What’s in a Jam?

25 09 2010

Music serves as a fine metaphor for my CampHill experience thus far.

We’re jamming.

Interpersonally,
shared creativity,
major and minor emotions, combining,
funk jazz and bluegrass, rock and classical, styles fantastical,
light, movement, dynamics, color,
so many details, so alive,
all at once
spread
through time.

And the more I play, at music and life, the better I get. Naturally. All-ways improving, even if it feels like a step back. All for the best.

I organized an “Improvisational Music Night” in the cafe last Thursday. Around forty people showed up, many to listen, and many with instruments, from banjos to guitars to bongos to fiddles to whistles to harmonicas to xylophones to voices, and the piano in the room.

It was loud and chaotic, a jungle of which we may have only been aware of 1% of the life that was growing and moving through it.
And every one had a really excitingly great happy night-lasting-smiley time.

My immediate thoughts: for the sake of the music, less people would be better.
For the sake of the village, more people would be better.

My commitment: organize it better. A few people have offered some great advice, like having one person start a jam, M___ on the bongos, or R____ on the whistle, or Philip on the piano, and then other people slowly join in. Give every one (who wants) a chance to start a song as the night(s) progress. Another idea: in between songs, loudly state what chords or which key we’ll be playing with. One thing we tried that worked well is setting a theme. We set the theme of one song as a sunrise, and told people to speak, sing, or play with that phenomenon in mind/heart.

It will definitely be happening next Thursday, and probably the Thursday after that. The stimulation and flow of energy was undeniable.

For me, I will treat it as an exercise, perhaps a challenging one, perhaps not: to strengthen my ear and soul’s ability to hear and feel harmony and beauty, even in the midst of what may, at first listen, seem ugly and inharmonious.
Oh jah, it’s there…

Maybe it’s an attitude thing. Turning off the stink-eyes, which can see only the negative and depressing viewpoint. Kicking Debby Downer out of my head, and re-inviting that Lover of Life, who might be sleeping, back into my consciousness. And maybe wearing some earplugs. STILL, listening for the beauty, feeling for the harmony… even in the scary, the awkward, the embarrassing, the sad…
listen;
feel.

We’re jamming.
And I hope you like jamming too.
We’re Jamming.

I wanna, I wana, I wanna jam it with youuuuuuu.

At the start of the night, I laid out three guidelines, which I’ll now leave you with:

  1. Nothing is wrong. In art (and perhaps in life), there is no “wrong” thing. Every thing is an honest expression of where a person is at in this place and time. Let it be.
  2. Listen. Most people think jamming is all about what you play, but that’s only half, if less, of the picture. The real art is in listening to what is already there, in sound waves or in silence, from other’s instruments or Spirit’s guidance… and let that same Spirit, that Wonderfully humorous and jubilant Goddess, Music, use you as an instrument. Surrender to the jam. We’re all in this together.
  3. Have fun, Jah?

I really like this topic. So here’s a playlist of some original music of mine. The first song, “While We’re Here”, is about the first guideline above. The second song, “Prince Caspian”, is a song I recorded on a computer mic here at CampHill. (The song is by Phish.) The third and fourth songs are spontaneous, unplanned, solo jams.

And here are the lyrics to “While We’re here”. (by the way, maybe, don’t read this whole post in one sitting. time’s a great friend—she makes room for all things.):

(Love is For Giving)

She held it in her hand,
she let it go like sand.

Our family is starving,
while part of our family is feasting.
Greed is the original reason,
and now it’s a fear of treason.

But we’ve all got something to learn from the lives that we’ve been given.
And we’ve all got passions to burn that make it all worth living.
Every emotion has its season.
God is in the lovers’ bed and the hunt.

Hell is an idea that just might happen tomorrow.
But how does it feel, now, when you repress your fear and your sorrow?
We can’t deny what’s here, no we can’t deny what’s here.
And it’s a sin to reject what’s dear.

I care.

But we’ve all got something to learn from the lives that we’ve been given.
And we’ve all got passions to burn, and that is why we’re living.
Every emotion has its season.
God is in community and in war.

I release the victim (we’ve all got passions to burn).
I believe no more in victims (we’ve all got lessons to learn).

She held her grievance in her hand, she let it go like sand.
She held her pain in her hand, she let it go like sand.

This world is transient.
Temporary.
Like clouds, we come together and break apart.
We break apart and come together, like clouds
of smoke
from warheads.
(“Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friends.” – We can Work It Out by The Beatles)

Forgive while we’re still here,
and live without your fear.
Forgive while we’re still here,
and live without fear.

We’ve all got something to learn from the lives that we’ve been given.
And we’ve all got passions to burn that make it all worth living.
Every emotion has its season.
God is in our children’s laughter and their tears.

We’ve all got something to give to help our neighbor smile.
And we’ve all got something to share, if only for a while.
Every action has its season.
God is in the infant’s birth and its death.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

How are you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: