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All You Gotta Do is Hit the Right Notes

Justin Bua

Last November, I came across a reel on IG where Jamie Foxx was on Howard Stern discussing his initial encounter with Ray Charles before playing the Icon in his biopic Ray (2004). 

Jamie explained that Ray believed that one could do anything if they could play the blues. After sharing this, Ray invited Jamie to join him in playing the Blues on dual pianos.  Eventually, they transitioned from Blues into Jazz via Thelonious Monk, which resulted in Jamie playing the wrong note.  Due to his heightened sense of sound, he was agitated by the wrong note. Ray responded by telling him, “The notes are right underneath your finger…life is about hitting the right notes; all you gotta do is hit the right notes.”

Over the last few months, I often found myself lost in my head as I contemplated, “How does one hit the right notes?” I now realize that the answer to that question begins with taking the first step to discover which notes are right for you. The first step requires a willingness to play a note regardless of whether you know what you are doing.

For Ray, the instrument he used to share his profound wisdom was the piano, but that did not mean that his advice only applied to pianists. The “right notes” can be hit via 

various instruments (e.g., brass, percussion, strings, and woodwinds) or physical acts such as singing, clapping, and stomping, to name a few. 

Unfortunately for me, I passed on the opportunity to learn how to play instruments because my school band required me to understand the triangle before I could be taught the drums.  As a result, the choice to play sports and video games over the triangle led me back to the same question, “How does one hit the right notes?” 

After further reflection, I realized that hitting the “right notes” also requires exploration with the intent of not only informing their utilization but also their classification of “right” and “wrong.”  Thus, for the “right notes” to be hit, they must first be identified…by writers, readers, and performers. 

While navigating the closing of this season of my life, I’m preparing for what’s next. My first note is in the form of this blog. I look forward to sharing with you each month and hope you will tune in as I pursue a life worth living - one rooted in love and light, guided by healing and liberation. 

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