The energy of music
During these times of shelter in place, there’s one thing that I miss so much. Its something that cannot be replaced with online or virtual substitute. An that is making music with others.
I don’t mean turning on the radio or streaming a concert, but actually playing musical instruments.
Our family enjoys playing old time and bluegrass music.
I got into playing bluegrass because of a dear friend and colleague when I was in grad school. He put a banjo in my hands, taught me my first three chords, G, C and D and the result was I got hooked! (And probably to my husband’s chagrin!)
When we jam together, in our case, on stringed instruments, there is a special thing that occurs. I’ll try to describe what I mean.
Music moves as waves
When the strings of a guitar or banjo are picked or plucked, they vibrate the air. These vibrations move as sound waves through the air until they make it to my ear. That’s when I hear the notes.
When multiple instruments played in unison, it creates resonance. It like a bunch of people marching in time. The sound reverberates through the air, fills my head and moves through my body.
What music feels like
Not only do I hear it, but I feel it: the rhythmic pulsing of the bass notes. And the lighter melodic notes of the open-backed banjo dancing between the thumping low tones. It pulls me into a space where I feel connected with the music, and I’m moved like giant kelp swaying with each wave.
I feel as if my cells are dancing with the rhythm and feel in the flow. It’s a beautiful combination of music and community- of individual voices becoming a collective.
It reminds me of a rope- how thinner strands intertwining perfectly to make a stronger rope. The more of us playing together, the stronger the energy and felt connection.
I miss this part the most.
Jamming in these unusual times
But, I am grateful that we have had a good family friend and professional bluegrass banjo player come over a few times now. We sat in a circle on the front lawn with the proper physical distance between us.
From the moment we started to play- even if imperfectly by our rusty fingers, it felt so good. I was bathed by music and felt so alive. My heart felt so happy and I had a smile from ear to ear.
Music is a healing balm, creates community, a bringer of joy- just like nature is.
No technology can replace when people jam live together. It has to be felt in person. I look forward to the day we can have a house full of friends jamming once again!
For now, It will be just me and my banjo!