Friday, March 9, 2012

Playin with the Band

A very exciting development, and part of the reason I've been blogging a bit less frequently, is that a long dry spell in my musical life has ended. For a couple of months now I've been in a band that plays groovy old songs and some originals, and they've even learned to play with me some traditional Zimbabwean mbira music. My bandmates are mellow, warm, smart, talented people, and for the first time in years I again have an outlet for that part of my personality that loves to perform and play music.

Now Florian and I haven't really had guests for a couple of years, in order to protect our friends from the maelstrom of tongues and paws and canine intensity that is our house. But the band needed a place to rehearse, and were forewarned, and still expressed an interest in meeting here once a week.

What began as a challenge has become a great opportunity for socialization, desensitization, and impulse control training. Fozzie, who has always been scared of shakers, is learning that they won't hurt him. He's learning that rather than launch on all the cool friendly people, he needs to sit before they'll pet him. He's learning that when Mom says Go to Bed or Stay, she means it--even when way more enticing alternatives are present in the form of a bunch of dog lovers standing around in his living room.   

I generally still have to just have him on a leash attached to my waist for most of the rehearsal, for fear of him knocking over someone's guitar when I'm not paying attention for a moment. But he's getting to where, after they've been here an hour or two and he's emotionally exhausted from the excitement, I can let him off leash for periods of time and trust that he won't launch. 

The whole thing feels like good practice for both of us in learning and enforcing boundaries. 

Who would have thought that band practice would double as dog training class? I am lucky that deadheads tend to be such a mellow, dog-loving bunch. 


  1. What a neat thing! So happy for all of you. You'll have to let us have a little video sampling of your music.

  2. How nice that you can do something you enjoy while including the dogs and the fact you can add training to the mix is the best part.

    I find the dogs are sometimes more tired after we've had people over than if I'd walked them for half a day. There is something to be said for stimulating them emotionally. :-)

  3. Sounds like a win-win for everyone! Awesome!

  4. That's so great! Dog training AND a creative outlet. I've slowed up blogging a little bit too cos I've been rediscovering my creative side (post on that coming soon...!) It hasn't provided me with quite such good training opportunities but has had some knock-on effects especially when it comes to enforcing house rules, both old and new.

  5. Love it when dogs get trained accidentally and organically :)

    What is Zimbabwean mbira music like and how did you learn it? Sounds interesting.

  6. Haha! Sounds like our house: Sure, come on over, but be forewarned. You might have five dogs on your lap at once!

    Congrats on the musical adventures. Sounds like a lot of fun, especially when a bunch of like-minded people can get together and be creative!

  7. dude, that is awesome. mbira music is beautiful - you should let us hear a recording!!

  8. Oh well done! Sounds like you all had a great time getting together.

    So paws up who wants to hear some of your music? 4 sets up here!

    Have a great weekend
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  9. Can't wait to see you guys play. I have a feeling shakers and spinners do not bother Sandy in the least. :-)


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