Life patterns #6: making music together
A pattern language is a method of describing good design practices or patterns of useful organization within a field of expertise. This post is the fifth pattern in a language describing a slow, simple and “light” style of living for challenging times.
In a time of commoditized pop music and duelling on-demand streaming services, it can be easy to forget that music is anything other than a generic product to be effortlessly and often unconsciously consumed. But music, perhaps moreso than any other art form, has always been as much about group interaction and co-creation as about mere audience reception.
Why has informal, collaborative music-making been so integral to the human experience for so long?
Because it is about active participation, not passive consumption.
It could be a piece of music that some or all of the participants know before hand, or it could be a session of improvised noodlings of some sort.
Either way, making music together puts us in sync with one another and with the present moment, teaching us to listen and respond to each other in a way that unifies our actions through time.
(Think, for example, of sea shanties, and their use by sailors of yore to lighten the drudgery for their work and provide a rhythm against which to complete their at-times monotonous but often highly synchronized tasks.)
If the living of a life itself can be thought of as a sort of dance, then making music is a beautiful means for us to get our groove on.
This state of presence and creative openness can in turn inform and guide our behaviour after the music stops, infusing us with creative, improvisational energies that we can marshal in the face of whatever life may throw our way.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, making music with other people is absurdly fun.
Therefore, incorporate regular informal sessions of music making of whatever kind suits your fancy into your lifestyle. Jam on, friends.