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Family Band?!
« 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?


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #1 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #2 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 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.

Oh Joy

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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #3 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?


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #4 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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #5 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #6 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #7 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? 


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #8 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #9 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #10 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?  ;)


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #11 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. 


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #12 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #13 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' 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.


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Re: Family Band?!
« Reply #14 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 .)