There IS a Cure for the Summertime Blues
“There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” says a rock anthem by Eddie Cochran, also famously recorded by Blue Cheer and The Who.
With the traditional school year wrapping up, many high school and college students will spend summer working at unexciting jobs or just being bored and restless. For aspiring musicians and composers, I’d like to offer some ways to get closer to your goals.
• START A GARAGE BAND. Once upon a time (all right, I’m dating myself), there were garage bands on every block. Not so much anymore. Engaging with other musicians in your neighborhood and doing a little jamming is fun, not to mention that friendly competition can motivate you to sharpen your skills.
• PRACTICE OUTDOORS. I can truthfully tell you that my parents never had to nag me to practice my drums. Music was my passion and they probably wished that I had been more passionate about pulling weeds or taking out the trash. But on nice days, who wants to practice indoors? I used to set up my drum kit in a canyon where I could play loudly AND experience the great weather and scenery. Naturally, if you plan to play an instrument outdoors, be considerate of the neighbors and local noise ordinances.
• CHECK OUT YOUR PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT. Many cities and towns have free or inexpensive summer music classes or workshops in community centers or teen centers.
• VOLUNTEER AT A MUSIC FESTIVAL OR MUSICAL THEATER. Working in the box office, ushering, selling refreshments, etc. can be opportunities to meet others who are interested in music, fulfill community service requirements for school or just take in some free entertainment.
• WATCH MOVIES ABOUT MUSICIANS.
Some are more realistic than others, but here are a few of my favorite movies that show the highs and lows of being a musician:
“A Hard Day’s Night” (rated G), “That Thing You Do!” (PG), “Drumline” (PG-13), “Ray” (PG-13), “Grace of My Heart” (R), “Almost Famous” (R), “The Blues Brothers” (R).
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry … You’ll hear some great soundtracks!
And although it’s not a movie “about musicians,” per se, “Fantasia 2000” (G) matches classical masterpieces, performed by the wonderful Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with gorgeous Disney animation. I especially recommend this film for anyone who is interested in scoring music for film.
• MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SUMMER!
Whatever you do, remember that summer doesn’t last very long.
Stay busy, stay positive and enjoy every moment.