Saturday, April 25, 2009

The End-- Or is it?

We spent the afternoon today playing a music program for a Volunteer Appreciation Tea. And since Hubby had said this would very likely be the last time we would play a program as a family, we decided to do all of our favorites. We didn't spend any time thinking about pleasing our audience, only ourselves.

So we played "Hannah's Song," a song GuitarGeek wrote, and "It's Good to be Home," a song LovelyDaughter wrote. And "There is a Peace," a song they wrote together. Altogether we played five songs our kids wrote, a couple of which we've only done in public a handful of times, because they were rather special, only appropriate for certain audiences. The other five songs were songs that were favorites of one or the other of us, and all had some sort of story connected to them.

In other words, these songs represented US, as our family music band. All these songs were from our hearts, and inspired us in some way, which is why we did them in the first place.

We played our best, because we were enjoying our songs, and enjoying sharing them with the ones listening. And the strangest thing happened.

Everyone loved us. I mean, really loved us. We haven't had so many people come thank us, or ask for CDs, since we first started playing together. We were all shocked and gratified and blown away.

All the way home we were asking ourselves, What happened? We were ready to throw in the towel, figuring our time for family music was over. Family practicing was a pain, getting ready for a program was difficult. There were tensions because of differing tastes in music style. But as we talked it over, we figured it out.

As best I can see, it's like this: Somewhere along the line we lost our passion for who we are as a musical group. We became torn between our own individual preferences, and what we thought our audiences wanted to hear. Our music became uninspiring to us, and in consequence, uninspiring to our listeners.

When we first started playing about eight years ago, we got quite a few calls for programs, and we were playing two or three times a month, sometimes more often, which I think is a lot for a young family with many other responsibilities, and not getting paid more than perhaps gas money. (A family we knew who made their living with a travelling music show was playing about once or twice a week.) But in the last couple of years, we've played maybe six times TOTAL.

In light of that, I think my assessment is correct. We had lost our passion, our vision, and were trying to please people, and therefore we were no longer pleasing.

As I told our kids when we got home: We were just US, and people like US. People LIKE the sum of what we all become when we play together what we are really good at, and when we like what we play. They really do! I am breathless with wonder.

And now we have a question in front of us. Was this just a wonderful bang to end our family music "career"? Or have we been given vision to take up the baton and move forward once again? It's rather coincidental that I have lost all of our program music. We had to do all of it from memory. I thought to myself that that could be a sign; a sign that either we are done, or that it's time for a new direction.

One thing is sure. We definitely need to record what we did today before these songs that our kids wrote-- that are not actually written down, but are only in memory-- disappear into the busy-ness of life.

1 comment:

Ronda said...

The joy and wonderment here makes me smile big time. I vote a new direction, not an end.