In my youth I played music in bands and I did a stint as a guitar playing singer-songwriter in pubs and cafes. I even did a short stint playing piano in bars. Back in those days I played music for two reasons. Firstly because I could, and that meant girls looked at me and the second reason was to entertain people and have girls look at me. Seeing a theme here?
I soon realised playing in bands, it didn’t help with my love life one little bit (the good-looking guitarist in the band got the girls) and always playing songs written by someone else and that everyone knew, really annoyed me. It seemed a little like an artist setting up an easel and copying a painting done by someone else. I got absolutely no satisfaction out of it unless I put my own slant on the song. Often when I did that though, listeners objected saying things like “thats not the way it goes”.
These days I play music for a completely different reason. I play where and when it suits me. In my backyard, by the riverside at dawn or to accompany the setting sun in the country. I play a style of music that deeply resonates with me. For the technically minded, I play a baritone Ukulele tuned to open A. Much in the style of the slack key guitarists of Hawaii, but in the baritone uke range. For the non technically minded, I play a gentle meditative rhythmic style of finger picking on a small stringed instrument. It is meant to provide a sonic backdrop to invite you to sit and think, to ponder, to give thanks. It is my church.
The melodies are simple and repetitive and songs often go for more than five minutes. This requires people to take time, to lower their intellectual kilobyte consumption rate which hopefully will help them to enter a state of gentle thought, of relaxation, something near to meditation.
I don’t play my music for anybody else though. I play for me. I’m happy to have people sit down and listen, happy to have people hang out and drift off to their quiet place, but equally I don’t mind if they don’t, and I most certainly don’t take requests.