I have said that I adore Ruth Gordon in Harold & Maude and her zest for life; especially her creative energy. One of my favorite quotes from her in that film is about music, how it is the Cosmic Dance and “everyone should be able to make some music!” I started my own musical collection many (many) years ago in High School. I started with a vintage electric guitar and a small amp. I still have both, although the guitar is in serious need of some TLC .
At some point in the past couple of years I realized one of my developing desires was to build a collection of instruments that anyone can play with very little practice. Perhaps I was inspired by Ruth’s Maude, but once I started putting my existing collection in one place I realized I had more music making opportunities than I had realized. Over the past few years I’ve added to it bit-by-bit; with a growing wish list.
There’s something about beating on a drum that puts a smile on the face attached to the hands creating the booming sounds. I have a wooden frog that comes with a wooden striker that when ran along the ridges on its back create a very frog-like sound, anyone can pick that up and add to the drum beat. All it takes to play a rain stick is the ability to lift one end over the other; to shake it and add more depth to the tinkling sound of sand running back and forth. Tambourines are simple instruments as well and if you put these all together, you have the makings of a little jam session that will get your energy flowing and smiles radiating.
I had the opportunity once with my good friends’ kids and some cousins of theirs this summer and the result was nothing short of magic. Not one of the young kids was self-conscious or afraid to try something new. They all joined in and every few minutes we’d shift the instruments to the right so everyone had a chance to try everything. They had so much fun and I was so excited that I was able to provide that kind of experience. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I really believe it is time to bring the music back to the people.
Wendy Rule once pointed out that our society has taken singing and music to a level that takes the general population and puts them in the audience, not a part of the experience of creating music. We tend to believe only certain people can sing, only certain people can entertain us; but we all have the right to make some music! I came across my harmonica I bought in high school, surprised I still had it and thrilled that I have one more little thing to make music with, or to offer someone the chance to try.
My advice to everyone today is that if you have always wanted to learn to play a specific instrument-do it! Make it happen! Find a way to compromise if you can’t afford to buy the instrument of your dreams, make a second choice of something you CAN. Find something that resonates with you that makes you WANT to pick it up and play it; create a habit of making music!
I love that certain instruments can give me chills of emotion, like the bagpipes; or express deep emotions, like the cello. I love that with my belief in reincarnation I understand that these sounds are touching something inside me that have touched other incarnations of my soul. Music is much more than something to fill empty air: it gives voice to Life.