Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

Crossing Paths

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The ...

English: Crossing of paths, Gwydyr Forest The waymarked walk taking in Llyn y Parc is crossed by a singletrack section of the Marin Mountain Bike trail. Walkers should watch out for speeding bikers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every once in a while the many tracks of our lives intersect.  The subtle joining of like interests and purpose combine into one timeless moment.

My journey and purpose that God has uniquely designed for me sometimes crosses the path of my past life and career, my music legacy, sometimes through writing, sometimes through people sometimes through specific events  – leaving me feeling  humbled and reflective.

The last week I have been organizing my music studio/office in my home – plus gathering video and pictures for my website, which just went up for the first time this last Monday.  If you missed it – you can visit me on my website at  Cindy’s Music Studio  It is my first attempt to duplicate what happens in my studio and in person – to an equal experience online.

In the process of trying to break down and ‘capture’ all the special moments of my music teaching career over the last 15+ years in this one area alone – it has been a daunting but also given me many thrilling moments looking at many past recital performances and pictures over the years.  The growth and development in each one – and the happy glow of pride and sense of accomplishment – the feeling of joy and resolution in choosing the path of teaching that I chose many years ago instead of a sales career teaching and training women about skin care.

This too has crossed my path again recently as my daughter (who was a little girl at the time when I was with Mary Kay) has decided to join the ranks of the many sales representatives and sell this great product as well as continue to do hair styling and color in her own home studio.  It is all very surreal to me and brings back many memories of my 5 years spent with that company – 2 years as a sales director.

Sometimes our lives intertwine into areas that we never dream we will cross again.  We do not simply just “wave good-bye” and then never see them again – sometimes they comes back in ways we least expect.  It is the same with my music teaching and my writing – the two are different and yet – sometimes they cross.  The things we are passionate about in this life – the unique and God-given talents and abilities we are given –  have the potential of crossing and interjecting every day – through people, events and circumstances – and yes – even our own children.

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Do You Have The God-Factor?

As a musician and teacher – I like to keep my thumb on the pulse of today’s music.  My favorite programs, not to be missed (thus I LOVE my DVR) are:

The Voice

The Sing-Off

American Idol

America’s Got Talent

and last but NOT least:

X-Factor

 

Because the X-Factor is entirely based on talent, judging from recording artists and producers – it is more realistic in nature – and does not go on “popular vote”.  The sole purpose is to find the next popular recording artist.

 

I have enjoyed seeing the talented singers – and the choices in music that the judges/mentors choose for them.

Two things that have been interesting to me:

1 – I love how people with extraordinary talent can be “discovered” on this show.  Those that come from extreme poverty or just hopelessly lost in a middle class system that does not allow for other areas of talent to be explored.

2 – So many hopes and dreams are associated with these programs.  Almost every one of them says, “This means EVERYTHING to me – it’s ALL I want”  or “I don’t know what I’ll do if they send me home – I have NOTHING else”.

So although I love the idea of a program that finds those that are deserving of a “break” – there are also some flaws in it as well.

It can be exploitive and extreme.

Many have said that everything in their  life is pinned on the hopes of winning a 5 million dollar prize.  No kidding.  Everything.  Yes – that’s BIG money – but really?  Nothing else to look forward to – nothing else at all?  Seems a little extreme.  How about a happy fulfilled life with family and friends, children and grandchildren, hobbies and work that gives a purpose.  A reason for being here – faith in God and His purpose for your life?

I realize that life is empty without a spiritual reason to exist – and that people will literally throw themselves into a passion – and often abandon EVERYTHING else in their life.  But I do think that often times when a  sacrifice is made – it is often a lonely one – and in the end leave those feeling lost and broken – even if they gained “the whole world” with their talent.

I would like to think that all of us already have the X-Factor.  Some of us just don’t know it.  But made in God’s image – we are all special and unique – made with special gifts and abilities and purpose.  We are designed to reflect God’s nature and His light in our lives gives us that special little extra something.

Whether or not you can sing, dance, play an instrument, or speak eloquently in front of a HUGE crowd – you have something special and God made you just the way you are.

I encourage you to find that special something that makes you unique in God’s eyes – special and loved, carefully crafted and shaped – to have that wonderful God-Factor.

The God-Factor is God’s unique and special gift to each of us – His stamp of love of each of our lives – made to be a reflection and a testimony of His purpose and plan for a lost and dying world.

And when you have the God-Factor – you already have what others search their whole lives to find.  And you don’t even have to win any talent contest.

When was the last time you felt special?

Do you like to watch music programs like me?

Which is your favorite?

X-Factor

Image via Wikipedia

 

God Bless

“Bugsy Malone” Weekend

Well it’s finally here – the weekend we have all been waiting for.  The junior high theater production of “Bugsy Malone”.

I have been the music director for several years now and we have done “Bugsy” before – about 5 years ago or so – different cast and crew – but it seems a little different somehow this time.  Every time you have a different group of students – the dynamic changes.  It has been exciting and terrifying all at the same time, trying to pull this one together – and not a lot of time to do it.

The set is great and the costumes are wonderful – but most of all – the students in this are AWESOME.

