Your Kids are Improvising Right Now -- Are You Listening?
One of the things I focus on in my lessons, is learning to improvise the Blues. The Blues are a fantastic way to start learning to improvise and write. It's the basis for so much rock, pop and R&B music. Really, it's such an important skill to learn as a guitarist.
We talk a lot about the story of blues. Pain, heartache, sadness; we've all felt those things. And blues musicians have been sing and playing about them for years and years. There's something interesting about listening to, or performing the blues. Somehow it just makes you feel better. It doesn't change anything, but it does make it feel better. Built in therapy.
Each person who plays the blues (even new students just starting out) has to find their own story in the blues. Sometimes, its the normal stuff. Losing a girl, dog dying, car breaking down. Sometimes it brings new view on our modern life. Losing video game privileges, tv time, or ipods and ipads. This week I wrote the "Video Game Blues" with one of my students.
But telling your story through the blues helps you realize the power of telling stories, through music, writing, or speaking. Sharing your story with an audience brings you together. Your audience wants the opportunity to agree with you, to understand you. They want to go on the journey with you. Sharing your stories has power.
Our children are very much like blues musicians. They have so much to share with us, they have a stories with pain, suffering, and heartache. Sometimes it's as simple as telling us about a school yard dispute. Other times, it's a large scale dissertation on the benefits of video games to their life. No matter what it is, they have a story to tell, and we have the opportunity to participate in it.
How often are we listening to the music of our children's life? It's not easy to find the time or the space to hear our children's stories, but it is so worth it. Right now my son is obsessed with Minecraft. Not only do I get to talk to him about it, but he also gets me to play the worlds he creates. He makes his own games in Minecraft. He reads books on Minecraft, and he wants to tell me everything. I enjoy the conversations. I work hard to stay interested.
Sometimes the song can get a little old. But just like the songs he practices on the piano or guitar, I love to hear them, no matter how many times he wants to perform them.