a surgical tech. His own profession in civilian life was as a pharmacist. It is very possible that they had him working in a civilian hospital to learn that aspect of the medic’s role. It even appears that he may not have been living on base. In the back of Beula’s diary is a listing of  his general’s name (Wm. H.H. Morris- commander of the 10th at the time), a phone number, and “the name of the people he rents from.”

This whole section highlights what for me has been my biggest regret in doing these posts- that I have come to this interest too late for many things to be found. It is only after I began this that I learned of 10th Armored reunions, now ended as even the youngest surviving veterans would be in his early 90s today. It is exciting to do the research I have been working on, but the many missing links are tantalizing and make me sad.

As far as the 10th:
 Checking in on the Tiger’s Tale monthly newspaper for the Division at “Camp Gordon”:

The February headline was that the division’s “Bond Drive Goes Over Quota.” The original goal was to sell $50,000 worth of US savings bonds. As of the middle of February they had raised $55,500. That is almost $800,000 in 2019 dollars! The top unit was the 11th Tank Battalion which bought over 10% of that at just over $7,000. Dad’s 80th Armored Medical Battalion was 11th on the list with just over $2,000 purchased. At that time an enlisted man’s pay started at $50/month and went as high as $138/month (between $700 and $1900 in current dollars.)

US Savings bonds were the government’s way of borrowing from civilians with the promise to pay them back. On February 1, 1935 legislation was signed that allowed the Department of the Treasury to issue savings bonds. In April 1941 they became known as Defensive Bonds to finance World War II.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Defensive Bonds were informally known as War Savings Bonds. US Savings Stamps in denominations of 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1 and $5 featuring a Minuteman statue design were also sold to be accumulated over time in collection booklets which when filled could be exchanged to purchase interest bearing Series E bonds. All the revenue coming in from the bonds went directly to support the war.  -- Wikipedia
(When i was an elementary school student in the 1950s, Savings Bonds were still popular. There was still the feeling of a patriotic and civil responsibility to bring in your dimes, quarters,  or even dollars to purchase the stamps. They are still available, sold only online and have different restrictions.)


An interesting story on page 2 in March told of two underage soldiers being discharged. The older of the two was just six months shy of his enrollment-eligible age of 18. He couldn’t “see why age has anything to do with the qualifications for being a soldier.” He had faked his mother’s name on his application- and she is the one who turned him in. He hoped to convince her to sign permission now. The younger one was only 15 years old and turned himself in since he was afraid of the consequences of falsifying his age.

Also in March we hear of two members of the Division who had previously fought in the Spanish Civil War- both on the Republican side, also known as the Loyalists, against Franco and his Nationalists.

There’s “gossip” of events in different battalions and companies and lots of news about sports and activities.  There was
    •    Basketball championships,
    •    Ping-pong, volleyball, wrestling,
    •    Boxing, polo, bowling,
    •    Rifle team and plans for the summer.

When you think about the task of keeping 10 - 15,000 troops occupied, especially in off-duty hours, this all makes a lot of sense.

And one little piece of trivia I saw:
The fresh milk for the division comes all the way from St. Paul, Minnesota.”
In a front page column in February, the General reviewed the high standards for the Division, his own take for the troops on the standards set by the Army. These were called “Preparation  for  Oversea  Movement  of  Individual  Replacements"("POR"). As the General wrote:
If you are POR qualified you are fit to fight and rarin’ to go; you are physically hard and tough; you can drive a tank all day and take the bumps; you can run, jump, hit the dirt and you can take advantage of cover to get up on your German or Jap enemy, surprise him with blade or bullet.
But the reality of war was also included in being POR Qualified. The General continued:
…your identification tags are correct and your wear them, your clothing and equipment are properly marked, well cared for and you are proud of them; you are protected from disease by inoculations against small-pox, typhoid and tetanus, taken within the past six months. You have provided your dependents with insurance and allotments; you don’t know where you’re going but you do know what you’re going to do when you get there; you are confident and ready.
D-Day was less than 90 days away, though no one yet knew the timing. The 10th Armored was less that six-months from leaving. For the 10th, a lot was still ahead. For Buddy and family, changes were on the way.