Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: leafeater on November 19, 2013, 04:30:08 PM

Title: Family Band?!
Post by: leafeater on November 19, 2013, 04:30:08 PM
I am really over a barrel!

My mom is psyched to have everyone (me, my husband, and my sister) coming home this Thanksgiving, and she's expressing it by planning all kinds of activities for us to do. It started with going to a movie and playing some board games. Now things are starting to get a little further from normal.

A couple days ago, my mom emailed everyone saying how fun it would be if we each brought an instrument and learned a few songs, then recorded a video of ourselves for the extended family. The email included suggestions of what instruments each person might play. Some made sense, like me on the piano (I can handle a simple tune). Others, like my sister on the guitar that she hopes to buy that weekend and hasn't yet learned to play, were a little more out there. But she had enough suggestions that we could potentially make it work.

For the record, I don't think there's anything objectively wrong with this idea. I don't really want to do it because I'm a little camera shy, but I don't mind that much. The problem is that my husband REALLY doesn't want to. She has him pegged to be the vocalist, and though he hasn't said anything to her, he's telling me he won't do it. He's not comfortable with it.

My question is, how do I best handle this? I don't want to tell my mom, "oh, Husband won't do it," because that singles him out. I'm thinking of telling her I won't do it and taking the fall for him, but that might hurt her feelings. I feel like such a bad sport, but I think if he doesn't want to perform on camera, he shouldn't have to. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: mspallaton on November 19, 2013, 04:35:09 PM
If you're mostly comfortable with it - why not suggest that he be the director, conductor or cameraman?  It doesn't sound, at first glance, like your mom is intending to make anyone uncomfortable with her idea - just have a good time.  Hopefully that means she'd be open to a behind the scenes role for your hubby.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: AvidReader on November 19, 2013, 04:52:45 PM
That is correct.  If he doesn't want to perform on camera, he gets a pass.  If this is family time for you and you all have fun, knock yourselves out having a blast.  Personally, my family would never come up with something like this, and if they did, I'd be on the credits as the music director....in other words, I wouldn't want to be caught dead on camera.  If your DH is this way, perhaps when the credits roll, he too can be the music director.   ...all he has to do is set up the chairs....and stand behind the camera holding the cue cards to the songs.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Oh Joy on November 19, 2013, 04:59:50 PM
Can you suggest that it would be fun to have some musical time, but just not record it?
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: camlan on November 19, 2013, 05:25:28 PM
I'd contact the other members of the proposed band and see what the general feeling is. If everyone wants to do it, that's one thing. If everyone is just willing to go along because they don't want to upset your mom, maybe Mom should be told that no one really wants to do the band thing.

Honestly, I wouldn't want to have a holiday weekend that's packed with mandatory "fun" things to do. A few, sure. But it sounds to me as if your mother is starting to go overboard a bit--I mean, your sister doesn't have the guitar yet, but she's supposed to learn how to play it in just a couple of days, to the point where she can play songs on it and be recorded playing it? I'd try steering Mom in a different direction.

And if everyone else does want to do the band thing and your DH doesn't, then I think he gets two choices--be singled out, or participate. I see nothing wrong in being singled out. My family does lots of crazy stuff that I don't do. I sit on the sidelines and run for beer and am an appreciate audience. That's my choice and there's nothing wrong with it.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: MOM21SON on November 19, 2013, 05:38:50 PM
I wouldn't say anything about him not wanting to do it.  He may very well get there and decide to join the fun.  As the saying goes, Let the chips fall.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: mime on November 19, 2013, 06:54:40 PM
If your DH is anything like my Dad, this suggestion would have him stressed out for the next week in horrible anticipation of what he'll be expected to do. My DH on the other hand would be rehearsing!

I myself can't help but picture this being something embarassing a few years from now (think of awkward family photos website). I'm a bit camera-shy myself and I'd try to encourage some candid photos to send to the out-of-town family, and maybe skype to see each other live.

Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: MummySweet on November 19, 2013, 07:00:21 PM
I too think you should just let the chips fall where they may.   People surprise you.

