Summer Meltdown: Making Music Cool.

Summer is so sticky and sweaty. Especially when you’re in the full sun at Band Camp!

What’s fun about that, you ask? Why do young men and women do it? That’s easy. Ever feel the power of your dad’s Chevelle when he hits the gas on a country highway? How about the feeling you get in your stomach when the old rickety roller coaster you’re barely strapped into plunges toward the bottom of a curve? Now you understand the “feels” music nerds of the world get when four tubas and a gaggle of clarinets, trumpets and saxes hit a note together after practicing for months.

I went through numerous summer band camps in the Lowcountry, and there’s nothing quite like it. Yes, you get soaked blowing into a horn in 100-degree heat. Sure, I got reprimanded and did pushups in soggy football fields day in and day out. But why I was there is what we’re talking about.

“When I was in band camp” is something people joke about, a lot. It’s part of the American Dream thing we all have (well, maybe not in American towns everywhere, as band programs are disappearing left and right. That discussion we can tackle another time, if you please.)

Choosing an instrument to play is seemingly very easy. Guys like trombones and saxophones. Girls like clarinets and flutes. You can just fall into it like that if you want or you can go against the grain and play tuba LIKE A GIRL! AS A GIRL! Nowadays, we are hearing of all sorts of young people doing things that were only dreamed of back in the “old days.”

Young men can stay home with the kids and change diapers and women can play on the local football team. Yep. That just happened. It’s happening all around you, Mr. Stuckinthepast. So, I say, YES. Girls can play bass guitar. Boys can shred the jazz flute. WHY NOT!? Pave the way for the future, people. It’s cool to be different. I’m not saying it’s super easy, but when you get to where you’re going by taking the road less traveled, the reward is sweeter.

I just had a long phone discussion with my skin beatin’ pal Jack Friel about the state of music. We get wrecked on coffee in the early morning hours a couple times each season and vent to each other for an hour or so, get exhausted. and then say goodbye. Today’s discussion seemed to lend itself to what we are talking about here and now.

How do you get the youth of today excited about playing a trumpet or a guitar when all around us machines and screens are taking the place of traditional music? Where are all the cool saxophone licks? How do I get into music, and is this music I’m listening to going to teach me anything? Is it forward-thinking? Is it fun? Jazz, Blues…will you survive? Did the 80s ruin all of us? Is having fun more important than carrying on tradition?

These are the questions I ask myself sometimes when I feel a breakdown after band camp is over and we’re listening to party music on the bus and having a good time: What is the most fun music? Does traditional music need to be so serious? Isn’t laughter the best medicine? Is music medicinal? Does music relieve stress? Do my parents want me to play classical pieces and then burn out because the fun is missing? What is fun? Am I ever gonna grow up?

WHO AM I?

music is the great soother of souls
so many questions are answered
without a word

Thank you,
Jevon

Article by Jevon Daly