A week ago today I had one of the cooler music experiences of my life. Rather than going to a concert, or sitting on my bed with my headphones on, I organized a Saturday workshop for music appreciation. My idea was for people to share their music and learn about new bands or artists while building bonds between people in a way only music can do. Having no expectations, and half expecting no one to show up, I borrowed ipod speakers from a friend and set up shop in the Wallace Center classroom. Surprisingly to me, about five people showed up with their ipods. After everyone had sat down, I gave my pitch, saying that the plan was for everyone to contribute their music depending on the mood the previous song created. I expressed my hopes that each song would have a story behind it and thus lead to some sort of free-form discussion. After pitching my hopes for the session, I turned on one of my favorite songs by Andrew Bird called “Natural Disaster” and we began.
Expecting that no one would want to chime in with a thought or follow up the first song, I had a full backup plan. I was ready to play “Re: Stacks” by Bon Iver, but before the first song was over, almost everyone had made a comment. “Ooh, this sounds so nice, it reminds me of…” and “I’ve never heard of this guy, but he seems like…” were the first comments that opened up great discussion about the song, and I quickly had a line of ipods next to me with selected songs to continue the discussion. After an hour of each member contributing to discussion either by commenting on a song or putting on a new song, we all had a mutual respect for one another’s music. No one talked over anyone else, no one made any negative comments about another’s music, and everyone walked out of the room with a mental list of bands to look up, albums to buy, and songs to listen to. Afterward, I felt I knew each person in the room much better, and wanted to do more of these music appreciation sessions so I could connect with even more people like I did that day.
-Alex Macmillan, Manchester, MA