Eight lessons in. Where are the carols?
I've been playing carols every day in December. I've played them in churches and chapels; in school halls, church halls and masonic lodges; outside supermarkets and inside railway stations; on street corners and in town centres. I've played them on the piano, the organ, the accordion and the baritone. I've even strummed a few chords on the guitar.
Last night, whilst playing carols at my new band's Christmas party, I was reminded about one big part of banding: children. Their eyes just seen over the music stands, their feet not reaching the floor as they sit up straight on adult seats. The training band were invited up to play at the interval, their proud parents videoing them as they played in public for the first time. Those children have yet to realise that the concert nerves will never leave them, that they're being trained on how to live with them. They'll learn that even if something scares you, you can still go ahead and do it.
I've seen many children grow up through bands.
There's something very special about a process that begins with you pointing out the place in the music to a child sitting on your right, and ends a few years later with a young adult sitting on your left shyly giving you hints on how to improve your technique. As I tried to imply yesterday, it's not about being the centre of attention, it's about being part of something bigger.
Whilst I'm on the topic, I should mention playing in a trio with my own children every Christmas. They've enjoyed it over the years. I think they'll have to have their own children to appreciate just how special that really is.