Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pack an Instrument...

Not a lot of piano's came across the US with the pioneers!  Nor were there a lot of full sized harps...tubas...or other large instruments being played around the campfires.  Most of the instruments that were brought across the US...out of necessity had to be small enough to carry wherever they needed to go.

While many of us have put together an emergency evacuation bag of some sort to last for the short term...had you considered that in a severe disaster...your family could have to be relocated long term...or even indefinitely?  If such became the case for your family...there is a good chance that you could find yourself looking for ways to increase your morale...and the morale of those around you.  Music is one of the best ways to help people to forget their troubles and to find a common bond.

Years ago on New Years family was on a train heading back from Montana to California.  While we traveled back...the tracks were so covered with snow...that the train had to stop overnight and wait for the tracks to be cleared.  When everyone found out that we would be stuck on the train for New Years...there were some pretty darned disappointed people.  One woman exclaimed "I'm a professional jazz singer!  I've got a concert tonight that thousands of people will be at!!"  There was  bit of a commotion as people related where they were supposed to be that night...and what a hardship it would be to stay overnight. Someone had a guitar and said..."Hey...let's make the best of this...let's go up to the dining car and play some music and have fun!  Anyone have some instruments?!"  One person said..."I have a flute!"...another said "I've got a clarinet!" and a few others had various instruments.  

In the dining car people gathered from all walks of life.  Initially it was kind of awkward as we tried to become comfortable with strangers.  We tried to figure out some songs that we all might know.  After a bit of warming up to each other...we sang everything from Simon and Christmas Led showtoons.  Classical violins played along with rock guitars.  Name a genre...and we played it.  This may sound funny was one of the most meaningful and memorable nights of my life.  By far the best New Years I've ever had!  
If you want to have music be a part of your emergency are a few things to consider...

It could/should be...

1. Small enough to pack.  
2. Durable.  
3. Complicated enough to give one pleasure in learning...but not so complicated that one can't master it.  
4. Can be played loudly for others to enjoy or softly to practice or not bother others or attract attention.  

 A few instruments to consider are...

1.  A flute.  I like one made by a company called Choroi.  The pentatonic one is simple and a good choice for someone with no experience.
2.  Harmonica
4.  Pennywhistle

I'm sure there are plenty of others that would work great. One could even consider having slightly larger instruments like a Ukulele.  Just understand that they aren't as easy to transport. Lark in the Morning carries wonderful instruments from all over the world that could really expand your musical horizons.

Don't forget too...the value of your singing voice!  You carry it wherever you go and it doesn't weigh anything!  A great addition to your longer term emergency bag is a mini hymnal (if you can still read that small)...or other books of songs to sing.

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