Lately I've been hearing a lot of people disparaging about how crazy and scary things are getting around the world. I've been thinking about this a lot and have come to the conclusion that we would all get along much better if we had more music jams or hootenannies! There is a certain camaraderie that happens when people come together to make music.
Music Jam: an informal gathering of musicians improvising together, especially in jazz or blues. (not to be confused with other definitions of jam: to become blocked or wedged; to fill often to excess; to push forcibly; to make unintelligible by sending out interfering signals or messages... no, no, no! These would be the opposite of a good ole music jam!)
Hootenanny: a gathering at which folksingers entertain often with the audience joining in; an informal gathering with folk music and sometimes dancing (ooh, I like that part!)
So, here is my list of ways to Find Peace, the Hootenanny way:
1. Show up - This can be true of anything. Truly, just deciding to show up ready to play or sing along or actively pursue peace in yourself and in the world around you is the first step. You have a gift, be it voice, instrument or active listener/dancer. Bring it! :)
2. Be prepared – the good ole boyscout motto comes to mind. Tune your instrument. Warm up your voice. Get ready to experience some awesome music and inner peace.
3. Set an intention - Having a goal helps you get the most out of any situation. You may be new to making music. You may be an old pro. So, what is it you want to gain today? If you have never been to a jam or feel that you are 'unable' to play along, perhaps just making the decision to play a kazoo or a tambourine is enough. Learning a new chord on the guitar. Letting someone else take a lead and not hogging the microphone... These are all ways to accepting yourself and others' limitations and awesomeness, ultimately, finding a sense of peace.
4. Communication – Communicating what song to play in what key you'll play in, when the bridge starts, what verse to sing. A sense of tranquility comes when you know the words and where you are in the song and can sing and play along :)
5. Listen first, then join in - Peace, and the best music jam, begins with thoughtful listening and understanding.
6. No Judgement - Breathe and then jump in! Doing your best to play something in harmony with others involves discipline and compromise. Have no fear! Go “all in” and have fun!
Now I'm in the mood for a good ole hootenanny! Let's all join in and make some awesome music! (literally and figuratively!)