When I was a boy, "gigging" meant going to a pond and spearing frogs with a long pronged implement called a gig. But musicians long ago adopted this word to refer to performances. "I have a gig on Friday," "I've been gigging a lot lately."

I've been gigging a fair amount lately, and how those opportunities arose is the subject here.

I was attending a "Positive Aging Luncheon" in Boulder, and I mentioned that I offer song-writing workshops. About a week later I got an email asking if I could do a workshop. Ten days later I did a workshop and brief performance after.

I strongly believe that everyone can express themselves in poetry, poetry has rhythm (usually), and with words and rhythm you have two of the three necessary elements of a song. I ask the participants to write five song titles, then we share. This always makes the point that songs can be about anything, literally. Then I ask them to choose the title that speaks to them the most and write a few lines that elaborate on that title. Then we share and learn a lot about our fellow participants. These are always experiences of happiness, sadness, humor, poignancy and hope. Then I get a volunteer to let us try to put music to the lyrics. We talk about mood (major/minor key), rhythm, and emotional tone. I illustrate various points with examples from my own songs.

The feedback I get from the participants: "Fun workshop,"" I didn't know I had it in me,"" Thank you for such a wonderful gift,"'I wish we had had more time." Of course, people don't come to a workshop on songwriting by accident. They come to the workshop open to possibility. My job is to mid-wife those possibilities.

Another example: I received an email inviting me to an engagement party for a friend's daughter and her intended husband. I ran into my friend a couple of days later and asked,"do you want some music for the party?" The result was a tailor-made after-dinner concert of songs meant to inspire the betrothed couple (do people still talk this way?) and also poke a little fun at the groom-to-be. The audience of about thirty was hanging on every word and moving to the beat. For a performer and songwriter, it doesn't get better than that. It also is something many people will remember about the party. Note that it all started with an established connection between friends. Nearly all of my gigs happen because I already have a relationship with the sponsor. I've learned to not be shy about what I offer and to assume that people might want what I have to give. So far this approach has led to just about the right number of gigs.

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