Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting for Frankenstorm

Today is ostensibly my "sabbath day".  In reality I rarely take it off.  This is neither a complaint nor a boast.  As with many occupations, the ministry has an organic flow.  September to January is our peak season, with another bump during Lent in the spring.  I work every day (and many nights) right now as the church feeds off the excitement of the season, the many visitors, and the general positive energy we have tried to cultivate over the past few years. It is a fun time to be part of the Eliot Church and I am enjoying it immensely, even though it leaves very little down time.

However, what I do like about Mondays is that there is more time for reflection.  I try to set up my week to allow for reading, writing, and other projects that I might forget to do as time goes on.  Many of my colleagues have fairly intense spiritual disciplines.  Mine is study. Today is particularly reflective.  The kids are home and we are waiting for Frankenstorm.

I think we will have to figure out some indoor activities.  The lawn has been cleared of potential flying debris and the rain is finally coming down.  It may be a good day to practice music and to read.  I actually have a plan to figure out some alternative chord forms for the ukulele.  It has been something that  I have worked on for the mandolin as well, but the uke could use them more.  It is important to have these, by the way, to add a dimension to songs where there are more than one instrument of the same type.  All you guitar playing pastors out there might want to find some alternative formations yourselves.  More than two guitars doing the same thing and you have big, muddy mess.  Most people are too polite to tell you.  I am not that polite.

 Of course, those of us who play more novel instruments don't encounter this problem as often (except at the Ukulele Melee of course).  I have, however, found them useful on the mandolin when I have played with a guitarist in church (My associate, and my eldest son have both played along).  By sliding from one form to another, you can follow the melody a bit and create musical cues for the congregation singing along.  This is good stuff, I think, that adds to the depth and dimensions of "folk worship".  It certainly adds to the music you are playing.

So I better wrap up before the power goes out. Here are some final links and items for thought....

I recently read the book Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo.  It isn't particularly about Zen or the guitar (though these were both touchpoints for Sudo).  It was about music and spirituality more generally.  I liked it.  Buy it used and keep it around when you stop enjoying playing (or preaching or cooking or whatever it is that brings you joy).  It didn't have an epiphanies for me, but reminded me instead of things I should have already known.  This makes sense, with the Buddhist focus on "beginner's mind."  Here is a link to the Zen Guitar Dojo.  Sudo himself died in 2002 at the age of 42.   However, this page may be worth browsing during the storm.

Also, I referenced some old posts.  If you want to explore a bit, here are the links...

Here is the one about the Ukulele Melee.  I went a couple of years ago.  It is a thoroughly goofy event for uke geeks who are, of course, the best geeks that ever were.

Long ago I wrote about what I mean when I say "Folk Worship" and being a permanent beginner on the uke.  You can check that out, too.

Finally, a shameless suggestion.  If you are thinking, "what would enhance Adam's music ministry (and family jams for that" a Firefly Banjo Uke would.  Donations are, of course, accepted.   ;)

OK...the wind is picking up.  Have a good storm and keep safe!

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