I just wanted to share that Tammy Linn, Greater Austin Suzuki Association member and teacher, is organizing a benefit concert to raise aid for Bastrop County, which was recently hard hit by wildfires. Details can be found here. I plan to attend and hope that some of you will be able to join me, both to support this cause and to allow ourselves a chance to see how music can be used to help others.
After only about three weeks in Austin, I've discovered one of the things I love most about this town is the way people are willing to take a chance to do what they love. I don't mean that every person goes and makes a career out of it, though some do, but just that people here don't keep their art, music, poetry, craft, or, hmm... knack for plumbing, to themselves. They share it with the world, and seek out and befriend others doing the same. This is such a great environment to be a student in. It takes a lot of courage to show this part of ourselves, to perform a song, read a poem, publish a vampire novel... and sometimes we fail. At the first Blues jam I attended in this town, I saw both riveting, successful performances, and also performances that could be described as...off kilter. Of the latter, one band I saw had three different members playing in three different keys. But I loved that band, because each member was playing so soulfully and unselfconsciously, albeit in his own key. And in general the audience loved it too. People were smiling, talking, and relaxed. On the other hand, one band had tons of musical talent, but the lead singer was so self-deprecating and nervous that I think all of us in the audience felt awkward and nervous right along with her. I guess the moral could be summed up by the misleading title of that book on grammar: Sin Boldly. Do something you enjoy, share it with a friend, co-worker, random guy on the street, or room full of the inebriated hippies (a.k.a. Austin blues bar). Maybe I'm just a naive out-of-towner, but I get the feeling that if you are willing to take a chance in Austin, there are few to none who will shoot you down, and legions that will hold you up, even if you do start out in the wrong key.