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Music and Friendship

Posted by harwilli55 on Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hi folks,


After a fairly long absence due to computer meltdown, I am back with new laptop on the knees and keys under the fingertips.  I have kept up vicariously with everyone's adventure's, questions, answers, dialogues, and postings on my little 3G phone....I do like the community that tends to be drawn to the Hangout.  I have missed being in the conversation, so to speak....and look forward to once again, participating.


Friendship has always been an important part of my life.  I have moved/been moved fairly often ( compared to most people) since I was born. Being the son of a preacher man who believed that staying too long at a church(no longer than 10 years at the longest) meant creating stagnation in the  So, by the time I was 6, we had lived in 7 states. Needless to say, that making friends was a skill that was essential to being the new kid on the block or in school. 

Last night I attended a Irish Session, that we started over a year ago. Most of the people who started this, were people I had spent the previous year twice monthly learning to play OT and Irish Trad at a little coffee house out in the country.  We have a tight-knit little group that is easy, relaxed, and confident around each other.  Last night we made really great music.  The sets we have gathered together and played over time, have become full of life. And I  believe,  most of that is because of the connections we have as friends sharing a common interest and the joy we each have,  not only in our own playing progress, but the joy we have in each others progress.

I sat last night, in between, the two lead fiddlers, and was with them note for note. Maybe not inflection for inflection, for they are light-years beyond me, but I have never felt more competent playing the fiddle than last night.  And the great thing about it, was both, one on either side of me, would lean in with a big smile on their face, matching their playing with mine while loving what we were doing as a group.  What fun that was !!  Usually, I am the one who is doing that while playing guitar to their fiddling,

So, back to the topic for the moment. Moving to Richmond has resulted the first time in my life, that the majority of my friendship are independent of work. That has been novel for me. But the best part of that, is that those friends I have made here, come from participating the past 4 years in the multitudinous jams, sessions, home jams, and mini-festivals here. I realized last night, how incredibly lucky I am to have become close friends with so many people,  who have the same love for music I do. And even more important.....we really like each other so that while the music has been the basis for our meeting, it is not now the only emphasis for friendship. 

OT and Irish music both seem to attract the people I want to be around. I feel incredibly endowed, enriched, and darn lucky to have been accepted .  Today, I will go to the weekly OT jam, where I have become good friends with the majority of regulars there. They have watched my fumbling attempts to learn mandolin and fiddle for the past 3 years. They have encouraged me to jump in from the first day I went. So I get to share, learn, and play with experienced musicians who make a living playing music as well as those who have been playing instruments for the past 30 years or more while learning how to play.  What more can a man ask,  than to be surrounded by that kind of friendship and support. 

So, last night, after,  the-after-session jam, while driving home at 2 am in the morning, having played hours of music, with friends. I realized how lucky I am.Just as it takes time for friendships to grow, so too does it take time for learning to play

For those of you who are beginning, seek out other musicians, find a jam or start one. Stick with it, work on relationships firstly,  which in turn will encourage, support, enhance your musical learning journey. Before you know it, you will be playing with confidence and glowing in shared experiences with people you have grown to love and will return that love ten-fold.


5 comments on “Music and Friendship”

mudbug Says:
Sunday, July 11, 2010 @8:05:00 AM

Hey, Harlan! Nice blog! It's a wonderful thing to make music with friends.

brya31 Says:
Sunday, July 11, 2010 @8:08:41 AM

That is great Harlan!

bj Says:
Sunday, July 11, 2010 @8:13:51 AM

You are so right about the caliber of people who choose to play OT! There's a gentleness of spirit, and a wonderful lack of the obsessive egotism that seems so prevalent in the jazz and rock worlds I've moved within, and that I've noticed in my brief interactions with the bluegrass world in this area. Such a welcome change!

BC Says:
Sunday, July 11, 2010 @8:24:00 AM

What a wonderfully written piece! Making friends and the positive reinforcement that comes with friendship is priceless. I strongly believe everyone I meet has something to offer and make me a better person (and fiddler!)

harwilli55 Says:
Sunday, July 11, 2010 @9:35:22 AM

Thanks Mud, Bry, BJ, and BC,

Easy to write when something is felt :-) I dare say that if perchance someday we meet, I would end up feeling just as strongly about building a friendship with you, as those I am experiencing here.

Yea, BJ, I too have met the ego's in other musical worlds, and it ain't pretty to my way of thinking !! Though I must say, I have met some pretty amazing humble musicians also who spend time building friendships rather than indulging their egoism.



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