Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Revelation

After being laid off from a factory job during the 1980s I decided to attempt to make a living at one of my lifelong loves and pursuits, music. There derived a great deal of success and gratification in this endeavor for myself and Kathy; best friend, partner, wife, and mother of our children, providing support and raising our three great kids to adulthood!

In the latter part of our child rearing adventure, I returned to school to learn graphic design. The job that resulted from this study provided support for my musical habits in the sense that I didn’t have to make a living as a musician performing or instructing. That significantly frees the creative musical spirit. Or, so I believe.

Pat, Howard, Pat, Joe, and Joyce making contra dance music.

Recently I’ve wrestled with the concept of playing music for a living versus playing music for the joy of it and the camaraderie of making music with other musicians at contra dances, in homes, centers, barns, backyards, pubs, etc.,. This is something that I’ve considered to be “community," or part of a community. Something that I, perhaps, romantically, believed to be the “norm” of life for people before the early days of the music industry.

An article from Brain Pickings' July 5, 2012 post ( covers a recently released book, Where The Heart Beats, by Kay Larson about American musical composer John Cage,
Larson writes that...

“Cage defined disinterestedness and equated it with ‘love’ in 1948: ‘If one makes music, as the Orient would say, disinterestedly, that is, without concern for money or fame but simply for the love of making it, it is an integrating activity and one will find moments in his life that are complete and fulfilled.’”

The quote nails it for me. More and more “moments in” my “life that are complete and fulfilled” seem to occur more and more frequently when playing with fellow musicians these days. Whether there’s just two of us in a coffeehouse playing on a Saturday morning, two to five of us banding together to play for an evening of contra dance music, or six or more musicians making music for a wedding anniversary, a birthday gathering, etc., They're all integrating activities with many "complete and fulfilled" moments.

LIFE is good!!!

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