Rock Out

In the “Rock Out” section of UNBORED‘s YOU chapter, we offer tips on everything from choosing an instrument to play, to forming a band, setting up a practice space, buying gear, and recording and editing music. (We also list the Best Ever Musical Movies and provide step-by-step instructions on building a cigar box guitar.) Elizabeth’s husband is a former music teacher and expert at all things musical, so we relied heavily on his advice. But I am the world’s worst musician. Though I enjoy playing the ukulele, I stink at it.

Not to worry! says Chelsey Johnson, who has been involved with Portland, Oregon’s Rock’n’Roll Camp for Girls for nine years. “Let yourself be bad,” she writes, in the “Rock Out” section. “You don’t have to be good to start a band, or to write songs. You learn by doing it.”

Page one of Chelsey’s UNBORED essay — click on image for larger version

With that excellent advice in mind, this past winter my sons (who had recently started taking guitar and bass lessons) and I learned a song — “Pumped Up Kicks,” by Foster the People — and performed it for friends.

We did not intend to record the event for posterity, but a 9-year-old friend made a video, and his mom posted it to YouTube. Here it is:

Not exactly amazing, right? But not terrible, either. The important thing is, it was a blast! PS: The folks sitting next to me and singing along are friends; so is the guy whose voice you hear counting out before the song starts.

And now for a much more polished music video — here are some friends of ours, whose band is called Belles Amies.