al fresco music lessons and practice (what do you do in your park?)

We were walking through Prospect Park in Brooklyn one twilight evening when we heard the mellow sound of saxaphones reverberating “a capella” through the trees. We came upon two men standing in a leafy clearing. We stopped to listen, then asked where they were from. The confident man strolling slowly with his alto soprano sax had been a professional musician in Africa and was teaching his friend to play, in the park, where no neighbors would be disturbed. His friend tentatively played notes scribbled on a religious pamphlet propped on the side of his case; the title of his tune “Music in the Air”…

…We love discovering the many possible uses people think of for New York’s public parks: like writing, and sleeping, and picnicking, and memorizing lines, and juggling, and clearing your head and… practicing an instrument…

…in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, African drummers spend Sunday’s drumming, for hours. The Last Poets, widely considered to be the precursors of hip-hop, used that park as their rehearsal space in the late sixties…

You can listen to some of their music here

hypnotizing while improvising is mentally appetizing” (from Jazzoetry)…

Thanks Reggie!

4 Responses to al fresco music lessons and practice (what do you do in your park?)

  1. Jeannie 06.16.2010 at 10:25pm #

    A neighbor who teaches fiddle just invited us to attend an afternoon picnic “concert” for fiddlers. She divided the afternoon up into times for beginners, intermediate players, older timers, Celtic, and then ends the day with Swing, jazz, and klezmir. This “music in the air” will be played in the beautiful green, tree-filled cemetary in our neighborhood.

  2. Sally 06.16.2010 at 11:19pm #

    What a completely wonderful idea. I wish I would beam myself there…

  3. Lena 06.18.2010 at 3:24am #

    In China people are making music all the time in parks, sometimes a sole musician, often groups who together practize singing, accompanied by some instruments. It’s mostly nice although sometimes it can be annoying if they are really bad. And sadly there isn’t much variety. But overall I still like it and it gives people a place to do sth. like that, especially retired people, since most Chinese people don’t have big apartments.

  4. Jeannie 07.04.2010 at 10:34am #

    This is an addendum to my earlier comment on an event in our local cemetery. I think this is a touching story.

    The Fiddle Jam/Picnic was in honor of Louis Southworth (1829-1917), who is buried in this cemetery. Southworth was a black fiddler who lived in Oregon before the Civil War. He was born a slave, brought to Oregon as a slave, and was sent by his master to work the gold mines in southern Oregon, California, and Nevada. He found that he was more successful as a fiddler in the mining camps than as a miner, so much so that he was able to buy his freedom by earning money playing music.

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