Become a part of an active local music community. If you can’t find one, create one. The support and challenges in collaboration have been essential to my growth as a musician. For me, a basement session started by veterans Kraig Jarret Johnson and Greg Wieczorek has become my weekly routine. There’s a reoccurring cast of characters, along with very special guests, and after two years I’m still hit with my fair share of delightful surprises and touching moments. These guys have it down. They’ve created a safe place on the edge of the meat packing district where traveling minstrels and local legends can casually entertain a low key invitation. It’s how one would imagine the musical heart of the city in its creative heyday. These nights remain unadvertised and always impressive.
There’s no pressure, it’s just for fun, and so it’s in this place you just may rediscover what this whole music making thing is all about. At a basic level, we need music as an escape from and a celebration of the crap life throws at us. At the same time, being involved in the business of music comes with its own stress. When we can find that place where experimentation finds open arms and all are just in for a good time then we can make even the darkest, tiniest basements creative epicenters. It’s sharing those kinds of moments too that reaches the most primitive of human needs: The need to be a part of a community.
Chances are, you attend something on the regular and you’re likely to join a new creative family. Whether it be an open mic or local jam, make sure you are challenged on a weekly basis, especially if there are no gigs in sight. Risk taking can be very refreshing for the player and audience alike, and if you’re in a familiar setting, you’re more likely to take a risk or two. You just may end up surprising yourself; I know I have. If you’re lucky, the musicians you meet will be more experienced than you, will teach and inspire you. It ends up feeling pretty good- musically rewarding and always a blast.
Karla Moheno is an indie rock artist, who recently released her debut album, ‘Gone to Town.’ You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.