But do have to ask, am I the only one who now has visions of a multi-colored school bus and strains of "C'mon Get Happy" on the brain? 
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: blarg314 on November 19, 2013, 09:06:40 PM
If you're the vocalist you're pretty much the centre of attention so I can see why he'd flinch from that in particular.

I'd just tell your mom straight out that your DH doesn't want to perform for the camera, but is willing to do the filming.

I will say that the activity sounds excruciating, and I participate in musical groups for fun. A bunch of people who have never played together before, including musicians on the level of "planning to buy a guitar but doesn't know how to play it yet" trying to do a couple of songs together? I suspect it's going to break down in atonal chaos, and the video might be entertaining but not from a musical perspective.  :o

Out of curiosity, does your Mom have sheet music for you guys? Because just picking a song isn't going to go very far unless the musicians are pretty good. At a minimum, you need to be able to sound out a tune by ear, (or work out chording for a stringed instrument) and be able to make sure you're all in the same key.

Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: HGolightly on November 19, 2013, 09:34:42 PM
I have played and taught guitar for many years and stringed instruments are very hard to master overnight for even the simplest songs. Maybe if your poor hubby can film and the rest of you bang out a tune like they do on Jimmy Fallon. YouTube it, they play modern songs on kiddie instruments. Very cool and hilarious.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: esposita on November 19, 2013, 10:00:38 PM
Buying a guitar over the weekend, and learning a song well enough to record it?!  ???

I'd not give this another thought. I mean, unless your family has some mad impromptu musical skillz, this project is probably going to fizzle out and end before it even gets started.

ps. No offence to you! Its entirely possible that you can pull this off... maybe you're the next Von Trapps. But I'm not getting that feeling from what you've written?  ;)
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Luci on November 19, 2013, 10:40:10 PM
Lucas has/had a very talented family. His mother once tried to make a film such as yours, but after some of us balked, the approach became, "We want to have a family talent show for Christmas Eve. Do you want to perform?" It worked a lot better than a command performance.  We had a couple of instrumental solos - piano and viola, as I remember, and Great Uncle playing the piano with the little ones singing along for two songs and an aunt chiming in a bit. I think the audience was panned a while we all sang Away in a Manger, so we got everyone's picture on film. It was a really cool evening, no one felt pressured, Grandma was happy and only slightly disappointed, and no one was uncomfortable.

Worked for us. It was a long time ago, and now I have no clue where the film is.

Just a suggestion for another approach. 
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: TootsNYC on November 19, 2013, 10:53:44 PM
You can also advocate for DH without throwing him under the bus:

"Mom, it's not fair to DH to force this on him. Let's just all do what we're comfortable with."

I learned to play a very simple song on the guitar in only a few very hours (It was church camp: "Father, I Adore You," which is D - A - G chords, which are the easiest, and three simple lines--all identical, because it was a round). But I don't know that I was all that terribly smooth.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: English1 on November 20, 2013, 03:53:07 AM
How abut pointing out to Mum that it's unrealistic to expect people to do this without it ending up sounding hideous and embarrassing. You can't learn an instrument in a few days - if you were all talented, experienced musicians, fine, you probably could pick up just enough of a new simple instrument to do a basic melody, but if you aren't...no hope.

I'd suggest she buys a bunch of cheap plastic kazoos instead and you all have a laugh messing about with those - anyone can do something with them and it might actually be fun. You may even be able to get a song together to be worth filming so the listeners find it funny and entertaining, instead of excruciating.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Margo on November 20, 2013, 04:21:23 AM
I think it would be incredibly rude of anyone to pressure your DH (or anyone else who is reluctant) into taking part in something like this.

My response would depend a little bit on the personalities involved. If this is going to be something your DH is going to worry about, I think in fairness to him, you or he need to say to your Mom, now "It's an interesting suggestion, although I'm not sure recoding it when we are all so inexperienced is a good idea - but it's really not my/DH's thing so while he/we will be happy to watch, he/we won't be performing"

And if she tries to push it, something such as "it's not everyone's idea of fun, and it's not kind to try to force people to do things they don't feel comfortable with."

