A long one… I had a lot to say… read on
Like most people, I have a few things that I am really passionate about. Besides family and friends, here are my top three:
- I love teaching and coaching
- I enjoy sailing and time on the water
- I am in awe of musicians who create and perform live music.
The first one (teaching and coaching) of course occupies the majority of my time. During most remaining hours of the day, I usually can be found with family and friends
- On the water, or
- Taking in some live music, or
- Killing two birds with one stone and enjoying live music somewhere on the water!
This leads to the second of four posts in the series, “Lessons from the Masters”. As I previously discussed regarding this series, I believe there is much to be learned from experts… masters… outside of our discipline of teaching and coaching
In the first post of this series, “Lessons from the Masters-The Blue Angels”, I talked about mental training and mental discipline.
In this post, “Lessons from the Masters-The Nace Brothers”, it is about hard work, quality and consistency, and doing the “little things” that are needed to be great. It is a lesson that the Nace Brothers Band has been teaching for over 30 years.
A quick history…
My wife and I first started following the Nace Brothers Band in 1986 when I was an assistant coach at the University of Central Missouri, in Warrensburg, Missouri. Warrensburg is the hometown of the two actual brothers, and the heart of the band, David and Jimmy Nace. David is the drummer and the lead vocal, and Jimmy is lead guitar and writes most of the music they play. Keyboard (and accordion) player T.J. Erhardt and Bass guitar player Paul Greenlease round out the group. Their music can be categorized as Americana or Roots music.
But this post really isn’t about the type of music they play.
They are each expert musicians… masters of their craft… and together they form a team that has experienced sustained, lasting success. The Nace Brothers Band has been playing together for over 30 years… enjoying regional success in the Kansas City, Fayetteville, Indianapolis, and Key West markets to name just a few.
But this post really isn’t about how they are great musicians.
Their fans are loyal…. nearly “cult” like. They literally travel across the country to listen to the band. At every performance, from Kansas City, Missouri to Key West, Florida, you can look around the audience and observe many in the audience singing along with the band.
But this post really isn’t about their rabid fans.
This post is about what we can learn from this band.
- The Value of Hard Work
- Quality and Consistency
- Attention to Detail
The Value of Hard Work
Unlike many in this profession, these guys perform 3-4 times a week, four to five hours a night, 51 weeks of the year… and have been doing it for over 30 years! On their “off” days they are typically practicing, writing music, or in the studio recording.
They are anything but complacent… the Band has a ever-changing set list… they learn and perform new songs, master new instruments and experiment with new arrangements. I am not a musician but that cannot be the easy way to do things. No two shows are ever alike other than their quality and consistency.
Quality and Consistency
My wife and I calculated that, conservatively, we have seen nearly 500 performances of the Nace Brothers Band, so, admittedly, I am biased. I can honestly say, though, that we have never witnessed a bad performance… in fact never even an average performance… consistently… five hundred good to great performances over the years.
I have seen the Brothers play in all types of venues, for all types and sizes of crowds… from a handful of people in a strip mall bar and grill in Lee’s Summit (a rarity), to a crowd of thousands at the Bike Blues and Barbecue main stage in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They give the same quality, high-energy performance for every crowd at every venue. They are professionals.
And here is the kicker… They have never cancelled a performance. 30 years, 3-4 times a week, 51 weeks a year. It is Joe DiMaggio-esque (56 game hitting streak) or Cal Ripken-like (2,632 consecutive games played) or akin to John Wooden’s nine consecutive NCAA basketball championships. David Nace told me that there have been a couple times when he was losing his voice that the other members had to pick up the vocal slack during the performance, but they continued.
Attention to Detail.
Last week I attended a Nace Brothers Band performance. It was easy to see that for each member of the band, every note was important… they squeezed every sound… every nuance out of every note… every note on every song. They were enjoying what they were doing, sure… but they were also “in the zone”… intent on playing perfect. The result was that each song was great… and the whole show was amazing… once again.
The sports analogies are everywhere. If your athletes are doing all of the little things that you ask them to do, perfectly… like taking a 6” step at 45° instead of a 9” step at 90°… then the majority of your plays are probably great plays, and enough great plays and your team probably had amazing success.
Is “every note” important to you and your players?
Are you and your players consistent on the level of Cal Ripken?
Do you allow your players (or do you) ever take the easy way?
Meet me May 30th at Knuckleheads in Kansas City, Missouri, if you want to see some great music (The Nace Brothers Band) at a great venue!
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org