Although we didn't know it at the time, the idea for creating a neighborhood-based, all-ages music class began when two Brookline families (Guillemins and Lockwoods) attended Maine Fiddle Camp in the summer of 2012.
The week at Maine Fiddle Camp had to be experienced to be fully understood and appreciated. The music's driving beat and circular patterns energized dancers and engaged musicians of all inclinations and capabilities. The connection to foot-stomping, hand-clapping, sing-out-loud enjoyment was direct and inescapable. There were songs that touched on the full range of human emotions, from sad and forlorn to pensive, angry and humorous.
We also recognized that the music helped to build community by creating a shared experience and common purpose. The ethic was one of celebration and enjoyment. A person's talent and experienced mattered less than the goal of learning and growing. Overall, we were struck by the spirit of participation, acceptance, and support was shared by all.
We wanted to stay connected to and learn more from this musical tradition without waiting for the next summer. And why not? For generations, communities self-organized and hosted their own musical gatherings in barns, front porches, and living rooms.
Luckily, two instructors from Maine Fiddle Camp agreed to lead an ensemble of parents and their kids. By October, a six-session course was created, launching the Family Jam and a group of Brookline parents and their children, bringing a mix of skills and talents. The class surpassed everyone's expectations, opening a new path for families and neighbors to connect and learn together, creating a deeply fulfilling musical experience.
Since our beginning, we've organized a series of Family Jam group-classes every fall and spring season. With each year, we add to our repertoire, connect with more phenomenal instructors, and perform end-of-season public recitals. When the group performs publically, we vote on a band name and don matching t-shirts. So far, our two band names have been the Muddy River Ramblers and the Coolidge Chords.
We invite you to join us by gathering the family, picking up some instruments, and enjoying the new songs and people that you will discover on this musical journey.