It’s late in the year, and I’m reflecting back on the last several months which have been full of rich musical experiences — attending musical events (such as the Seattle Symphony, WSMTA Convention, Taylor Swift Eras concert), and presenting a load of musical programs (studio recitals, musical author presentations, and playing piano for special events). I also took some lessons over the summer with my dear mentor Dr. Jill Timmons in Oregon who coached me on some “new to me repertoire.” It’s been a very full year of music, once again!
And what about you? Have you been experiencing some rich musical activities that bring you joy, or help you find some peace? I hope so! Below are some ideas for adding some extra musical events into your lives over the next few months!
Whether you are a professional musician, a hobbyist, or a music enthusiast, the following ideas are jumping off points for enriching your life with musical activities!
Hands-on Music Making Experiences in the Home and Community:
• Attend sing-alongs or hire a musician (a guitarist, or a pianist) for a casual sing-along with friends, neighbors, and family. Pass out song sheets to attendees.
• Dance! Dance in the home, take lessons, attend community dances. Dancing is usually accompanied by either live or recorded music.
• Give the gift of music: tickets to musical events, music lessons, sheet music, a gift card to your favorite music store, or a musical instrument (a harmonica, ukulele, recorder, or small percussion instruments are inexpensive choices).
• Hire a musician or an ensemble to provide background music for family gatherings, outdoor events, or special celebrations. If cost is an issue, considering hiring local high school or college students who are in the early stages of their performance careers.
• Host a house concert––invite a local musician or ensemble into your home to give a concert for family and friends. The audience usually pitches in to cover the musician’s fee. For more information, check out the following organizations that organize house concerts such as:
Concerts in Your Homes
Listening Room Network
• Keep a collection of percussion instruments handy for impromptu drumming sessions with family and friends. Percussion instruments and kits are readily available at your local music store, or online. You can also make your own with buckets, empty containers filled with rice, or other repurposed items.
• Listen to music on LP records, CDs, or online platforms such as You Tube, Apple Music or Spotify.
• Listen to NPR music broadcasts which feature a variety of musical styles such as: Tiny Desk Concerts, American Routes, Alt.Latino, Mountain Stage, All Songs Considered, World Cafe, Thistle and Shamrock, and Jazz Night in America. Check your local NPR station for programming details.
• Join a community band, orchestra, ukulele ensemble, guitar group, or other instrumental groups.
• Join a choir. Many community and church choirs don’t require an audition.
• Learn to play an instrument It’s never too late! If you want to learn an instrument, take private or group music lessons. Teachers are out there, to find one, inquire at local music store, or music school. You may also contact your local branch of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association). Many community colleges and community centers offer private and group instruction. If you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of learner, utilize online prerecorded lessons that you work through at your own pace. (Stay tuned! I am launching an on-demand piano course for adult beginners on January 1st of 2024. More information to follow in the following weeks!)
Attend Musical events in Your Community. Once you start looking, you will that find live music opportunities are abundant in your community, many of them with free access.
• colleges and universities
• art fairs
• community centers
• coffee shops
• farmers markets
• high schools
• house concerts
• local choirs, bands, orchestras concerts
• music and cultural festivals
• open mic nights
• street fairs
• summer outdoor musical events