open stage

The open stage in my song writing class has never worked as well as it does this year. It’s because Magali had the answer for my questioning of why not enough students sign up. She said make it compulsory. I do think it is more considerate as a voluntary thing or I just like the idea of it being their choice, but dammit they’re all chickenshits. So was I back then. They say Uncle Ray’s father taught him to swim by throwing him into the lake. Not my instincts but apparently all his life Ray swam ok. Zayda Herb, my grandfather, Ray’s dad, didn’t play an instrument as far as I know, but he sang some snippets we kids loved to hear him recite and we imitated him and decades afterward I taught them to my daughter. She likes playing the open stage at the Tranzac via Zoom Monday nights. She’s done it three times. I tell the students the reason we have an open stage, the reason why I expect them to play in front of people a few times, whether a cover or an original, whether a song or spoken word, is because something happens when you do it in front of people. I can’t explain it too well, I just know it happens and is gold if in fact you believe yourself to be a song writer. Sometimes it’s just being in a room with all those people and before you even start to sing you know something about your song that you didn’t know before when you were alone in your room. Sometimes you realize this won’t work like I thought it would or this is going to be great or sometimes you are doubtful but it turns out to have a value for others you didn’t anticipate and sometimes you think you made something hot and it turns out everyone prefers talking about a baseball game while you are spilling the guts you thought so heavy.

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