Tiny Desk Concert season is here. Coq Au Vin Is a band from Nantucket Island that formed around the early 2000’s. We put a lot of work into this original video submission for NPR’s Tiny Desk. Coq Au Vin is a blend soulful gypsy and Eastern European folk tunes. Check out our Video HERE.
“If you don’t hustle your gonna get stomped” – Herb
Over the past 10 years, I have met and performed music with many musicians and different types of people. Most of everyone is there to have fun and be supportive of each other. In music, sometimes musicians will join in on one another’s band; also known as sitting in. This is were respect can get confusing. On one side of the coin some people see respect as jumping in without any permission. Then sometimes there are several members of the band that would like you to jam but the manager or leader have the final say. Personally I’m bias. As a horn player it is a lot easier to join in. But I have seen them all: the band member that somehow can’t see possibly how the trumpet will work with their music, the band members that vibe when you play one off note or out off time, the band member the says they’ll invite you then forgets, and many more like this. The majority of the time it is best to jump and perform if you like the the music. Obviously if you are at Red Rocks in Colorado, your not gonna just jump in without asking.
No pain no gain
One time I learned about giving it my all was in Colorado. A band member from our band Diabolical Sound Platoon had set up an evening event with a local brew pub to do a weekly series of revolving music and comedy. The series was a called TGIF. Thank God It’s Friday. My band mate asked me if I would organize a show at TGIF with my funk band Bootyconda. So instead of hiring the usual band I reached out to my favorite funk musicians in town to come together and perform the show. Friday came and I had an accident. Somewhere in my back or neck was a pinched nerve or something and made playing pretty much impossible along with breathing and laying down. There was two choices.
1. Don’t play the show for physical health problems.
2. Play the show and then rest.
I went with option 2. And throughout the night I went from moments of euphoria from playing music to moments of crippling pain from when my body responded to the back pressure of playing trumpet. I would go for high notes and if any part of my body tensed severe pain would follow and stop me from playing music. I made it through the gig and was so relieved. I know it’s right to listen to your body and in this instance I really pushed my limit and showed dedication for the craft and the musicians who came to perform that night.
A Call to Action
Today we are so bombarded by technology. Recently, I took a 3000 mile road trip and brought a friend with me. It was nice to have someone to help split the expenses of gas but there was something wrong. My road partners eyes were glued to their phone from the start of the trip and seemed to be missing out on the beauty of it all. Usually the copilot assists with conversation and navigation but this was not the case: the majority of their attention was in their phone. If technology really is the future, we need to be objective about when/how we use it. We need to take careful steps not to disassociate to far from reality and the connection we share when we don’t have our phones.
The Cellular Radiation Take Over
In the past I have been addicted to cell phones, television, and video games. I understand the desire we place in these technologies. Born in 1991, when I was about 15 or 16 I got my first phone. It made it so easy to contact friends to make plans or play video games on; I loved it. But then smartphones got smarter and their uses expanded. When I worked for years as a lifeguard people where constantly texting, checking email, and getting on social media instead of paying attention to the safety of beach patrons. Today over half of america owns a phone and campaigns to stop texting while driving are a sad reality. People are dying because of taking “selfies” in dangerous areas. We live in a FOMO (fear of missing out) society where people can control so much of their daily life with technologies like smartphones. There are studies that show these things may causing cancer. We can do so much from our phones. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and let them raise our stress hormones which also may lead to cancer. But I think I have the solution.
Music: A Treatment for Addiction and Cancer
Cell phones emit radio waves which are considered low energy, similar to a microwave. On the other end of the spectrum are X-rays which are high energy. It has been shown that high energy waves are dangerous and cancer forming. Low energy radiation will likely give us problems too if we expose ourselves to a lot of it. In one study they grew plants from seed in two groups. The first group near a cellphone using wifi and the second group away from a cellphone. Group 2 flourished while the 1st group did not grow so well. Recently, it was discovered that cancer could be killed locally with the use of high frequency beams of ultrasound. These frequencies are well above the human hearing range. So what can be said about the low energy side of sound frequencies and how they affect cancer. This is where music comes in and plays a roll in preventing cancerous growth and stress. So how can offset all the radio waves we expose ourselves to on a daily basis? By playing music or exposing ourselves to low energy sound waves!! What better way to satisfy our handheld craving of cellphones and blast cancer than to use a low energy sound medium and a chance to relax with one of these thumb pianos.
“All musicians know how uplifting the soul becomes after a musical experience. Now pure science is weighing in.”
— Mickey Hart, Drummer
Why we Drum is often more important than how we do it (technical skill). Instead of practicing to perfection technical skills for public demonstration, Drumming gives a unique opportunity in changing our cognitive development and interpersonal relationships. How? You might ask. It is a form of meditation.
Group drumming is different because it teaches the performer and listener the harmony of thought and feeling. The fluidity of energy and vibration of the drum produces physiological and neurological changes within the body/mind that center the nervous system and advance us toward better overall health. – Annette Kearl, MA, MT-BC, Director of Infinite Health
Drumming takes a passive letting go of the logical mind and takes a conscious focus on sound, feel, and movement. This lets the drummer live in the current moment. It creates a state of heightened consciences and allows the body to naturally heal. However, the art of drumming is literally hands on and experiential learning is FUN! Similar to the art of story telling music is about the art of musical conversation. The art form is about call and response which is part of spontaneous improv. Anyone can make music and you don’t need technical skills to become one of the greats. Honing in on listening skills will make your responses authentic and limitless. Other than enjoyment, Drumming helps evolve important life skills everyone needs for all sorts of relationships not limited to social and professional.
Music is a universal language that creates culture, connection, and a sense of belonging. According to studies, music is older than speech. Language came from music. As humans we sometimes forget that we are animals and we have primal energy in all of us that brings out emotions. Music is great for taking us on extraordinary journeys.
Mental Function & Emotional Well Being
Did you know music builds logic skills and brain development. It increases memory capacity, organizational skills, and teaches us how to persevere. Playing music is merry! When we play music it creates confidence, inspires creativity, and self-expression. It reduces anxiety, depression, and lifts your mood. By decreasing stress hormones it ultimately makes people live longer and happier.
Listening and playing music reduces stress, pain, can lower blood pressure, increase workout performance, and improve sleep. Studies show playing a wind instrument can cure sleep apnea.
Community and Culture
When we create with other people we experience a sense of joy. Performing music with others cultivates critical listening, respect, and sense of belonging that builds culture. It breaks down walls like social barriers and stigma.
Why did I choose Leucadia? It is a weird town. Residents here live by the ethos, “Keep Leucadia Funky.” It has a small town feel and is home to some of the best surf spots, amongst other things. Any night of the week you can find live entertainment or play at an open mic. After a few weeks into the new year a friend showed me a publication of the San Diego Troubadour. This was a point in the right direction and as a newbie to the music scene in southern California, this was a great resource to know of. These are the open mic that have introduced me to the California music scene so far.
San Diego is home to a lot of great things. For one, going to Mexico is so easy and less than an hour away. But there are farmers markets and maker labs from Encinitas to La Jolla. To me this spells opportunity for my small rootsy music instrument start up. Here they offer quality music education programs and a state of the art workspace. Check out more info on their website !! Their classes are affordable and members can get discounts on material from select vendors. I am almost eligible to use all of their machinery which includes; 3d Printers, Screen Printing, Welding, CNC Routers, and much more…It is decentralized community workspaces like this that make my creations possible.