18 February 2009

Do You Support Live Music?

A recent post on Jemsite offers Two Tenets for guitarists to live by. One of these suggests you never turn down an opportunity hear live music:

"Not only does this get you out of the house (always a good thing), but seeing people who have managed to put together an act, whether as a solo singer/songwriter or as a band, can you inspire you to play.

You also get the chance to talk with other musicians and to network so that when you are ready to go out and perform yourself, you’ll hopefully have made some contacts already. And if you make some good friends, then they will come and support you since you’ve taken the step to support them."

That is one idea I thoroughly agree with. Enjoying live music is one of the best ways to spend time not playing guitar.

A lot of people nowadays consume music only from the radio or CDs. They are used to hearing only professionals of an extremely high standard. But this disembodied digital signal that comes out of your hi-fi can easily lead us to forget that music is something done by real human beings.

In the days of our grandparents music was a popular entertainment shared by real live people. People livened up their evenings by singing together around an instrument or two or three or dancing together for the sheer joy of it.

This kind of music is all about communicating, sharing and having fun. It can stand a few technical imperfections and its messages are fundamental ones that anybody, from the peasant to the millionaire, can understand.

Most of your great grandparents would never in their lives have heard the high standard of music you are used to listening to every day. But talk to any old timer about their dancing days or bands they saw and you can see they might have had far more pleasure from it.

Making music doesn't have to be the reserve of a highly trained professional elite. Music isn't only a processed, computerised product you hear on the radio or from your CD or mp3 player, 192 kbps perfection with any extraneous noises, glitches or errors cleaned out by computers.

So, get out of the house and away from the TV screen. Support your local music scene, from small cafe gigs to your local concert hall. Look for opportunities to see and hear live music in schools, cultural centres or clubs and associations that are often active in keeping local music alive.

Small gigs like these are great because you are close to the musicians, you see what they play, and you can ask them questions during the pause. You will learn a lot and you can meet people with similar interests to yours.

Take the time to visit small local concerts regularly and you'll get new levels of inspiration. You'll always pick up an idea or two to try and incorporate in your playing too.

But don't limit yourself to only watching. Get out there and play too.

Ask to play with the musicians you meet at the small gigs you visit. Set up a small group with friends to play at parties or gatherings.

You don't have to be a band of stadium rockers to enjoy concerts and give your audience pleasure. Simply get up and do your best, and be a part of the thousands of years old tradition of sharing music with your fellow human beings.

Who knows, maybe one day you will be the inspiration for some small kid who decides to pick up the guitar and play...

With thanks to David Hodge and Jemsite for publishing an inspiring post.

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