We Don’t Have a Failure to Communicate

by vernsanders on July 31, 2012

The “world” is often jealous of musicians. We have “something” that many non-musicians wish for. Actually…as I write that, it should be many things, but it comes down to this:

  • Music almost never fails to communicate

I’m going to leave my standard rant about musak out of here today, and concentrate on what this means. Again, there are many things, but it comes down to this:

  • We have a common language

Whether a musician’s native tongue is Mandarin or Polish, we can walk into any bar (or church) in the world and share a common vocabulary of notes, chords, phrases, and all the rest:

  • I’ve seen heard a barbershop person stand in a crowd claiming baggage and start up a “tag” and have people join in all over the airport.
  • I’ve heard an English speaking conductor do an entire rehearsal with a group of French speaking singers by only using Italian and German musical terms – and his hands – to communicate.
  • I’ve sat at a piano in a foreign country and started up the universal I-vi-IV-V-I rock ‘n roll progression, and had people sing 4 different songs at the same time.
  • I’ve sat in at “casual” gigs with nothing but a fake book, and made great music with people I’ve never met before.
  • I’ve taken a ride with a friend not knowing where we were going and ended up at a studio where I laid down an organ track to a tune I’d never heard until the engineer played it for me a couple of times.

What’s the point?

Sometimes we are so focused on “getting the work done” that we forget to enjoy the fact that we musicians can, and do, communicate. With each other. And to listeners.

That’s the “next step” for many amateur groups. To get past the notes and to the communication. And it has been my experience that when they “get” that…everything changes.

Got any communication stories? Please leave a comment and tell me so that I can learn from you.

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