Music as a Second Language

Help Crowd-Source Music as a Second Language!

I have just launched my first GoFundMe campaign. [insert intense music]

What it’s somewhat about is learning music. I’ve tried teaching music before, and while it’s functional, I just don’t feel it’s as effective as learning music. Like the way children learn their native tongue – nobody gives them lessons, they just listen and watch and absorb. Me I never took a guitar lesson in my life – I was just lucky enough to always be around friends and family members who played, and I would harangue them to “show me that!” As annoying as I probably was, I definitely now feel comfortable and friendly with my instrument, an adequate player at least (jazzed by the notion that I will always have more to learn)!

What it isn’t really about is words: If you know me, you know the love affair I have with words – you know how I agonize over spelling, grammar and punctuation; the bad poems I’ve written and the good ones; the lavish letters I’ve exchanged with some of you over the years…you know how I love spinning an esoteric, parabolic yarn, and how non-contrived alliteration is always appreciated (dang it…). You’ve seen me melt into a puddle after using words badly. Maybe you’ve gotten gifts from me that were nothing but words, but they were words I pulled together specifically for you, and hopefully that meant something more than a giftcard could supply. I love words. But they’re such a little tool.

What this GoFundMe campaign is definitely about is Communication. I went and got two degrees in the theatrical arts and I thought what fun to be an actor or designer or stuntman or a director or something…and I’ve done that and I still do and it is fun…but what’s really cool is the community the communion the communing the common the camaraderie. In the skeleton of this is the notion that there’s a lot to be shared between humans without having to hire a translator. According to the International Diplomacy Guidebook, “the best way to forge a lasting friendship is to create something together.” You don’t really need words to communicate the fact that you’d like to jam.

Which is the core of the workshop I’m developing. Listening and watching is too underrated in our culture (unless it’s coming from an electronic device). It’s a good thing, then, that everyone wants to be a musician, because Music IS communicating – watching each other, listening to the harmony, embodying the groove – collectively endeavoring to make everyone else sound as good as possible. It’s learning a language, it’s creating an experience together, without a script. And like a friend of mine said, it’s hard to practice a language if you’ve no one to talk to!

You are more than welcome to contribute to my crowd-sourcing campaign to get me to Laos to continue developing this stuff! …But if by the end of this paragraph all you really want to do is travel, or call a friend, or make up a song or practice your instrument…that’s good enough for me and I’d love to hear about it.