So you have been playing for some time, can read music or trained in music, and now what?
I just finished reading Free Play by Stephen Nachmanovitch. Here are some of my observations.
There is such a fine line between professional training or skills, improvisation, and just playing freely. If these can be combined in some manner then I believe we would be playing freely.
I have fought conformity my whole life. This can be seen in not only my playing music, but additionally when I cook or bake and other areas of my life. I always experiment wondering what the outcome would be if I changed that or this, or maybe added something just to see what might happen. I think my life reflects this as I always want to try something different than main stream. Now that my playing is getting more comfortable I like to change things up and doodle quite a bit on my instruments.
According to Stephen, Galumphing is the rambunctious and inexhaustible play-energy of the young. Hey, I know many older people that galumph and this really spoke to me as I do this on a daily basis! It’s easy to get away with at my age and I blow people away as I galumph through life and at work. I find myself hopping or skipping from one cubicle to another in a very merry way. I’m sure the younger generation at work wonder about me, but I truly think I’m having more fun than they are.
Now when it comes to music I hop and skip around on my dulcimer in a very merry way always wondering what the outcome will be if I play this chord or that note, or strum differently or finger pick. So freeing and enjoyable to doodle around with the unexpected.
Then there is the German word funktionslust, the pleasure doing, producing an effect. What fun to happily produce something unexpected, but more importantly to generate creativity, or searching and finding just that right mix of musicality. The searching is the journey, not the finding of the right note or chord. It’s the pleasure of the journey.
As a CMP I suspect the above will be allowed more in the environment I hope to play for more so than in performing in front of an audience or in an orchestra. To be free to produce my own versions of music and in a sense play pieces in my own way. Sure, I like playing with others too, but to be free in my expression is liberating. Then when it comes to playing for patients, I will incorporate both galumphing and funktionslust activity while improvising to play for their needs not mine.
I attended a series of classes during the month of May with Lorinda Jones. This course was comfort playing for the elderly. We went into break out rooms and were instructed to play something for the group in the Zoom break out room. The other students played a piece of music as written and mostly did a very good job! Then came my turn and I played a lullaby that they had never heard before. First on the melody string, then moved to the bass to finish. I really like to start the lullaby on the melody string, move up an octave, then go back down an octave to the bass string, and finish on the melody. In addition, I like to strum and finger pick it differently during each position on the keyboard. Every time I play the lullaby it comes out differently. What fun. No one can figure out what the song is until I tell them it’s Bile them Cabbage Down. This is where my heart is in my playing. I owe this tidbit from 'Playing Pretty' by Erin Mae, turning a tune into something other than what is expected. Many thanks my friend!
This book is instrumental in explaining how I have been feeling about my playing. Not taking the beaten path, but how I can freely play music and improvise. It might be a good selection for those wanting to get off the beaten path and freely play.
Keep the Music in the air and try some Galumphing and funktionslust!!!