He (my sister and I went with him, of course) visited Mannes School of Music, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School while he was here. Everyone around him is saying some version of "Well, that's great, but you need to think about how you might make a living." When the idea of teaching comes up, he says, "I can see myself doing that when I'm older and I've accomplished all I set out to do."
Though I could certainly share a thought or two with him about the relationship between what you set out to do and how you actually end up living a life, I'm really reluctant to join the chorus of pleading for practicality. Dreams are dreams, and it might not matter that they don't usually drive you where you planned. They drive you somewhere. When I was 15, I didn't want to listen to anyone telling me No. (I still don't.) My nephew has energy, focus, talent, and loves to practice. Fifteen is not the age for practicality.
My old friend Linda Smith asked me to record a cover of one of her songs for an album of covers her label is putting out. Linda and I were in the The Woods together in the 80s and have kept in touch, more or less, since. Linda made a name for herself in the 80s and 90s putting out several home-recorded albums on cassette, when that was a thing. Her albums are full of great songs and I have many favorites. It's been a long time since I've made a recording that wasn't just a work demo for someone else to learn the song from, and I can't wait to dive in. I was not a songwriter when I joined The Woods, and I learned so much from Linda, mostly about how songwriting is 95% intuition. I still jog myself back to that attitude when I find myself bogged down in the knowledge of "rules" I've acquired since.
Okay, so Hillary Clinton is in it now. It's gonna be a long year-and-a-half and I'm going to try to not complain too much. I'm not a fan, as we know, but -- with the current composition of Congress and the Supreme Court -- I have a hard time taking any other stance than that it's important she win this one. I live in a safe state, but I don't want to contribute to any sort of Democrats-sit-this-one-out-because-they-don't-care-for-Hillary phenomenon. I feel like, with Obama, I got as close as I might ever get to a president who represents my values. And it turns out that wasn't super close. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose.
And I should add that the antidote to that feeling that presidential elections are a depressing exercise in cynicism is to vote in other elections, the ones closer to home, where it is possible to vote for candidates with integrity. One of the many reasons I'm excited about moving back to the LES is that, because I lived there for so many years in the 80s and 90s, I have a better sense of the politics.