“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Over the years, I have taught clients a lot about health and wellness, but I’ve also learned just as much from them about other aspects of life.  While working with many clients in the 65 years and older range, I have had very interesting conversations, to say the least. These dialogues put many things into perspective for me; they have helped me realize how precious time is and what is truly important in life.

I have been fortunate enough to work with Max Weinberg who is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the former bandleader for NBC Television’s “Late Night” and “The Tonight Show”.  Above all else, Max is a devoted father of two successful children, a loving husband to Becky for over 40 years, and a proud grandfather.

I learn lessons from each and every client I work with.  Here are three that I’ve learned while working with one of the greatest drummers of all time:

  1. Know Your History 

Max and I train while listening to many different genres of music.  No matter the artist or song, Max will make a comment, share some insight, or enlighten me with a historical fact.  I have learned all about artists’ hair and vocal tones, specifics on the members of the band, how a song was created, how a band came together (or split), and many more interesting facts.  His wide range of music knowledge from the 1920s to present day is remarkable.

How well do you know the history of your business or industry? Those that have a rich appreciation, understanding, and knowledge of their businesses show their love and passion for it, ultimately assisting them in their endeavors. This expression is very fitting: “The goal is to love what you do.” Is it ironic that one of the greatest musicians of all time also has a deep knowledge of its history?

  1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize 

Max has shared some stories with me about when he was young, dating back to grade school.  One story that stood out was about a note that his elementary school teacher had written in his report card: “I hope you become a famous drummer one day, too.”  He had vision and focus since he was a young boy, and he’s a prime example of what hard work, focus, and determination can get you.  He wasn’t afraid to put himself out there.

He would also tell me stories about drumming away in his room for hours and hours each day as a kid.  Often, he would listen to a song and try to figure out how to play it without sheet music or access to the internet, which didn’t even exist back then.

How many of us truly dedicate the time, energy, and discovery to become one of the best? Additionally, how many kids these days have this type of focus and drive? How many of us put it out there?

Max’s son Jay has become an extremely successful world-famous drummer in his own right.  I would highly recommend checking out Jay Weinberg’s online essay “One Foot in Front of the Other”. His daughter Ali has gone on to be a successful television personality and has authored the book How To Beat Brain Cancer Like A Boss. Is it possible that Max’s work ethic, guidance, and supportive parenting had something to do with this?

I think one of the most respectful ways to honor our parents is to grow up, live a life of happiness, and have a reputation to be proud of.  It’s safe to say that Max’s children have done that. As Max and many other clients have reminded me over the years, a parent’s job is never over.

  1. Get Business Savvy

No matter what line of work you are in, you need to have some level of business acumen and competence. Here’s what you should know:

  • your rights,
  • who can help you when needed,
  • how to avoid the pitfalls of your industry or business,
  • when to speak up for yourself,
  • how to put yourself in the best situation possible,
  • your general industry.

Max has had to work with many companies and organizations over the years, so he has experience in this regard.

How many of us really know our industry? If you’re part of a union, do you know all of your rights (and perks)? Do you utilize them to their highest extent? If you are a business owner, have you studied the laws and by-laws which can potentially help you, especially in recent times?

How many of us have found ourselves in a situation that has led to one or more of these comments?

  • “I didn’t know I could do that!”,
  • “I had no idea what that contractual clause meant!”,
  • “Why didn’t anyone tell me that before!”
  • “I really should have said something!”

Mighty Max – In Every Way 

As someone who frequently uses quotes, I often “have a quote for that” when Max brings up a situation or event.  One quote that he really liked was “Always be ready, and you’ll never have to get ready.”

Max and the E Street Band are excited to have recently hit the road once again with Bruce Springsteen.  After many years of training and preparation, “Mighty Max” has never had to get ready, because he has always been ready.  I’m happy to know that I have had a small part in making that happen by keeping Max, at 72 years old, worthy of that moniker for many more years to come.  The best part about Max is that even though he may be known around the world for his mighty drumming, he is even mightier as a man, father, and husband.



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