Back to the Living Room

Last week was busy with a lot of time spent away from home. Two days were spent with my ministry colleagues and the officers for our region at a retreat center near Beanblossom, Indiana. We had a lot to talk about, and they were important conversations.
A board meeting for our region two months earlier had not gone as expected, and more than a few would say it had not gone well. The result left all of us confused, and nobody knew what to say or to whom to say it.
We could have attempted those conversations in a conference room, but we chose a living room setting instead. It may just be me, but I don’t think we could have had a conversation as deep or as successful in the conference room. Something about the relaxed nature of the living room made those conversations possible.
The same relaxed atmosphere makes music a different experience in the living room than it is in the studio or on stage. In the studio, musicians, engineers and producers try to capture an experience that’s as close to perfect execution as possible. Performers get to attack the same piece or portion over again until it comes out just the way they want it captured. The communication of the music is remote.  The recorded project will be stored and distributed for folks that have no connection to or knowledge of the studio, months or years removed from the notes played and sung.
On stage, sharing the musical experience is direct and real-time but one-way.  Everybody sharing the experience is there, but the experience primarily flows from performers to audience. The experience is generally well-staged and well-rehearsed on the part of the performers.
In the living room, though, the atmosphere is casual and the experience is spontaneous. Everyone in the room, whether they sing, play, listen, clap hands or tap toes, is directly involved in the experience. Words are forgotten; chords are missed to be sure. At the same time, magical moments happen, exhilarating passages and phrases experienced and left behind to be fondly recalled some later time, but never recreated.
The living room creates the environment for those magical moments and those precious memories. The stage, the studio and the conference room have their place and serve their function well. To truly help people connect, though, in music or in conversation, it’s hard to beat the living room.