Header Oct 2015
Band Instruments. Photo Credit Faye Hicks

Back in January of this year I wrote a post about being in a band and about how I was learning to play a tenor ukulele and an electric bass. 

Fast-forward 9 months – sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? It is long enough to birth a new human but is it enough time to learn to play a couple of musical instruments?

As it turns out, apparently it is. I can now say that I play electric bass and the tenor uke in our band ‘Four Corners‘.

Am I proficient? Well, now, that’s an entirely different question and the answer to that one is a resounding NO. And in fact, I may never become proficient at playing these instruments or any musical instrument, for that matter. But I do play them and I have fun doing it. 

We all have fun in our band. During practices we laugh when we play the wrong chords, we giggle when we forget words we’ve had memorized for weeks, and sometimes we even have to stop playing for a few minutes in order to compose ourselves enough to carry on. 

But we also work hard at what we’re trying to do.

We meet every week to practice. Unless one of us is sick or something really important crops up we get together, usually on Wednesday afternoons, and tackle the current list of songs that we’re learning. 

We work on our timings – our starting and ending together, for example – and we decide which instruments sound best for any particular tune, and we work out the vocal arrangements.

In our four-person band we all sing – sometimes one person leads while the rest join in on the choruses, sometimes we sing in pairs, sometimes we attempt three-part harmonies that surprisingly turn out not-too-badly most of the time, and other times we all sing together.   

We’ve been practicing regularly for one year this month, and our ‘sound’ has come a long way in that time – practice really does make a difference – who knew? LOL

When we formed our band we gave ourselves a year to become ‘good enough’ to play in public and this month marked our one year anniversary of being together. The time had come for us to ‘face the music’.

Four Corners 2015
Four Corners at August Potluck. Photo Credit Susan Sadoway

We did play in public once this summer when my brother, ‘Corner Les’, volunteered our band as entertainment at our beach’s August potluck event, and even though at the beginning I was nervous performing for friends and family, the butterflies quickly settled down as I concentrated on our tunes. And it was good to have that experience – I tried to think of it as a ‘live practice session’ rather than a real show, and that helped.

When we formed our band we knew that we wanted to play at nursing homes and seniors’ residences, perhaps with an occasional charity event thrown in along the way, and so this month ‘Corner Les’ contacted a couple of local seniors/nursing homes and the activity directors he spoke with were eager to book us to come in and entertain their residents.

We played our first venue yesterday afternoon at a local nursing home, and it was a rousing success. 

The common room was filled with people who really wanted to hear live music, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy what they heard. They sang along when they knew the words, they clapped to the beat when they didn’t know the words or no longer had the verbal skills to sing out loud, and they clapped heartily at the end of each song.

Four Corners. Photo Credit Faye Hicks
Four Corners. Photo Credit Faye Hicks

I was nervous again at the beginning, but my jitters quickly disappeared when I realized how much an afternoon of music meant to the people we were there to entertain, and I settled into playing and singing and being our band’s ‘mouth’ – announcing the songs, telling a couple of jokes and introducing band members: my brother – Corner Les, my sister – Corner Sharon, and my sister-in-law – Corner Faye. 

I’m happy to report that a great afternoon was had by all, and the activity director wouldn’t let us leave until she had booked us for repeat performances. Yay!

Of course repeat performances mean more songs for me to learn, so I’ll be keeping my electric bass plugged in and my tenor ukulele tuned. 

Oh – and did I mention that I also plan to learn to play guitar this winter? And did I mention that I may, perhaps, be certifiably insane because I want to learn to play another instrument?

Time alone will tell, and until then – the band plays on.

Thanks for dropping by, and remember, don’t be a stranger.

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16 thoughts on “And The Band Played On

  1. I am so impressed! First that you have all taken on this challenge to learn an instrument, and further that you are performing in your community. What a wonderful way to pay it forward! I used to take my dog, who was a therapy dog, to the local nursing homes and rehab centers to visit. It amazed me how excited the residents got at just that little contact when Gracie visited. They would even start having family members bring boxes of dog treats in to have for her when she came.
    I am not insinuating that The Four Corners are Golden Retrievers, or that they should be throwing milk bones at you in applause, but you are bringing them such joy ~ while bringing personal joy to yourselves. Good for you ~ and may the band play on!!

    1. Milk Bones would definitely be better than vegetables – especially if the veggies were still in cans!!! LOL
      But yes, you’re right about giving back to the community, and about ‘paying it forward’. It’s all too easy to forget about our seniors who are in nursing homes and who can no longer take part in events because of health, mobility or transportation issues.
      And you’re also correct in saying that it does bring my band members and I joy to know that we’re helping to brighten someone’s day, at least for a couple of hours.
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Carol.

  2. Excellent! I’m very proud, as most would be and you guys should be very proud of what you have decided to take on and give to your community some little thing that will give a great joy to those who can’t get out to enjoy the little things in life.👍🎤 🎶🎶🎶🎵🎶🌞

  3. Allan and I joke that it’s seniors entertaining seniors. It is fun and it is very rewarding to see how much the residents enjoy it. We’re far from professional but they don’t care.

    1. No, they seem to just love the interaction we provide them. And they really do enjoy live music, but then again, who doesn’t? 👍
      What type of music do you and Al do? I’ll have to go hear you next time you’re in town to perform. Let me know, okay?

  4. great writeup … in looking at that pic of the four of us, I’m reminded of something our cousin’s husband said when we announced we planned to play and entertain our local seniors – his reply was: “But you ARE our local seniors!” LOL … and he’s right – I never expected we would be doing this at the ‘latter’ end of our lives … but we have really finally just picked up the “family music mantle” 🙂 and you’re right – it is such a lot of fun, and also testament to how aging siblings can get along so well and have fun together ♥

    1. Well, I know that I’m enjoying this terrifying experience! And I think we do have fun, don’t we? And we’re giving something back to our local communities, which is a good thing. All in all, this is definitely one of Les’ best ideas yet! LOL

  5. I read a few years ago that learning to play a musical instrument in your older years is good for your brain. I told my husband that I wanted to learn to play the bagpipes but he doesn’t think they are a musical instrument!

    Anyway, good for you! Playing in public would terrify me.

    1. It kind-of terrifies me, too, but is SO worth it in the end, I think. “Face my fears”, right?
      And I’m sure your husband could grow to love the bagpipes if his lovely wife was the one playing them. 🙂

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