I’ve grown up in a culture that isn’t serious about music. Sure, some small group of musical performers are lavished with money and attention, the center of an entertainment industrial complex. But, really, don’t we treat those as trained monkeys? Talented, valuable, but not serious people. Music is kids stuff, and kids are only, you know, kids. Kids are allowed to make music because it’s fun and you gotta’ keep them happy.
But only special talented ones should be allowed to continue music into adulthood. THAT’s what I mean when I say we aren’t serious about music. Anyone can be an accountant, a mechanic, or, gawd forbid, a teacher, but only special talented ones can be a musician. No, we’re all musicians. It’s native in us. To say believe act any other way is to betray our nature.
Dancing to Guitar
Here we have some guy playing guitar – looks like he may have a GoPro affixed to the end of his guitar beyond the head. Look in the background on the left.
What do you see? If you see what I see, you see a little girl – maybe three years old – dancing along with the music and having a ball. She’s not just hopping up and down, side to side. She’s got a variety of dance moves – spins, foot stomps, high leg kicks, hops, and twists; she moves her arms too. She’s been working at it.
I’d guess she’s been dancing since the womb. Mommy dances and she’d kick her legs. Later, once she’s out and about, mommy and daddy hold her while they’re dancing, strapped to their backs, chests, on shoulders, maybe toss her into the air too.
The video’s title: “Cutest little girl goes crazy dancing to ZZ Top - Why can’t we all be like this when we hear music?” Answer: Shy? inhibited? it’s not done. No GOOD reason. That’s just not how we roll in our culture.
Colt Clark and the Quarantine Kids
The world locks down and you’re at home with three kids. What are you doing to do? Make music, that’s what.
That’s what Colt Clark decided to do. That’s Colt (dad), with the beard, on guitar and vocals. That’s Cash at the right on bass; I believe he’s eleven. Beckett at left on drums; I believe he’s nine. Six-year old Bellamy is fronting the band with dance moves, air guitar, and cowbell. Aubree (mom) is behind the camera videotaping the performance.
I have no idea whether or not any of them were born on the bayou. I doubt it. But they’re sure having fun singing about it.
They started doing this at the beginning of the pandemic. Colt’s a professional musician. When the lock-down hit, all his gigs were gone. What to do? What’s he’s always done, make music. With his kids. At first Colt and Aubree just shared the videos privately with family and friends. Some of them asked, in turn, to share them, so they decided to go public. Ever since then they’ve been doing a video every other day or so.
But, as I’ve argued at some length in Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture, that’s how a bunch of very clever apes turned themselves into human beings. Back then it was ALL family and friends, and in small scale societies it still is pretty much that. Moreover, before the 20th century all music was live music.
How about we get back to it?
Japanese Elementary School
I don’t know when I first saw this, five, six, eight years ago, I don’t remember. It's from 2009.I keep coming back to it every few months or so. It brings tears to my eyes. It inspires me.
These are children, 10, 11, 12 years old or so. Look at them as they perform, the grace, the sureness. Above all, the sense of ceremony. They are wrapped/rapt in the music. They are no longer children.
They are, for the moment, musicians. They have become the music. It is the world. We are the world.
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This is the first in a series of five posts I have planned. The other four:
- Prodigies R’ Us
- Kwak DaKyoung, Trumpeter
- Charlie Keil’s 12/8 Path
- A Brave New World