January 24, 2021

When we listen to music, the chords change throughout a song. Without those changes, the melody would be stuck in one place. Casual listeners rarely notice these changes and musicians know better than to lament this passing because the next change is always just a breath away.

To borrow a line from Yamamoto Tsunetomo, “this understanding applies to everything”.

My friends who visit me online have been privy to many chord changes in my life. Some were bitter as gall while others were sweeter than honeysuckle. All were necessary for the melody of my life.

Now time and my handicaps have conspired to place me at the juncture of one of these chord changes.

The stress of playing through my handicaps is getting to be more of a burden than I can bear. In addition to the hearing loss, neuropathy, migraines and epilepsy I am also developing arthritis in both of my hands. On bad days I have to take a couple of breaks while I am getting dressed to curl up in bed cradling my aching hands.

There is a line from the I Ching that I dearly love: When the way comes to an end, Then change— Having changed, You pass through.

My Way as a musician is not ending, but I have to change or remain stuck eternally where I am now.

At the end of January I will be retiring from teaching. My current websites and social media are shutting down. The YouTube channel will be closing and the videos are moving to a new server where they will be made available over time. Other changes will be detailed on our new project site as they happen. More on that later.

I am aware that this announcement will be met with emotions and opinions. While it is not my desire to upset or disappoint anyone, I need to do this.

Thank you all for many years of happy memories.

Noli nothis permittere te terere.

Joseph Patrick Costello III
Crisfield, MD