First blog post! (oops, as soon as I published this I noticed that I had written another one a while ago. Oh well…)
I’ve been thinking about doing this for years. For archiving purposes, therapy, posterity and, of course, compiling into a book someday that will sell millions of copies to help keep Foundry Hall afloat.
Unfortunately, this seems like just one more task I’ve assigned myself on top of the huge heap of volunteer work I do for this organization. My name is Lotte and I am an artist. A non-profit organization designer with a quirky aesthetic and an unquenchable thirst to keep on doing this. Maybe I’m manic, maybe I’m crazy, but somehow I keep doing what needs to be done, what could be done, what often seems impossible and with barely a road map. There is lots of support, love (even pats on the head help), but in the end I surprise my self-conscious self regularly with my renewed energy, willingness to stick my neck out and the growth that has come from this both personally and organizationally.
Today I’m home sick instead of at Tunebugs. I’ve had a sore throat for a couple of days and now its getting to the icky cough stage so I’m keeping it to myself.
This afternoon, Foundry Hall is bringing some teenagers together with the amazing bass skills of Grant Frabe. Grant is a local musician, for the most part self-taught, but also came up through the band class route on saxophone. He approached me after the last teen open mic and laid out the case for open jam sessions as a way to learn music like we learn language. He sent me a link to this Ted Talk later that night and I was sold.
The case is that we don’t learn language starting with the alphabet and reading, we learn by listening, imitating and trying, making lots of mistakes along the way and music
could should be learned this way, too. So get your babies and toddlers playing music with musicians or recordings asap! (Suzuki just came to mind, too.)
If we extend this idea to teenagers and adults we could look at it more like learning a second language, which is totally doable, but not easy. Years of getting pronunciation right and memorizing millions of nouns and conjugated verbs, even common sentences and you could still feel completely lost in an actual conversation. Move to a foreign country and listen everyday, have to get food by using the language, figure out life using the language and you will learn it pretty quickly. But you listen, you imitate, you make mistakes and practice. Eventually it becomes second nature.
If you sit inside and order everything you need online and you won’t. Can you become fluent by reading 100 books in a different language? Can you express what you want to say by recalling paragraphs from a book? Do you really know that language? Can you think in that language?
I’m a big fan of analogies. For FH we’ve had the boat analogy, the kite analogy, garden analogy, virus analogy and a million others. It helps to envision things differently, taking abstract challenges and turning them into tangible things (like we need a new boat or we need some people to row when the wind dies down), but in the end I worry that it’s limiting. I should spend less time on analogies and more time on doing what I know I can do and learning what else I can do by doing.
I’m excited to see what happens this afternoon. I’m trying to convince one of my teenaged sons to give it a try. I promise to not interfere, to not muck up the teen stuff with my older “wish I done it when I was younger” self. I’m just going to observe from the other end of the bike shop and be happy with whatever comes out of it.
I believe in Grant and this idea and that is a big part of how Foundry Hall works. It’s supporting and giving a place to perform, learn, grow, be to others. It includes everyone from a well known actor/musician stopping through on the way to a festival performance in June to the little itty-bitty babies that come with their toddler siblings to Tunebugs. From the kids who learn all they can from band or orchestra teachers and make their own music to the adult who missed the instrumental opportunities in school and now want to learn how to play as an adult. Music is for everyone!
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below if you want!