Our landscape of music has changed dramatically, and that is to be expected. We’ve risen to the challenge of learning new technologies, tried to adapt our old habits and joys, and been faced with the reality of what is possible.
some of us have had all the time in the world to play or sing, and none of the energy or creative drive to o so. Some of us have no time, but the wish to do so. Some of us, and this is particularly true for me have swung wildly between feeling inspired and driven to create, full of solutions and ideas, and then melted into a soggy mess of despondency and despair and depression.
There are no ‘shoulds’ for our creative selves in this time. Please do not let that voice shame you if you feel you should be creating art.
what I want to give you tonight are some avenues of possibility, ways of being musical that you may feel drawn to exploring in the coming year.
The thing is, you’re already doing one of them. You’re here, right now, and that’s enough
A wonderful and achievable goal for all of our ukulele and guitar players, if you want to learn this specific tune, I will link to a resource on youtube, of a free tab/sheet music and video lesson of this piece. Even if you only learn the first 4 bars. It will be worth it. You can do it
But this avenue is ‘ find a goal for your music, a skill you would like to develop, a particular song you would like to learn, something specific. something you can break into smaller steps and work through, and be ok with slow progress. Take advantage of the resources available. Youtube has so much to offer you. and you are descerning students. IF the lesson isn’t jiving, if the teacher doesn’t seem like someone you want to listen to. Then head to the next one.
I’m going to read clemmys intro to this piece, from “Year of Wonder” By Clemency Burton Hill
Find something simple, that you already know, or you can learn easily in a sitting, and do it a million times. Use it as a meditation to block out all other distractions. Be mindful if you share a space. maybe warn your peeps that it might be a good time to go for a walk. and do the thing you know how to do well, and do it many times.
This is a wonderful meditation of an old time tune called “old Granny Blair’ that I learned in the middle of a field in the middle of the night at a music festival from my friend justin hoffenberg.
This is Pharis and Jason Romero From the album “back up and push’
If you are someone who really benefits from accountability, one of those folks like me who needs a gig, or a lesson or a performance to actually get their shit together to practice then I would suggest finding a fellow human and either do a “show and tell” once a week, jump on zoom, show where you are at in the process, it can be short, they show you where they are at even if no progress is made at least you did the thing.
Or - Learn a song, devide and conquer, one person figures out chords, one figures out lyrics, teach the parts to each other. Learn both parts. Just do one song. do it so many times that you can take turns playing it on zoom with the other person muted. then switch. For a moment, one at a time, you will get to play together.
This is Jo Miller & Laura Love Singing Blue Railroad Train Blues from the album Jo Miller & Laura Love Sing Bluegrass & Old Time
You don’t need to play. let the dust gather on the case, on the vocal chords. Explore the possibilities of the whole of the history of recorded music at your fingertips. available.
Find an album, Make sure it’s THE WHOLE ALBUM.
Set it up on what ever device you use, to listen, one with no adds or interruptions.
turn all ringers off.
cover all screens
Lie down in the middle of the floor.
and press play,
do not get up to unload the dishwasher.
or fold the laundry.
Lie on the floor and listen to the whole damn thing, all the way through.
Do this once a week,
Do this every day,
Spend the whole weekend,
If you need ideas on albums to listen to I’ll start a list, we can all contribute to it and I’ll post it.
This week in honour of Tony Rice We’re going to listen to the titile track of church street blues. But I may just lie on the floor after this call and listen through the whole shebang.
Tony Rice - Church Street Blues