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Too Much Time Alone? – Easily Join The Music Community

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Too Much Time Alone? – Easily Join the Music Community is a summary of a podcast I was recently featured in. Check it out below!

Let’s start – How I got here

Mark: Jim Snedeker, I think, always has it “on”.  If you ask him to stand up and sing, he’ll do it!  So I’m excited about chatting with him today. What are some of your experiences?  I’m excited to hear about those, but before we get into the music, tell me a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from.  

Jim: Sure! I grew up in Canton Ohio and after 18 years left for Ohio State University.  My first instrument was the piano…

… The thing that piano was really really good for me is I learned about music theory which kind of served as the foundation for me to stay interested in music. I went to Ohio State actually majored in music, taught school for 5 years, and then Ohio cut back on funding for the Arts so to make a long story short, I switched careers to computer programming…

Later I switched to project manager, that’s what I did for work. But on a personal level, the music was always something I was able to stay active with, thanks in part to churches always needing musicians. It’s a great way to kind of keep your chops and join the music community.

Why Winchester?

I moved to Winchester actually in 2007. Five years before that I was in Richmond. Before that, in 2002 I was laid off from a company in Ohio that’d moved its headquarters to Atlanta. Checkfree was a pioneer in e-billing.  Today, everybody does e-bills today but in the late 90s, we were ahead of the market.  In the late 90s, the internet was exploding companies were hatching up all over the place. Targets were missed. The market was not ready yet so that’s what led to the internet bust. We were the same way – all these great technologies.  Everybody pays their bills online these days, but not in the late 90s. 

Mark: So here you were in this technical computer world and yet you still were able to maintain your chops. Tell us about your family.

Jim: My daughters are grown and gone. They’re doing well professionally and personally: one in Florida and one in Colorado.  My wife and I have been married 43 years this September. We met in Ohio through a Church starting at the OSU campus.

Waiting to do more – join the music community

… Back to my move to Virginia – that was 2002. I worked in Richmond for 5 years at what you’d call IT consulting but it was mostly managing small projects.  Capital One kept me busy in various roles but always as a contractor. So one time, between contacts, when my wife’s parents were in need of help, we came up here to Winchester in 2007 and have been here ever since. We came back to take care of her parents. So she did that and I worked all over wherever I could, eventually ending up working for the government for six and a half years. That was probably the best job ever had.  I recently retired, so I thought, “Good grief! I don’t have to just think about playing gigs anymore.   I’m going to get out and do it!” I’m going to join the music community.

Mark:  so there’s the segway! So you are what I’ll call an in-law “Winchester Townie” because your in-laws were here. So you probably were traveling back and forth to Winchester for many years.

Jim: yes, since 1979! The town and surrounding area have really grown.

Join the music community

Mark:  Where are the musicians?  How did you get started?

Through playing an open mic I got hooked up with an organization out of Martinsburg called guitars for vets. It’s really a neat program.  As a non-profit what we do is provide guitar lessons for veterans. Those who apply for the program are typically folks who’ve struggled with some kind of post-combat stress could be P.T.S.D. but it doesn’t have to be. 

An open mic is where you prepare free songs to stand up and play.  There’s no money involved but people who can and want to donate and the tips go toward the charity. I started networking a little bit to see where things are going. Now I’m actually one of the teachers in the Martinsburg chapter.  

Mark: So now over the last couple of months you’ve seen this almost musical subculture around Winchester and the groups of people in individuals like yourself that are out there playing. Tell us what you’ve seen, like what should people know about in this town that maybe they don’t know about?

Jim: The main takeaway is the incredible amount of support musicians receive. People love music! I really think music can heal people in a way that many other things can’t. And the community of musicians who participate has surprised me, too, the overall encouragement of the community. 

Why you don’t need to be an extrovert

People love music. It’s easy to join the music community. Start where you are – just 3 songs are all you need. Find a family farm brewery or a local restaurant that already has an open mic. Let me know how it goes!

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