If you Google the phrase “Coporate Music” (as I did) you get links to royalty-free music clips with an industrial/business feel. Either that, or you get links to diatribes blasting mass-produced pop music. However, my use of the word “corporate” is more like how we use the phrase “corporate worship“, an act of cooperation in the production of music. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to have several posts about such corporate acts of music, from organized groups to spontaneous jam sessions.
I come from a large musical family. All of our gatherings were marked by singing and playing instruments. All of us are multi-instrumentalists, and while we may not have mastered any single instrument, we love being able to play pretty much whatever is at hand.
A few weeks ago we had an impromptu gathering, with me on banjo, my brother on mandolin, nephew on guitar, his wife and daughter on ukuleles, and everyone else singing along. We ran through a variety of folk songs, pop songs, and anything else that popped into our heads.
The experience was so much fun I didn’t want it to end. I enjoy playing my piano by myself. I like experimenting with my keyboards in my makeshift studio in my basement. However, these activities pale in comparison to actually playing with someone.
While I love participating in organized groups like the Greenville Chorale, it’s hard to beat the feeling that comes from the disorganized, wonderfully imperfect sounds of informal gatherings – jam sessions, sing-alongs, whatever. It’s these aspects that I want to explore over the next several weeks in various contexts. Some of these are going to be recent experiences, and some are just some ideas rumbling around in my head.
The one thing to keep in mind is that these informal gatherings are NOT concerts. In fact, it might actually be painful to sit through some of them and just listen. The real joy comes in participation, in making music. It’s often from these jam session that the desire for improvement comes, the motivation to practice and to get to a concert-ready state.
Laura and Amy didn’t come from a musical family like mine, and sometimes Laura (and some of the other in-laws) have felt out of place at our crazy gatherings. That’s one reason I pleased they have taken an interest in drumming as a way to participate.
One of my goals is to first listen to more live music, specifically music where I am NOT on stage. It seems that the only concerts I attend anymore are ones where I’m one of the performers. The second goal is to participate in more jam sessions in a variety of settings. I’ll continue with my organized groups, but I think it’s important to nurture these other experiences. We’ll see what happens.