Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘piano lesson’ Category

Do You Have The Music In You?

Key signature in C-sharp-major and a-sharp-minor

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My husband is a drummer – and a very good one too.  He’s never had a lesson – it’s just a natural ability.  He feels the music inside of him and can express it.  But as good of a drummer as he is – our 19-year-old son Shawn, is even better.  Same thing – no lessons – just a natural talent.  He’s been playing for several years now – and is one of the drummers at his church and has had numerous opportunities to shine as he has been asked to play for retreats, seminars and other out-of-town gigs.  He’s even done some writing and recording with vocals, drums and guitar,  another instrument he just picked up.

His talent amazes us.  There really doesn’t seem to be anything that boy can’t do.  Except maybe clean his room – but I know that’s normal.  *Sigh*  Why can’t he be both talented and have a clean room?  I guess in the big scheme of things – it doesn’t really matter – and we have chosen  not to die on that hill. Always somewhat of a ‘golden boy’ with the ‘X factor’ – he’s even a great athlete and played both baseball and basketball growing up, excelling in both.  But my car looks and smells like a guy’s locker room. Oh well.  Another hill we have chosen NOT to die on.

This last week he’s been in training to work as a drum technician at a local Guitar Center.  It’s a perfect fit for someone like him as he will be able to demonstrate his ‘know-how’ to any potential customers.  That job along with trying to finish up his AA degree at a local college should keep him really busy.  And with no time to clean his room – or MY car.  *Sigh*  We are wondering if being so busy will actually force him to get the much-needed sleep his young body will need – and he will stop his prowling around at night – when we are trying to sleep.  *Sigh*  WE need sleep – even if he doesn’t think HE does!

I’m always in ‘awe’ of people who can just pick-up an instrument and play it.  No lessons – no real practice or effort – at least it seems that way to me.  My piano ability came as a result of years of practicing and becoming better – my vocal ability was much more instinctive and natural – but even so – I took many lessons myself and had to work at it, study it – and have paid by ‘dues’ performing in both a junior and senior recital in college to finish up my music degree.

There are those people who just ‘have the music in them’ and can pick something up – like our son and just begin to play it.  I have much respect for those that have the ability to play the piano without a lesson because they can hear it – and feel it.  They didn’t study the theory involved – or don’t seem worried about key signatures – they just play it – in ANY key!  My ability came with years of study. And I still stumble if I have to play in a difficult key – or play without aid of any written music.  It’s simply NOT FAIR!

Maybe you are one of those gifted people who can do this.  Or maybe you too have ‘the music in you’ and it’s dying to get out – but there are those so much better at it – that you do not try to learn – or it’s frustrating to you because it does not come easily like those I’ve described above. Maybe you are like me – who has to work at it – study it and practice A LOT!

I believe that we all can have a song in our heart – even make a joyful noise because we were created to do so.  God has equipped each person with different abilities and talents – and I try not to beat myself up because I’m not like another person who can do something I can’t. I try to remember what God has given me – and be thankful.  I try to use that talent to bless others – and not worry about what He didn’t give me – because maybe what He didn’t give me – He has given to someone else – like my son.

Below is a song from the opening season two of  ‘The Sing-Off‘ – what talent these people have!  Enjoy and remember to keep a song in your heart.

God Bless

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What Scares You?

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I thought about this quote today and realize the importance of ‘stepping out’ of my own comfort zone to insure that I keep growing. How easy it is to stay where I’m comfortable – no pressure – no expectations – no work. But on the flip side – no lesson learned – no real positive change – no opportunity to influence others by being unafraid to face things head on.

Last week I was asked by friend, radio host and local pastor, Doug Bursch to be on his radio show – “Live from Seattle”. I hesitated. I made excuses. Finally I could see that none of my excuses (one of them was that I teach in the afternoon when the show airs) were going to be enough – especially when a time slot was found that could accommodate me. The subject he was going to interview me on: Blogging and what God was speaking to me. Now before you judge my hesitations – just remember that I am the girl that has no problem singing you a song – or playing the piano at a recital for my students – can teach music in a theater class – but usually I don’t have to ‘talk’ much. I’ve never considered myself a speaker and in fact have turned down speaking engagements when we were in ministry over the years – because I didn’t feel qualified – or had anything to say – and was just plain terrified! So when Doug asked me to do this – I was pretty nervous – and that’s the understatement!

But excuses aside – I did it anyway – knowing it was probably good for me to be forced out of my comfort zone of sitting behind my desk and typing – sharing things from my heart in written form only – and to be open to a new vehicle that God was gently nudging me in – with a little help from a friend. And I’m happy and relieved to tell you that it was not as bad as I thought – I actually could think on my feet and share what needed to be shared – was not ‘tongue tied’ or really dumb – and the nervous feeling left me almost as soon as the interview started. With a lot of help from Doug 🙂

I got to thinking – how many things scare us? Prevent us from a great blessing and possibility for growth – all because we’re terrified of stepping out? How many things have I missed out on – just because I refused to learn something new – and do something that really terrified me? Like…talking on the radio? Maybe talking to someone that could really use a friend? Doing something with children that I didn’t feel qualified for? Teaching a class? Volunteering my time to an organization? Giving of myself? Living by example? Being misunderstood?

