Accountants, teachers, doctors - each have continuing education requirements, as do many other professions. I've always considered this a great idea. How else do professionals stay educated, fresh and up-to-date? Do you want an accountant not up-to-date on tax law or a doctor who doesn't attend conferences about the latest medical breakthroughs?
At dinner last night, my wife and I were subjected to yet another tired version of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", performed by two guys around my age. Leaving the restaurant, as I ranted to her about this for perhaps the 1000th time, she made a brilliant suggestion. I hereby submit baseline criteria for the continuing education of any paid musician. Arbitrary? You bet. Long overdue and sure to mitigate listener boredom? Without a doubt.
* Repertoire must shift at least 25% each year, i.e. a repertoire of 48 songs must contain 12 songs that were not performed by that musician the year before.
* All decades of a musician's life must be represented by at least one song, i.e. someone born in the 70's must have a repertoire containing at least one song from every decade since. Extra points awarded to musicians with repertoires pre-dating their birth. For you jazz guys whining about the first part, at least you're getting extra points - quit complaining.
* Except for JT himself, can we retire "Fire And Rain" once and for all? Too capricious you say? OK, how about at least adding a second song from JT's extensive, terrific repertoire? Have mercy on this old fart musician, please.