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Many of us just experienced the wonderful "high" of music together last month in Winfield. Whether you attended the Warm Up Picnic, participated in our playdate at the downtown music crawl, or spent a week camping at the Walnut Valley Festival, there was a LOT of music going on. Upon returning to your quiet home, you may have felt symptoms of music withdrawal.

Have you ever considered getting a music buddy? With a music buddy, you have more motivation to practice because you have someone to do it with. In general, it's a lot more fun to play for a human-being than just your dog, cat, or house plant, no matter how adorable each one might be. Also, with a teacher or musical friend, you are able to experience and/or learn a greater range of music.

Acquiring a music buddy is not nearly as difficult as you might think! In fact, there are many ways to find one, or even more than one.

· You can find a teacher, either online or in-person (talk to me if you're not sure where to start - I can help you find the perfect match).

· You can invite a non-musician friend to watch you practice. This would also build your performance skills.

· You can attend a jam session or class weekly or monthly. There are a variety of jams in all different genres happening around Wichita on a regular basis.

· You can invite someone at a similar skill level to meet with you a couple times a month to work on new songs or polish up old favorites.

· You can become more involved with organizations like Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance or Kansas Bluegrass Association.

· You can find a place where you can regularly perform, like a cafe, a church, school, or nursing home. This can help you meet new people who appreciate your creativity.

With a music buddy, you reap multiple benefits. You become a more well-rounded musician, developing both your listening skills and your playing abilities. Playing with someone else also gives you the chance to play duets or accompaniment parts, or even try out different instruments. Opportunities for performance will open up to you - the more you play for another person, the more confident you will feel in performing for an audience.

Playing music for others is a celebration of life. As you progress in your musicianship, do consider seeking out a music buddy. Or even better - take it upon yourself to become a music buddy for someone else.

- Erin Mae Lewis,

President and willing music buddy

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