Morning Music

It is a time when music can build some strength,
remind me of who I am and what I am really passionate about, help me focus on some
of the larger, foundational things.

Thoughts on Open Mics

I know it is not always easy for working musicians to get the time to play at open mics, but I want to encourage folks to do just that.

Finding a Space

This is to be a year of experimenting and that is what we are doing.  We want to determine the best possible location for a more permanent space for us.

Mountain Christmas Set list

A blend of Traditional, Old Time and Bluegrass songs about Christmas and the season of winter.

What? So What? Now What?

When I do leadership training, I encourage folks to ask three questions.  What? So What? Now What?

Music Camp

"Next summer, go back to camp!"

Success vs. Value

“Try not to be a SUCCESS, but rather to be of VALUE.”

Something Old, Something New

" It is not a bad idea for musicians to have a sense of the history and sing/play some of that history."

A Musician's Responsibility

"...musicians, as much as any other artists, have a responsibility to help people reflect on life."

How to deal with phone solicitors

I am trying a variety of approaches with these.  One is to ask them for a form 990 - which the IRS says they should send to me without any problem.  The callers, of course, have no idea of what a Form 990 is.

New Excellent 11 Song and thoughts on Compassion

Unlike pity, compassion requires a person to become engaged in the problem.

Government and Arts funding

We have a responsibility to be the moral and ethical compass of the communities in which we live.

Leadership and Contra Dance

I've been thinking for a while about the connections between good dancing and good leadership.  I am a fan of Contra Dancing, so my thoughts have proceeded along those lines.  For those of you unfamiliar with contra dance, check out <>.  It utilizes many of the moves of square dancing, but in parallel lines rather than squares.

A good leader is one who enables others to realize their full potential and, at the same time, moves the whole group towards a common goal.  In contra dancing, every person has the potential for being a leaderr and is, infact, called upon to lead at various times in the dance.  To observe the behavior of an individual in the dance is to see how they behave as leaders and, I theorize, would say a lot about how they act as leaders in their family, community and business. 

There are dancers who think they are far superior to anyone else in the group and they are going to show that.  They are annoyed at the mistakes of others, sometimes going so far as to refuse to dance with those people in the line!  They are arrogant and fussy over details and make those with lesser experience feel foolish and awkward in the dance.  This is not good leadership.  This is self-centered and sellf-serving.  They deny others the fun of dancing and often will cause more chaos, especially amongst the inexperienced.

There are dancers who are good, but don''t want to take charge.  They hold back, hoping that others will somehow follow along.  They simply ignore the misteps and remain detached from the group.  They often feel that mistakes should simply be expected and accepted.  This also is not good leadership.  There is a rythm and flow in dance.  There are specific steps at specific times which,, if executed properly, keep the whole dance moving along, much to everyone's enjoyment.  Good leaders will take the time and make the effort to make sure that everyone is "on board" with the movement and dynamics of the dance.  Folks will make mistakes, and a good leaders knows this.  He/she is willing to gracefully fllow over the mistake, but also is willing to help the person do better next time. 

With each new person one encounters in the dance a new leadership style must be used.  Some people need a strong hand to guide them through, some people need verbal instruction as the dance progresses, some people need an equal force through swings, circles and promenades.  A good leader is able to make those judgments quickly and provide exactly the level of authority necessary for each dancer.  This is true in any organization.  Different people need a different style of leadership in order to help them do the best they can.

A good leader knows the vision.  In a contradance, there is an expected outcome, probably several.  Dances are community builders.  That is the larger purpose.  There is also the more technical purpose which the caller has envisioned - the completion of each round.  A good leader keeps both those things in mind as he//she moves through the dance.  How do we build the community through our leadership?  Are we helping others have fun?  Are we teaching others the joy of the dance?

More on this later!

Pop Stoneman

Talking with a gentleman in a nursing home who worked with "Pop" Stoneman. I had never heard of him, but he was quite an interesting person. And also someone that most of us in the folk world should know about. Apparently one of the patriarchs of country music,he had 23 children, all of whom were quite musical. Pop played autoharp, which he built for himself because he couldn't afford to buy one - a lesson many aspiring young players should learn! He alsoo played a number of other instruments. So, now I need to find some recordings! I will add his music to my Moountain Gospel Show June 13th.

Music Heals

First, read this: I have known for quite some time of the benefits of music, in more than just a "calming" effect. It does have real spiritual, emotional and physical affects! I protected my Tuesday night music circle time because of this. Tuesday night was the time for me to take care of myself. I miss that already, here in Maryland! I am searching for a group that will play together. If I can't find one, then I will start one!

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