Goose Chick Highlight

Tamara Sastow
Board-certified music therapist
and multi-instrumentalist

Pictured Above: Tamara Sastow playing a variety of instruments in a video series where she covers Goose songs all on her own. It’s awesome! View available classes here

Are you addicted to Goose? Nothing else seems to hit the spot; your old favorite band doesn’t set your soul on fire anymore. You find yourself down another Vasudo YouTube rabbit hole, anxiously awaiting the next soundboard to drop. You just need that tension and release, that brain tingling, spine-shivering peak to lift you out of your funk. This is your brain on Goose.

So you pilgrimage to Fred the Festival, where even in the middle of a Virginia farm field under the hot August sun, you’ll get chills at the aGoosetic trio set. Here, you are not alone. Here, those sensations are amplified in the company of fellow pleasure-seeking individuals united by a common goal — chase the feeling. So, what’s going on here? Where even is here? What’s making us feel like we need this?

Board-certified music therapist, multi-instrumentalist, and featured Goose Chick
Tamara Sastow sheds light on the role community plays in our music experience and our perceived Goose addiction. She, like many of us, discovered Goose at a difficult time in her life: “I wasn’t in a great head-space, and there was just too much going on in my mind to try and fit something else in there…but I happened to overhear [Bingo Tour] Ship of Fools and my heart just melted… This band showed me, in a very profound way, that it is impossible for me to know what I don’t know.” This common experience in our community is not a coincidence. 

This sensation is called musical frisson. Music can activate your amygdala, the emotion control center of your brain, sending shivers down your spine. It mimics the way cocaine elicits a release of dopamine. This temporary distraction makes us feel good! Addicted even! Turns out, the secret sauce isn’t just in the music and our physical reaction to it; it’s the safe, liminal space Goose creates with us. That’s where music therapy and the journey toward healing begins. For her master’s thesis, Tamara explored using music therapy as a tool for addiction recovery. “Our scene, and the jam band world in general, played a huge role in shaping my approach as a clinician. My experience at live shows is a foundational aspect of my philosophical orientation within music therapy.” 

Her approach emphasizes inter-subjectivity, and focuses on interpersonal experience as the agent of therapeutic change. For Goose, it’s the band, the crowd, the environment, and the relationship that forms between them. This is highlighted in Tamara’s favorite Goose experience 5/3/21 at Frederick. “All of us there together, blissfully jumping around in the rain, singing at the top of our lungs... this show felt exceptionally special. It was one of the most beautiful, joyous show experiences I’ve had.” 

Having also been in attendance, I couldn’t agree more. The rain came back hard, so the fans went harder, which fueled the boys to throw down arguably the hardest Bob Don to date. That mutually influencing loop is inter-subjectivity. That extra special shared space, us and the band, is communitas. Tamara introduced me to the term which she describes as “the transient experience of togetherness. Taking community to the next level… existential and spontaneous. When you surrender personal control it allows the creation of community in a liminal space”. Essentially, an unstructured state where everyone is equal, allowing for a true common experience. 5/3/21 and every other Goose show is exactly that. Goose creates liminal spaces — a threshold we can access between thought and experience, mind and body — where we can heal together. So to answer the question, Goose isn’t the addiction; they are the medicine and this is group therapy. 

Join Tamara for Western Sundays, her virtual masterclass on devoted entirely to learning, playing, analyzing, and discussing Goose songs! Private lessons are available as well. Sign up with this incredibly passionate and talented Goose Chick today! 


Note: We are not affiliated, associated with or in any way officially connected to Goose.
We just love the band and community that much.

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