If your DH is not going to be too stressed between now and then, hen I would be inclined to say something now, but keep it vaguer "I'm not sure that that's going to work, given, our musical abilities, and you may find not everyone wants to join in" and then see how things go on the day. But in that case, be ready to back DH up when he declines to participate on the day.

(I have to say, for me, I would have no problem with a sing-song with my immediate family, if any of them wanted to do that. I would absolutely not, under any circumstances, want it to be recorded and sent to people who were not there. Does your DH have a problem with the signing/playing, or with the recording? Because if it is the recording then it may be worth suggesting to your Mom that you stick to enjoying each other's company, and perhaps making some music together, but stick to taking a family photos to send to extended family .)
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: lmyrs on November 20, 2013, 07:45:24 AM
The other thing to consider is that even if you all sound beautiful and together in the living room, if there aren't mics, amps, a really good quality video camera to pick up the sound and some sort of post-production mixing software (even a free home-based one) it's not going to sound as good on tape. It will likely sound kind of bad.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: *inviteseller on November 20, 2013, 07:48:22 AM
Oh, I am so thankful my family only wants to eat on the holidays!   ;D ;D  No one should be forced into doing something they are uncomfortable with and you should be honest with your mom and tell her that it won't work for your DH. 
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: jaxsue on November 20, 2013, 10:36:20 AM
OP, I feel your pain. I grew up in a family where music - and only a certain type of music - was valued. As a result, all 6 of us kids were expected to take up an instrument (with limitations; no guitars or drums per our religious beliefs). So, cue many years later, there are still expectations that we perform on command. I am the black sheep and quit all that many years ago. Amazingly, I am 52 and the pressure is still there! Stay strong....just say no.  >:D
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 20, 2013, 11:07:03 AM
I was the performer in my family.  Church choir, school show chorus, drama, etc.  This type of thing would have mortified my parents and brother.  They are just not into performing in front of people.  Even though I was the performer, I was not comfortable performing on command.  I usually needed to rehearse and prepare.

Has your mother even heard your DH sing?  Can he sing?  I might want to say to Mom "You know, DH feels really uncomfortable doing this.  He's going to pass/film behind the scenes/etc.

As far as your sister learning guitar in 8 days.  That's a stretch.  She might be able to pluck out "Mary Had a Little Lamb" or something else that is very simple, but anything else is unlikely.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: PeterM on November 20, 2013, 11:30:07 AM
A couple days ago, my mom emailed everyone saying how fun it would be if we each brought an instrument and learned a few songs, then recorded a video of ourselves for the extended family.

I can wrap my head around the idea of someone, somewhere in the world, thinking this would be fun. I'm having a harder time with the concept of that person actually expecting other people to agree it'd be fun. It hits me, personally, about like someone proposing "Family Dental Checkup Day!" as a fun holiday activity.

I think you should tell your mom as soon as possible, so it doesn't turn into "Everything was going fine until you ruined it at the last minute!" It's up to you whether to take the blame or just say your husband isn't into it but you're game, but I'd go with the latter. If your mom will be upset by the fact that not everyone wants to perform on camera to meet her whims, that's her problem rather than yours.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Julsie on November 20, 2013, 12:05:03 PM
Quote
It hits me, personally, about like someone proposing "Family Dental Checkup Day!" as a fun holiday activity.

Yeah, we just celebrated this on Monday.  It was not fun.  The extended family couldn't make it.  It was just me and six of my children.  The dentist gave out gold coins for his prize machine and gift bags of toothbrushes and dental floss.

Heaven help me, we'll be celebrating again in the spring, sometime around Easter.  This time Family Dental Checkup Day will include Mommy's Mimosa Luncheon.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: leafeater on November 20, 2013, 01:06:47 PM
I spoke to my mom last night and tried to hint that I wasn't really into this. I thought she got the message, but then today I got this email (also sent to the rest of the family, including my husband):

Quote
"I heard "Under Pressure" today and could really visualize Leafeater and Husband singing the part that goes "LET ME OUT!"  So I think there is the best song - I can sing all the regular singing parts, and Dad can sing the "noises" and you 3 kids can sing the exclamations like "That's ok!"  I can play the keyboard and kids could play kitchen tools while scooting around the scene, in and out, and Dad, well, you can just do your thing, which will be just great!"

