Wild Blue Pixel
TIP OF THE DAY
Friday, April 8, 2011
I had a fight with my four year old son today. It wasn't a fair fight, he has a limited arsenal to fight with - but he used everything he had. I have ten times his experience to draw on and a finely honed sense of self control, but I blew it. I shouted at him. No, that's not quite right. I bellowed at him. He was very upset and rightly so - he doesn't have the vocabulary or the reasoning skills to explain to me what's wrong.
Both of us are feeling unwell due to ear infections, something we seem prone to, but that's no excuse on my part and reason enough on his. Luckily my wife and I make a great tag team. As I left the room to cool off, my wife came in and calmed everything down. I, on the other hand, needed a distraction, and just lately I've found myself noodling around on one of my kalimbas to relax. Once I had calmed down I thought, "I wonder when other people play their kalimbas and why."
I play the kalimba for a number of reasons. I like the way it sounds for a start. It's an intuitive instrument, by that I mean that it's pretty obvious how to play it, this doesn't mean it's a simple instrument like a tambourine or maracas. It's a small robust instrument and easy to have within reach all the time. But I think the main reason is that it is the most giving instrument that I have ever played. You have to do so little to get a wonderful sounding melody from it. I find myself playing it while my conscious mind is completely focussed elsewhere, but the act of doing so and the resultant sounds seem to smooth the path to where my mind wants to go.
I'm not a natural musician, and artists like Phil Collins and Billy Joel who can play and sing, seemingly without effort, leave me in awe. I've never played an instrument that didn't require full concentration to play, taking away some of the creativeness and enjoyment of playing it. But in the kalimba I've found an instrument I can play without concentrating fully on it, allowing me to feel where the tune wants to go or not concentrate at all and let the tune take me where it wants to go instead.
When and why do you play?