Drake Arganbright, 22 months old, and his mother Kenna get musical during The Music of Sound, a community sound jam held at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Saturday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
People of all ages had a chance to kick back and go with the flow Saturday in a collective sound jam at Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. Boston composer and saxophonist Ken Field guided The Music of Sound event, which was the first program in the 2013 Xcellent Music at AMoCA series.
The result of Saturday’s collaboration ran the musical gamut, featuring the sounds of people’s voices, hands and feet, traditional instruments like saxophones, guitars and violins and unorthodox tools like kazoos, combs, wax paper, bottles and cans.
Field, who has led about 10 sound jams, said the main goal is simply to “make interesting sounds happen.” He said that for musicians and non-musicians alike, a sound jam is a way to get people excited about their abilities to change their environment with sound, to “jump right in and make some music.”
“I believe in spontaneity. In my music, in my life,” Field said. “I think it’s a good skill to be able to jump into a situation and decide what to do instantly. We’re called on to do that all the time in our lives.”
Field said the value of acting spontaneously can be applied in “a situation as mundane as driving” or as “complex as deciding what to do career-wise,” and is an important skill.
“I think the idea is that you can participate in an event, that you don’t necessarily in all situations have to come to an event and watch it happen, you can actually make it happen,” he said. “I think that’s also an important thing for life — that you can jump in and get involved, and you don’t just have to watch the world go by.”
Home-schooled student Ema Arnold, 13, has been playing guitar for a year-and-a-half, and said she was excited to come to an event where “art and music are combined.”
“I like to play music and I like art, and it’s at a contemporary art museum with a lot of people playing music!” Arnold said. “I think it’s cool because you don’t need to have a lot of knowledge about what you’re doing to do it.”
Sue Wink, grant writer with AMoCA, said a big part of Saturday’s event was about making music in a place of art. “It’s timeless. Our whole goal with the excellent music at AMoCA was to bring the visual arts and the musical arts together because they compliment each other so well. So bringing beautiful music into a gorgeous gallery, that’s just wonderful.”
Jimmy Flores brought his daughter Arieona and son Elijah to the sound jam and said it was a neat experience to hear music while “surrounded by great art.”
“My son’s been getting involved with music and he wants to pursue it further in middle school and high school, so we’re here,” Flores said. “I think it’s a good time for people from all around the area to get together and share music. I think it’s a tremendous learning experience for my son, daughter and myself as well.”
Robert Mann, who teaches orchestra for five elementary school districts, said sometimes there’s no better teacher than yourself. “I know from improvisation, it’s nice that the students can’t really make a mistake. It gives them a chance to take the feeling that’s inside of them and express themselves.”
“I just think it’s really good for your self-development, your spiritual development,” he said. “You just feel good about yourself when you create things, whether it be music or other forms of art.”