In GRACEFUL LIVING by Rodrigo Reijers1 Comment

We sit in a circle. I wait until the group is silent, and then we begin. First I shake my hands in the air and the kids join in automatically. Then we tap on our knees, soft, louder, soft again, we tap on our chests and cheeks. The kids focus to not miss a gesture and follow the dynamics joyfully. After a little while we end up tapping a pulse on our knees. It sounds quite groovy allready, and I see many smiles. ZZZZummm Zzzumm, tiggy tiggy boommm I sing, and invite the circle with a gesture to repeat. The group repeats it, still tapping the pulse on our knees. As we keep singing and zumming the groove deepens. We try some others sounds, longer phrases, shorter phrases, familiar sounds and strange sounds. We’re having fun and we are very concentrated at the same time. I make a gesture so part of the groups keeps singing, while the others layer another sound on top of it. The sound of a chicken for example? Why not? It sounds like music to us! We all come up with new sounds to play with. A little while later there is a whole group of kids grooving on their knees, clapping, singing 3 different parts, rythmically, melodically, dynamically in sync with each other. In sign language I make the band stop and  fortunately everybody is still focussed and we stop exactly on the one. For a few moments we look at each other as if we can still hear the echo of what we just did. Big smiles.happy-217089_1280

When I play or teach music, I am more interested in the intuitive and expressive side of musicality then in the technical or conceptual side of it. Can you feel the rythm? Can you tune in the group dynamic? Can you come up with ideas? do you feel free to express yourself? Can we have fun with this? These are the kind of questions I implicitly ask rather than: Can you read these notes? Can you do what you are told? Do you know the rules? did you develop your technique on your instrument? This can come later, after the fun of discovering your innate musicality is established.

I prefer to start playing music from and endlessly open free space, where all sounds are allowed to be music, and where those sounds playfully interact with other sounds in ways that just feels right in that moment. No need to think about how it is supposed to be, what is expected, and how it will be judged. When this worry falls away the musicality we all have can freely unfold, and we can be surprised by the music that comes out of us.

Too many times I have heard people say they would love to be able to play music, but they don’t have the talent for it. I don’t believe that. Off course some people have an extraordinairy talent, but I believe every healthy human being is gifted enough to enjoy making music, just like everybody can speak, read, write, walk, or ride a bicycle.  All we need to do is to snap out of our limiting belief systems and play. An instrument is not even nescessairy. Any sound can become music if we listen to it with an open mind, just like any shape, color and texture has a visual story to tell if we allow it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to meet sometimes in such a musical space, where we relax into an awareness that allows us to play with sounds and the energies they carry, making the sounds that make the sounds others make even feel better, and make all listeners feel better? Wouldn’t it be fun to sing some crazy sounds, and find the groove in it, and by doing so  invite others to not be shy and express their crazy and groovy side? Wouldn’t it be awesome to feel free and play together, totally relaxed and fully aware?

About the Author
Rodrigo Reijers

Rodrigo Reijers


Rodrigo Reijers is a musician, educator and Kambo practicioner. He now lives in Odense, Denmark. You can find some of Rodrigo's CD's on bandcamp. and more music here: soundcloud. On Vajrasound.com you can find dharmasongs Rodrigo recorded with Sascha Sellberg. You are welcome to contact Rodrigo about any of these activities: rodrigoreijers@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/rodrigoreijers

Featured image by Isabel Iglesias, Spain. Photo of boy from public domain.

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    Great article! I know Rodrigo from my work at the Muziekgebouw aan het Ij in Amsterdam, where we worked with children making music at computers an electronic instruments. He’s approach is great! He is a real improvisator, able to make music with nothing but his body and his voice.

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