The Blues Experiment, Part I

Oh what a mess I created!

I’ve been working on being more present in the world and less closed off.  I love music and playing the guitar.  Some of my fondest memories from college were playing rock bands.  I played keyboards and sang in a prog-rock cover band and summers played in a classic rock cover band.

Since then, I have never played in public. Only in basements with friends.  I’ve switched instruments too, and taught myself guitar over the last fifteen years or so.  I would love to be able to play and sing in public, but the prospect terrifies me.

AND SO, a friend got me hooked up to do a poetry workshop later next week in an elementary school.  When he asked me, my first thought was no way.  Elementary kids are out of my comfort zone.  With my own son being autistic, I don’t have much practice relating to that age of kids (though I did do a summer as a camp counsellor for five to seven year olds, but that was twenty years ago).  But my friend asked me at our poetry group meeting, and said meeting takes place at Szot’s Bar, and I was on my second beverage, so I said sure!

I’ve been racking my brain for a couple of weeks trying to figure out what to do.  Everything I imagine saying or doing comes out aimed at college students; they’ve been my audience for the last seventeen years.  Suddenly, I had a vision: I imagined plopping down and playing the guitar for them, and that would get some attention.  And then the connections sprang: I could do poetry and the blues as the workshop!  AND THEN, I got the bright idea to not only play, but sing.

These things are way outside my comfort zone.  I have never played guitar for an audience, just with friends in the basement.  I have not sung for an audience since college, and then only as little backup lines.  But I want to get over it.  The idea of performing excites me.  We’ll see.

I went back and forth a couple of times (you can do this/you’re awful and this is a bad idea).  What made me decide for sure yesterday was my six-year-old son.  He kept looking at me funny when I was singing, and then suddenly improvised his own blues song, “Baby, baby, baby, cry, cry, cry, la, la, la . . .  blues.”  Then he got overwhelmed and insisted I stop.  When I didn’t listen, he stole my iPod and made this picture for me:

He even took the picture. Despite all this resistance, it brought out his creative side, so I’m going forward. GAHHHH!

9 thoughts on “The Blues Experiment, Part I

  1. You can do it. Heck, Elementary children (I don’t like the term “Kids” unless we are talking about baby goats) can be less critical then college-aged. They will embrace it in a different way. Look at it in that sense and have some fun with it.

  2. Oh God I love this kid.

    Okay Jon, I’d be glad to help you on this…feel free to email ( My five best professional years so far was as an environmental educator and I would get their attention with singing and stories, etc. Then move onto tricking them into learning boring science stuff.

    The great thing is that to be honest, if your attention span is like mine, and I think it is…grade school kids are tuned into approximately the same channel.

    Here are my ideas thus far…1)get some Pete Seeger music asap, learn a few of those tunes and force them to listen to you and figure out if you are a hippy or not. 2) go to a book store and get some of those poetry magnets…I got some for myself that are like, huge but I don’t have a group of kids to do something with them 3) bring a refrigerator to put them on 4) stock the fridge with juice boxes 5)…

    okay…I’m not being helpful here.

    Have fun! They will be pleased to not be doing math – it’s a solid fact.

  3. That’s awesome!! I’m so happy for you. Tackling your fears is a huge step for anyone, so good job. And kudos to your son for his jamming technique. 🙂

  4. Pingback: The Blues Experiment, Part II | Attention Deficit Whatever

  5. Pingback: The Blues Experiment: Third Verse | Attention Deficit Whatever

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