Opening night is tonight.  I know that everything will come together just in time – it always does.  And I know that I will look back on this one – as being the best cast and group of people I’ve even had the privilege of working with.

With this production – I say farewell – my best wishes and hopes are in the future theater department – to Laura McGinnis, teachers, parents and students who will undoubtedly take it to the next level.  It has been a pleasure to work with music and to see how really great the students can be when someone believes in them – and how great they are when they believe.  I am lucky – I keep in touch with many of my students after they move on – go to high school, college and then go off and have their own grown-up lives.  They are all special and have a place in my heart – even when I don’t get to see or talk to them much.

And so – here we are – another group of students – some more pictures and unspoken memories which cannot be captured in a picture.  I keep those in my heart.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the dress rehearsal last night.

Rowena’s Song

Film poster for Mr. Holland's Opus - Copyright...

Image via Wikipedia

You will notice that with any tune associated with forbidden or unrequited love – there is an underlying sadness and pain that is tangible in the melody line.  Song writers seem to use a minor key to convey the melancholy feeling that they are feeling.  I have written songs that are like this  about something poignant and cannot be described in any other way – a sweet and sad melody.

In Mr. Holland’s Opus – the lead character, a high school music teacher finds himself drawn to a high school student who clearly has a crush on him.  It is during a time in his life – mid-life, where he is caught in the every day monotony of his life – with no challenge and no meaning – until this young girl walks into his music theater program.  She auditions and has the most incredible singing voice and is cast in Mr. Holland’s musical about George and Ira Gershwin.  Her name is Rowena.  It is during rehearsals that he finds himself fascinated by her – and her to him.  She hears him playing this song on the piano and she begins humming a haunting melody line while he is playing.  It moves him and he goes home and entitles his piece, “Rowena’s Song”.

No – Mr. Holland does not cheat on his wife.  He is clearly flattered by her attention and admiration – but in the end, though tempted – he turns her away and goes home to his wife.  This is the remarkable part of the story.  The sadness and the joy.  The strength of character and the amazing love for his wife that is greater than any temptation.  In this song – you can hear the sadness and the resolve.  My favorite part of the movie.  I hope you will be inspired and moved by its lovely melody.  And I highly recommend the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” if you have never seen it.

Now Enjoy – “Rowena’s Song”

God Bless

Do You Have The Music In You?

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

Image via Wikipedia

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

Murders, Musicals And Other Mysteries

Logo Musical

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday Greg and I went to see an old college buddy perform in “The musical comedy murders of 1940″.  It was HILARIOUS and I was very proud of my friend – who has not been acting in anything since I knew him in college.  For a first attempt back to the stage – he was wonderful.

As a musical theater director – I know the importance of delivering a line – staying in character and making your part believable to your audience.  I would KILL to have our junior high students understand the subtleties of the above mentioned ‘must‘ for any musical theater production.

It is very helpful for students to take advantage of good live theater in our area – and so every season we try to have a field trip for them to see those that are doing this on a regular basis – or just something in the area that’s putting on the same show as we are – so they can study their character.  There is a thing called ‘timing’ in comedy – and sometimes a beat or two between lines can ruin the laugh from the audience.

Last night – these performers had been coached correctly.  All the lines were delivered and got the much sought after ‘laughs’ from the crowd – in fact we just ROARED at some of it!  The highest compliment to those on the stage.

How easy it is to laugh and applaud for the performers who take us to another era – another situation and place – those that have studied their part so well that it seems to blend in to who they are. Their timing is impeccable and well rehearsed to get it right.

Shakespeare once said:

‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances’

We are merely players in this world – none of us knowing our cues – our entrances and exits.  That is the mystery of life.  Not knowing how to rehearse for our next scene – or prepare our lines for what is to come.  It is not neat and rehearsed like the ‘stage’ – we live on the stage of life.  Our director and author of our ‘production’ is Jesus Christ – the only one who knows the outcome and the only one who knows how to prepare us for the next scene.

When we get a laugh – or a good ‘review’ from others in the audience of our life – it feels good – boosts our spirits and helps us to carry on.  But when we get a bad review – or someone thinks we stepped ‘out of character’ – it throws us into a tailspin.

Our goal as ‘players’ in this production of life should be to live as the ‘director’ is coaching us to live – without applause of man – or even a pat on the back from those who would review our scene.  Living and doing just what the director of our lives is directing us to do – is the only way to live – since He is the only one who knows the script.

We don’t always do this – we try to ‘rewrite’ it for the ‘author’ and go our own way – choosing people in our cast who are not supposed to be on stage with us – or choosing songs that are not approved and not the best for us.  It may make us feel better temporarily – and even get us a laugh – but it is not lasting – and can be destructive to us.  It is better to let Him decide and to have Him bring things together for us – to make the best production possible.

Ahhhh – the mystery of life and all its players.  Intrigue, lies, deception, bad influences, joy, love, emotion and elation.  Friendship and those who will join me in my production as we rehearse to get the ending right.  Trusting, trusting, trusting – that He knows better for my production than I do – and being willing to leave it with Him – is the hardest lesson on the stage of my life.

How is your production?  Who’s in charge of yours?

God Bless

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

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