I mean... :o We three kids can scoot around playing kitchen tools? I'm thirty. This might have been cute when I was five. My husband's all upset, and while I maybe could have handled playing the piano for this, I'm not going to sing. Not even shouty background vocals. I have huge ridiculous hangups about singing, and that's never been a secret.

So, I responded:

Quote
"I won't be singing. I'm sorry.

I think this is a good idea in theory, but maybe we can come up with a project that uses talents we actually have. I don't have any real musical ability, and I get that that isn't the point, but I would be really conscious of that fact if I tried to pull this off."

I am really hoping this doesn't hurt her feelings, but that she gets the message.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: JeanFromBNA on November 20, 2013, 01:18:23 PM
Tell her that you won't sing, but you will be glad to record it and upload to YouTube.  >:D

I hope this isn't rude, but it sounds like your Mom has watched too many episodes of The Brady Bunch.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: esposita on November 20, 2013, 01:28:35 PM
Has she been watching a lot of youtube videos lately?

I think sometimes certain people see the popular, adorable, funny family videos on youtube and just assume that they magically, spontaneously happened while someone was holding a point-and-shoot camera. They don't understand all the effort and equipment and planning and time it takes to make a silly but polished 3 minute long video. Maybe send her a youtube video of a professional family singing, and then dig around and find one that is just plain not-well-done (poor audio, poor camera skills, etc.)?

Not that you need to add anything to what you have already said. It just might give her an idea. I know a lot of times I see something, for example on pinterest, and it takes me a few minutes to figure out that my attempt at recreating the thing would probably just fall flat in a horrible way, because I don't have the right skills nor the inclination to learn them.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: leafeater on November 20, 2013, 01:47:05 PM
I mean, the funny thing about all this is that I work as a video editor. I show her the videos I make for work and talk about the hours that go into them. She sees how, even with all that work and all my equipment and software, it can come out looking kind of amateurish. And when this all got started, I even suggested that maybe that could be my contribution to the project, but she turned me down.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 20, 2013, 01:49:01 PM
Anyone else find it funny that she thinks "Under Pressure" is a great family sing along?
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: RooRoo on November 20, 2013, 08:13:20 PM
Snort! ;D

I found the song on Youtube and it's playing as I type. Like most of Queen's music, it is far from simple, musically. I won't go in to details; I'll just say that there's no way it would work! Syncopation, triplets, playing with the key as Freddie Mercury so loved to do... All difficult for any amateur. I'm remembering how hard we members of the college's small concert choir (16 people) worked to master just the first two.

I think you need to conspire with the rest of the family, and present a united front to Mom. Perhaps avoiding that subject and addressing her planning - "Mom, we all just want to visit with you and each other. Please don't worry about entertaining us!"
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: blarg314 on November 21, 2013, 02:38:48 AM

When I saw the first email, I was thinking of something like Kumbaya, or Jingle Bells - the kind of thing that's often done as a singalong among people with little musical training.

She's planning on playing the keyboards while singing vocals? Presumably by ear?  While other people come in with different backup vocals? Just how good a musician is your mother (my guess is not very, or she'd know just how hard this is).

Have you talked to your sister? A two person "No mom, it's not happening!" might be a good idea at this point.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: BeagleMommy on November 21, 2013, 08:47:34 AM
Snort! ;D

I found the song on Youtube and it's playing as I type. Like most of Queen's music, it is far from simple, musically. I won't go in to details; I'll just say that there's no way it would work! Syncopation, triplets, playing with the key as Freddie Mercury so loved to do... All difficult for any amateur. I'm remembering how hard we members of the college's small concert choir (16 people) worked to master just the first two.

I think you need to conspire with the rest of the family, and present a united front to Mom. Perhaps avoiding that subject and addressing her planning - "Mom, we all just want to visit with you and each other. Please don't worry about entertaining us!"

