Family Band

I’m writing from I-5 on my way to the first ever Timber! Fest. (The exclamation is important, otherwise folks may get confused with the professional footballers.)

While I had a few queued posts about my past week at OSCON rising, my baby brother, Jake, surprised me by strumming up a rendition of Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks.” It, of course, kicked off a family band session including some beat box slide whistle (all Jake) and inspired my morning serenades on the (never annoying) squeeze box.

Don’t be fooled. I am not a great musician. I have no aspirations of starting a touring band or creating an album. I do love making music however, even if I’m not well versed in other people’s music. This typically involves me either spontaneously living in my own personal musical, pulling the high school flute out of retirement, futzing around on my girlfriend’s keyboards or adapting someone else’s song for my own technical abilities.

My lack of skill (rooted in my lack of practice) is why I get so darned excited when one of my brothers, my parents or my sister is around and we can play Family Band for a while. With the exception of Jake, James & Jenni, we’re fabulously mediocre. Lucky for me, they’re also well versed in other people’s music, making it much easier to relate to others around a campfire, at a party, and so on. What that means for me is that I get a new song I can add to my playlist for when I’m solo. I love it, as I’m solo a lot.

One thing that getting older does is affords us more time to spend on those activities we love, getting better at those things we love. A challenge I’ve long had is the … determination … ? … to focus on one thing long enough to pass mediocre. Sometimes I wonder if I’d want to do things differently and try a rotation through my many passions and risk missing out on all the tryings of new things. (I will come back to this in a future entry.)

I also love that our default activity when getting together is rooted in making something together. That something isn’t always music. Home repairs and yard projects likely top the list, followed by music, fun, movies and food. And when we’re not making, we’re playing games, taking walks and retreating into our own quiet spaces.

As I prepare for a weekend of music, including a brother-sister duo Noah Gundersen, I know this is not all families and that not all Family Bands are for everyone. Still, they are great for a few nights.

Extra: Today is Day 12, Post 10 of my 30 day blog challenge. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of the page to receive weekly updates in your inbox or follow me on Tumblr if that’s your scene. // Despite going dark for a few days while I was working OSCON, I plan on sharing those insights after I’ve had time to decompress and bounce back from getting car sick trying to blog and ride.