I LOVE this idea from Scotland. What fun! :-)
Just proves to me that the shared joy of making music is not necessarily affected by the individual success of making music. How completely counter-cultural, in this, our "up by the rugged-individualist bootstraps" country. You don't have to be a professional musician to access the heart of the music. You don't even have to be good.
Now, before you freak out on me, I'm not suggesting that it's OK not to practice, not to really apply yourself. Improving your technique and respecting the music and your fellow musicians are critical groundwork; it is, at least, our job as musicians not to stand in the way of the music. But in the moment where the magic happens, something fleeting is at work that isn't about technique. It's about honesty and abandon and the aspirational delight of locating yourself in beauty...and locating beauty in yourself.
You just have to be willing, and a little bit brave.
I also heard something inspiring this week. It's the story of Jeff Bauer, a local guy who saw a need on the other side of the world and tried to meet it through visual art. He started a foundation for kids who have survived the madness in Darfur, teaching them to make art as a step toward healing and growing back into their lives. Stop by and visit his website to find out more about (and support) The Beautiful Project.
Now, could we please fund arts education programs? I mean the ones in the public schools and the ones that spring up in communities. My choir is doing a benefit for one of the latter this Saturday. Y'all come, if you're in Minneapolis...and if you're not, it's still possible to support the program through their website. Let's provide opportunities for the next generation to find their way into colorful, musicky joy, huh? Or at least to help them access their inner beauty when there isn't much beauty around them.