Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Instructional Jam and Backyard Pickers Play at New Athens Home

One of the things I try to do regularly with my jam groups and family bands is to have them play for the local nursing home.  With the instructional jams, we work on the tunes for several months, and then everyone volunteers for breaks and for singing the lead on the vocals.  At that point, we are just about ready to perform.  We practice for several more sessions, and then I will set the concert date.  You have no idea what this means to the residents at the New Athens Home!  I regularly get song requests and am asked, "When are you coming back"? every time we play there.  I've even been asked for pictures of the performing group!

You may think you are too nervous to perform for anyone, or maybe you think you are not good enough.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  These folks LOVE the music!  They sing along, clap, and banter back and forth with us.  I always have jokes to tell, and they even appreciate my bad jokes!  I've been told that we made their day, that we brightened their day, and that they had been waiting for us all day!  This is such a great opportunity for everyone.

What do my students get from it?  Not only do they get the performance experience, but they have a goal.  They know what to work on, when they are going to perform, and they often have very specific questions about what they are playing and how to play it.  They learn to sing harmony and lead, they learn the chords to the songs they are playing, they learn how to go from backup to lead playing, they learn jam etiquette, and so much more!

We played for the residents of the New Athens Home for the Aged last night, and they had a special treat because one of our family bands performed a song as well, and it included two Irish dancing sisters and tin whistles!

I hope you will consider sharing your talents, and I hope you will enjoy the pictures!


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