You can go home again!

Almost 19 years ago, I deepened my experience of freely improvised music with Paul Winter in a Living Music Village held at Omega. This past weekend he offered a shorter and similar workshop in Virginia. Again he kindled something profound in me, and an appreciation for how important it is to help others rediscover their innate spontaneous expression.  I truly enjoyed all the ways we all made music, even those who had no musical training. Given attentive listening, satisfying music can be made with 3 or 4 people without uttering one word of instruction or planning.

This idea has expanded in my experience to include all modes of expression. Viewing a sunset across a Virginia valley delivered such a profound experience that I wondered the next morning if perhaps there was a poem there. “Exquisite Sunrise” is presented elsewhere on this blog.

When I shared my belief that the medium of expression really doesn’t matter, it struck something in Paul. He said this was the opposite of what communication theorist Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” In my experience, to express what happens at any given moment, any medium of expression is fine. The Now can be expressed in music, words, dance, visual art, photography, or just in appreciative silence, alone or with others. The mere act of noticing and paying attention is enough.

After 3 days of guiding us in improv sessions, Paul Winter shares a smile with a fellow reed player.

After 3 days of guiding us in improv sessions, Paul Winter shares a smile with a fellow reed player.

It is around this idea that Players of Now seeks to form. May you have many moments when you can play with the Now!


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.

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