As I thought of this – I am very aware in my own life – that I have been the reason – I’ve been the one that is afraid – afraid to tackle the strange unknown. Because of this I know that I have also held myself back from doing great things for people – for my family and friends and most of all – God’s kingdom – all because of fear. There are several ‘fear buttons’:

What if they don’t like me? They might not. Many that have known me through the years – don’t like me. I’ve managed to survive it and I’ve come to realize that not everyone will like me – and that has to be okay. But I won’t let that handicap me from being who I am – just because some don’t like me.

What if they reject me? Again – many have. Some of them that I considered good friends have rejected me – for whatever reasons of their own – walked away and have never spoken to me again. Rejection in the rawest form. But I’m still me – I’m still here – I didn’t die from the rejection. It hurt me – but I went on and found others who won’t play that game with me and don’t do that anymore. And I’m getting smarter – I’ve learned who they are – and those that are open to me and my influence are those that have won my friendship and trust.

What if I fail? Well – I’ve failed MANY times. I’m actually the ‘poster child’ for this. I can tell you how to do it and how to go down to that dark scary place – how to spiral out of control because of hurt, disappointed and frustration. But I also know that God is greater than any failure of mine – or any scrape I can get myself into – and that He is there – even in the deepest, darkest pit of self pity and pride. I know that it IS possible to dig yourself out – and begin again – because I have done it – not once – but many times. And what I find each time I fail is that His grace renews every morning – there’s enough to cover me and my mistakes. And the lessons learned from failing are invaluable and actually make me stronger and wiser. So failing doesn’t not scare me anymore. I can actually look failure in the face and say, ‘you don’t own me anymore’.

What if I can’t handle it? I’ve been there too. There are still days when I don’t feel as if I’m up to the task – and my daily schedule of teaching students can be a daunting task. There are days when I actually dread it. And I’ve had those bad teaching days where I don’t feel like I’ve connected with the student at all. I mean – a really bad day. The kind of day that makes me doubt my own education and experience – makes me want to give up entirely and ‘throw in the towel’. Then something will happen – an encouragement from a parent – an email and positive affirmation of some kind – and suddenly I remember why I do – what I do. And I know that I can handle it. And God has equipped me to handle it and to ‘bloom where I’m planted’.

Do those things above scare me? You bet. Everyday. More than once a day. But I also know that God will give me what I need for that day to accomplish what I’m supposed to. I can’t do it in my own strength – nor does He expect me to. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Proverbs 3:5,6:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

I want to challenge you today – do something that really scares you. It may be that very thing that propels you onto a new pathway of discovery and growth – a journey that embraces and influences others in ways you never dreamed of before. Do that one thing that has been holding you back – and keeping you from missing a blessing in your life. What is it? You are the only one that can answer that. Step out and do it – you won’t be alone – He will be by your side as your greatest source of strength and encouragement. Reach out and embrace that change in your life. That change may be the beginning of your finest hour. A scary step. The thing most feared – may be your biggest blessing.

God Bless

By Heart

I was teaching a piano lesson today. My student forgot her music. It was critical for her to have her music today for the recital that she is playing in –  in a couple of weeks – and the song that she was playing just happened to be in the book she left at home. It could have been a disaster. While I have much of the music in a file in my office for such occasions as this – I did not have that particular piece that she is working on for the recital. I racked my brain thinking about what I was going to do so the time would not be wasted – I’m using all of the next few weeks in full concentration on the song that every student is either playing or singing. It was most frustrating – and I already had a tension headache from a rather demanding theater rehearsal! Ugh. But quickly I came up with a plan – I found out how much she could remember “by heart” – and I would fill in the rest. This was hard – and it took much patience on both our parts – but after repeating each measure over and over – we found that we could remember and learn the entire first half of the song in the limited time we had. It was a little painful – but in the end I think she will actually appreciate going home now and having the written music in front of her – after her hard work – and learning it from the actual music will seem less painful after doing some strenuous workout for her memory.

It’s amazing what you bring to mind – and recall – “from heart” when you need to. It’s funny how we can remember – when we need to.
There’s a Jim Brickman song that I love.  These lyrics express it all:

“Even if we’re worlds apart – I’ll find my way back to you – by heart”

I love this.  This is the cry of the  heart.  The heart that never forgets.  The heart that knows whom it loves.

My prayer for you tonight – is that you always remember what the heart does – by heart.

God Bless

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