It’s time for another front porch concert! This event—the TJC Spring Jam and Recital—will be the sixth Front Porch concert I’ve hosted (I think), and I’ve learned quite a bit from the others, including the last Spooktacular.
This year marks the third Spring Jam, which has become a popular event with my private music students. These front porch concerts started out as a way for my buddy John and me to play gigs during The Age of The Virus, when nobody was open for live music. I realized that if I wanted to play in front of a live audience, I’d have to circumvent the hysteria and become the venue and talent.
Gradually, the concept morphed from a self-indulgent concert into a recital for my private music students. The Lord has really blessed me—far beyond what I deserve—with a large clientele of private music students (around twenty-two at the time of writing, working out in practice to anywhere from twenty-to-twenty-four lessons a week), so it made sense to offer a couple of recital opportunities a year for them.
Rather than go through the hassle and expense of booking some venue, I figured, “hey, why not take a good thing and make it better”? The kids and their families seem to prefer the more laidback approach. It’s hard to get nervous playing in front of an audience when it’s on a tiny front porch and everyone is eating hot dogs.
I take up a “suggested donation” of around $10 per family, though it is completely optional. Many families donate more, while others bring baked goods or dishes for the potluck. I do sell some t-shirts and other merchandise, but I’ve gradually shifted away from making the Spring Jam and the Spooktacular moneymaking endeavors. They typically break even or have a minor loss (usually less than $100), but that’s a small price to pay for putting on a good party and giving my students a chance to play.
After my sister-in-law complained (subtly) about the paint-based activities for kids, I’ve decided to scrap the birdhouse painting contest in favor of a LEGO building contest. I picked up a massive set of random pieces for $30 (half-off!), and I’m going to let the kids’ imaginations run wild. That should be a fun and clean activity, and I’m going to hold it inside my den (I don’t want to lose precious LEGO pieces in my lawn!).
Another change: instead of having the recital and then John and I jamming for an hour afterwards, I’m going to weave in our songs, and substantially shorten that portion of it. We should be able to get everything done in under two hours, which gives everyone plenty of time to get home at a decent hour.
A full review is to come! In the meantime, rock on!
6 thoughts on “Gig Day VII: TJC Spring Jam III”
Sounds fun and I’m glad you get to enjoy that. I’ve got to admit that I miss “playing out” in casual pickup venues.
Two of my coworkers and I did that most evenings for 9 months straight on the veranda/patio of our hotel in Cairo a LOT of years ago. It was fun as all get out, especially after some local musicians started joining in.
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Very cool, dude! I didn’t know you spent time in Egypt. Sounds like a blast.
The kids played really well, and we did some impromptu group numbers. It was a really good night.
Impromptus are, IMHO, the best part. No matter where I’ve been in the world, people just hopping in to the music has always made me as happy as my sort can get. It kind of makes some of the crap seem like it did some good.
But yeah, I lived/work in Egypt for a little over 9 months. But then, aside from Europe, Russia (Was allowed to be on the project), and Antarctica (turned down the job) , I’ve been most places and just about every conflict or recent conflict zone. Brought my harp to all of them just to keep a grip on my sanity.
As a teacher, I’m sure you understand the need for “music therapy.”
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There is something really magical and fun about musicians just hopping in together and “figuring it out” live.
Music therapy is very real. Music will keep you sane in the most dire of situations. That’s why slaves sang spirituals and the J6 political prisoners sing the National Anthem.
You’d have needed that harp had you taken the Antarctica gig! That’s a bit too close to John Carpenter’s _The Thing_ for my tastes.
It more a problem of being trapped on a research vessel with professors and their grad students! That’s a soap opera then doesn’t end well.
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Hahaha, oh, man. Yeah, better to avoid that drama. Yikes!