Hey everyone, my name is Stuart Fuchs, and I’m a graduate of Music for People’s Musicianship and Leadership Program. I’m so very grateful that I chose to attend all four years of this amazing training program. I learned so much from David Darling and the entire Music for People community that I can honestly say I would not be doing what I’m doing today if not for the support and the real life training that I received at Music for People.
Since graduating from Music for People, I’ve toured the world a few times over playing concerts with kirtan artist Snatam Kaur, with my own gypsy jazz band. We’ve enjoyed successes that I never thought were possible. And it’s really the training that I received from Music for People that I really believe helped me to go forward into these projects with a different kind of attitude, an attitude of allowing, and not striving so much that I make myself and others miserable in the process.
I believe this is the last item on The Bill of Musical Rights. It states:
- In improvisation as in life, we must be responsible for the vibrations that we send to one another.
I found this principle to be so tremendously helpful. Just a few ways that it has shown up in my life is when I sit down to play. Prior to the Music for People training I wanted to be the best person in the room. Or show what I could do. And of course, we want to step forward with our best offerings. And there certainly are times of showing your stuff.
But it’s amazing how over years of applying these principles — it’s almost like a knee jerk reaction — when I sit down, I think “now how can I make space for someone else, how can I include somebody else.”
One of the ways that we can begin to apply this music making with others is when we sit down to play, offer something to the group that is simple, spacious and steady enough that it naturally draws people in to want to participate with you.
So let’s do this right now. Please join in. Please tap along. Hum or sing with your voice. Or even pick your instrument with me. I’d love it if you’d join in.
[Music 2:19 to 3:26]
Rather than … Save that for later when it’s my turn to step forward. It’s the knee jerk reaction to offer more space. I found that to be something that puts other people at ease and puts me at ease as well.
Applying this principle of being responsible for the vibrations we send one another is something that I had the honor of applying on a daily basis when I was working as an artist in residence at a cancer hospital in Buffalo, New York. I don’t live there or work there anymore, but for 8 years, I would visit patients, families, hospital staff, research facilities and I would play music on my ukulele, my guitar, my didgeridoo, my flutes and try to put a vibration out that lifts up the spirits in the room, that matches the vibration of the room as well.
There were many times when I entered a patient’s room and could sense that I was not in a hospital room as much as I was in someone’s personal, sacred, healing space. So I would always enter very gently and respectfully, with the music as well.
One day I was on the bone marrow transplant unit’s floor and there was someone who was exercising walking around the hall trying to get a half mile in every day. We made up a song together. I started to do this — I think its Fats Domino — “I’m walkin’…” The patient just lit up and he started making up his own verses.
Now if this patient had let me know with a hand gesture or just eye contact “No thank you”, that’s fine. I would have backed off immediately and not pushed it.
I think that is one of the ways that we can be responsible for the vibrations we’re putting in the world is to really be mindful of are we merging with the environment or are we forcing something and trying to manipulate it a little too much? Force never amounts to something as positive as allowing a situation to unfold naturally. At least in my experience I’ve noticed that to happen so many times that now I just trust it.
Thanks for listening me share about this. I love Music for People and I’m really honored to share just a little bit of my experience with how I’ve applied the principles of the program on a daily basis.
If you are interested in Music for People, I’d highly recommend checking out one of their weekend workshops or one of their longer intensive workshops. You’ll improvise. You’ll meet new friends. And you’ll accomplish things and do things you never thought were possible. I know it happened for me. So it could happen for you too.
It’s You! Thanks so much.