[Harp-L] Exhibitions/Competitions

I suppose I understand the value of competitions. I started playing music only after injury, size and skill hammered home the fact that I couldn't play Baseball, Soccer, sports at a level I wanted to. Competition is ingrained in me. When I play shows, I admit I approach it with an inner, unspoken competitive attitude and determination that this show will be one of the best shows an audience member will ever experience. For me music is, amongst other things, a sports substitute.

That said, music "competitions" always rubbed me the wrong way. I am so very thankful that the South Florida Blues Society's annual Harmonica "blow off" - "Room Full of Wind" or whatever they call the event, hosted by President Blues Bobby, is an exhibition and not a competition. That slight shift in focus makes all the difference, creating an event fostering a community of musicians willing to share insights and jam together. There's just a great festival atmosphere every year. Sure people get competitive, showing off what they can do, how they play, but it's not about proving anyone is "better," whatever that means. One player, Pixie  Ensign always brings in a cool Bass harp or wacky bagpipe air system that's just fun, innovative and harmonically cool. The last player, Jumpin' Jack Bluni, does his set then brings all of the harmonica players up for Wang Dang Doodle. Best thing is no one goes home angry at some judge or for any reason other than that they are a knucklehead who is never happy. 

I vote for more music Exhibitions, and less competitions.


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Clayton Goldstein

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