Add to the fact that this song was done by Freddie Mercury AND David Bowie as a duet and that throws you into another realm of difficulty.

OP, does your mom often make "grand plans" regarding holiday celebrations?
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: daen on November 21, 2013, 09:00:24 AM
I'm looking at doing a "family band" type thing, but it will involve something like this:http://www.amazon.com/12-Luxury-Concerto-Christmas-Crackers/dp/B000WGTFYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385045718&sr=8-1&keywords=christmas+crackers (http://www.amazon.com/12-Luxury-Concerto-Christmas-Crackers/dp/B000WGTFYO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385045718&sr=8-1&keywords=christmas+crackers)
Basically, everyone gets a tuned noisemaker, each a different note, and with the included music sheets and a conductor to prompt the playing of the correct noisemaker at the correct time, music results. Or, as the description says, chaos.

That's about the level of impromptu I'll ask from my family at a gathering, and everyone except my dad and one brother-in-law has taken several years of music lessons.

(Depending on how it goes with my family, I might try it with my co-workers. They're all good sports, so if it's easy enough...)
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: baglady on November 22, 2013, 07:52:36 PM
Are you going to see them at Christmas? If so, maybe you can talk mom into putting off this adventure until then. Sis will have had some time to learn a few basics on the guitar ... if she can learn three simple chords, she can strum her way through a whole bunch of songs. ("Silent Night" only has three chords.) The hardest part is learning to change chords smoothly, but that just takes a little practice.

Then see if you can talk her into making it a mini-talent show instead of a big production, with nobody being recorded who doesn't want to be, and nobody being forced to participate at who doesn't want to.

Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: magician5 on November 22, 2013, 08:27:09 PM
Where is the simple "I don't feel comfortable doing that", or simply "count me out"? No is a complete sentence, if a little blunt. You can't be bullied if you don't lie down for it.
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Bijou on November 24, 2013, 02:02:42 PM
I would get a bunch of kazoos and bring them with me.  I think anyone can play a kazoo, can't they?  If everyone brought funny hats or Groucho masks (eyebrows, glasses, nose and mustache) it would make a fun family portrait.   
If your husband doesn't want to be the vocalist can you just let your mom know ahead of time, so there is no embarrassment at the party? 

We always had a family band at our celebrations, but really more like a family singing group since only a couple of people would play the guitars and everyone else would sing (together).  We grew up singing so we knew about a million songs.  I don't know what we would have done if we had to learn an instrument and some songs that day.  It probably would have been very weird and funny and make for great memories, though. 
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: CoryanderX on December 06, 2013, 01:08:13 PM
Any update, OP? (Or video links?) :)
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: RegionMom on December 06, 2013, 07:09:10 PM
Oh crikey, I looked up the song Under Pressure on YouTube and there is NO way that is a beginning song!

I teach piano, and I have looked at some teacher and lesson websites that offer,  "Learn to play your favorite song in only two lessons!  Learn to read music in 15 minutes!  Easy way and cheap pay and play!"

Um, no. 

It takes years to really get to where you can transpose into different keys to "match" other instruments, and to sight read music, to develop a strong sense of rhythm, yet stay together, and so much more.  And solo and ensemble playing are different skill sets, as is accompanying. 

For example, just this evening, my 17 year old son who has made High School All State for trumpet for three years got it into his head that he wanted to play the BBC Sherlock Holmes music, but he did not like the key it was in.  He transposed it on staff paper, and checked his work with me and a couple of videos of the music.  It took maybe 30 minutes of concentrated work to be sure he had all the correct intervals and accidentals, and then he added a few bits for fun. 

To be TOLD he was going to?  Well, that would be met with strong resistance, no matter that he has the skills and knowledge and instruments. 

I would rather have the matriarch suggest a group painting, where each person is given one portion of something to paint, and then all the pieces are put together into one masterpiece. 

OP, how did it go??
Title: Re: Family Band?!
Post by: Dr. F. on December 27, 2013, 08:52:13 AM
OP - was there any update to this?