Whenever I hear and watch musicians I’m filled with longing. Longing for a talent that I haven’t been fortunate to have or cultivate. The ability to express through instrument and voice is pure joy. I know this because when I’m home alone, I sing loudly and without inhibition! It doesn’t matter if I get the words wrong, sing off key or hit the wrong notes occasionally. What matters is the exhilaration of vocal expression and the feeling of happiness it brings.
The jam session had started when we arrived and the salon bar was full, standing room only for the non musicians. We deemed the protocol to be; if you could play an instrument and sing you could join in. Guitars were elbow to elbow, there was a fiddle or two, a bass, a flute, a piano-accordion and couple of ukuleles. And the pub rocked with the glorious sound of musicians playing, singing and toe tapping in tune.
The above is a memory from before Covid, when we spent a couple of days in the beautiful rural Victorian town of Yackandandah. A place special to us because my husband’s ancestors settled there in the 1860’s after migrating from Ireland. Anyway, what does one do in the evenings in Yack? A visit to the local pub was a good start and that’s what we did. The Star Hotel is nothing amazing to look at but it’s where the local and visiting muso’s hung out and where the music scene happened weekly. It was a Wednesday night and billed as ‘Country’ night. Thursday we were told was ‘Blues’ night.
I can’t imagine anything more rewarding than joining with others to make and create a mutual musical experience. Their faces were relaxed as they backed each other in turn to sing or play a piece. They were casual yet serious and relaxed but attentive. On display was a range of skills presented with relative ease. And yet behind each musician, I suspect, lay countless years of learning, practice, experimenting and developing of craft.
And so I’m reminded about the importance of sticking with a passion. The musical world is a good example. Being able to play an instrument with ease doesn’t happen over night, singing in tune with the correct pitch takes time and practice. I’m not sure if natural talent comes into the equation but I’m sure it also plays a role. However, my guess is that doing it over and over again, in other words practice, paves the way to playing skillfully and for ultimate enjoyment.
And so, at the pub at ‘Yack’ we enjoyed the fruits of other people’s persistence, commitment, skill, musical craft and ability. We shared the relaxed atmosphere created by the wonderful musicians’s of Yackandandah.