Tuesday, July 02, 2013
The Somewhat Organized Hancock Update
Unorganized Hancock has kept their nose to the grindstone in the weeks since they posted their last video. They're going to be performing at the Skowhegan River Fest in Skowhegan, Maine on Sunday, August 4th, outdoors at the Pickup Cafe from 10 AM to noon. The River Fest runs for six days, with lots of stuff to do.
I've never been to Skowhegan, though I once built a McDonald's restaurant there. It's easier to build a restaurant over the phone than you might imagine. That was back when I lived in Massachusetts, and Skowhegan looked like the end of the Earth on the map to my eye. Now it's just an hour and fifteen minutes or so from my house, and it's mostly east, not north. They have one of Maine's notable rivers, the Kennebec. We of course have the Androscoggin in our back yard, and so are a bit haughty about other people's second-rate rivers. But the Kennebec will have to do.
We've purchased a pop-up awning tent to keep the boys in the shade while they're playing, and to repel any surprise showers. We've had 144 surprise showers in the last 10 days, so it's always something to think about. We're adding a bench seat to the back of my big work van so we can all travel to Skowhegan together with all the boys' equipment. We are still unsure if we're required to paint the van in a Mondrian motif if we're going to travel around like that.
I have often told my readers that I have a lot less to do with my children's musical education than is commonly assumed. I offer them encouragement, but they mostly do it themselves. There are no raps on the knuckles with rulers while they play scales all day. But there has been one aspect of their education that I have stressed: They are being prepared to work as musicians. This is something I do know something about. Music instruction in schools consists solely of preparing you to become a music teacher. All the self-organized bands the kids form start nowhere and go noplace, almost by design.
Here's the usual plan:
A. Form band
C. Rock stars!
Life doesn't work that way. You need to find places to play, and audiences to entertain, and find a way to charge to play at these places. Simply learning to play isn't half of the music business, and honestly, most never even get that far. They learn two-thirds of some song no one wants to hear, and then give up. You have to amuse the audience. That concept -- you're supposed to entertain the audience, not yourselves -- is not just overlooked by 99 percent of potential musicians, it's an entirely alien idea to them. It's old hat to my boys.
I've never been more pleased with The Heir than when he took all the evidence he has of Unorganized Hancock's activities and capabilities and sent it out to the organizers of this, and other venues in Maine that they might be appropriate for. That's difficult work. It's starting to pay off. They've been tentatively scheduled for a much larger show than Skowhegan as well, but we don't count our chickens until the ink is dry, to mix our metaphors. More news ahead.
The Heir acted like a pro, because that's what he's become. They are still just children -- one of them is barely ten -- but they act like responsible adults. My wife and I are dreadfully proud of them.
We're immensely grateful to all my readers for their support and encouragement of the little fellers over this last year or so. They'll be performing using equipment that we never could have afforded to purchase for them except for the generous donations to their tip jar up there in my right hand column.
My older son already plays three instruments better than I ever did, and sings better, too. The younger one plays the drums better than I can already, too, and is twice as charming as I've ever managed. How can they fail?