Friday, July 26, 2019

Missing Limbs

“What skill don’t you have that you wish you did?”

This was the topic for our Men’s Group discussion and I was stunned by the answers. Each of the nine men, who have been meeting together for 29 years, surprised me by their answers—almost all had to do with music. They told stories of failed ventures with piano or guitar and mean or unhelpful music teachers and at the end of the day, being left with the feeling that they couldn’t express themselves musically and they regretted it. Some part of them longed to be able to participate in this human faculty that was been so neglected or wrongly transmitted in our culture. Like they were missing a limb. 

Naturally, my response was: “I’m going to give you an Orff class!” In all these years of meeting, I did something like that once with Boomwhackers and had I known their secret hungers, would have done many more. But it’s never too late to have a happy childhood, so I’m looking forward to the future music class. Ironically, most of them had children I taught for 11 years who left school with a musical foundation far beyond their parents. And I’ve taught a few of their grandchildren. But now it’s time to help heal their music wounds and give them an opportunity to join the music club. (After all these years, I wonder: "Why didn't they ask me sooner?")

Even my answer was mostly music-related. Three things I wish I could do better:
1.    Partner dancing—swing, salsa, ballroom dancing etc.
2.    Snare drum technique
3.    Accents.

Of course, I’m utterly incompetent fixing a car or doing the plumbing in my house, but I don’t care. Happy to pay someone else. Meanwhile, people pay me for getting their musical engine running and all pipes connected. But I’ll give this Men’s Group class for free.

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