Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Sharing From My Music Blog

 

Today I’m sharing an article that is usually only for my music students and parents from my music blog site.  But I thought that everyone might like to read this one.  Enjoy!

What Is Your Unique Gift?

I just got off the phone with a customer service Rep. for the company where we purchased our bed.  After carefully following the directions that were emailed to me and calling him back this morning, he gave me the nicest compliment!  He said, “I see here that you have your own music business, what do you do?”  I told him and he said, “No wonder then!  You are the nicest and friendliest person and I know it’s because you teach.

I never thought I was any different from anyone else, quite honestly.  Doesn’t everyone speak nicely on the phone with customer service, especially when they are helping you with a replacement part?  Isn’t everyone thankful and helpful?  Doesn’t everyone follow through with instructions and try to do their best – even in a negative situation?   He surprised me and I thanked him for the gracious compliment.  Quite honestly, it made my day!

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

But it got me thinking.  I said to Greg at the breakfast table this morning, “You know the saying: ‘those who can DO and those who can’t TEACH’ – do you think it’s true?”  He thought for a moment and said, “No – not always.  Sometimes people retire or chose not to DO anymore”  Yes.  That’s me.  I choose to TEACH rather than perform, although I have done and still do my share of both.  I realized long ago that I do not get the same thrill and energy from performing that others do – and knowing that I am quite comfortable coaching and teaching others to do that – if they choose to.

We all have gifts and talents that are God-given.  Recognizing what they are sometimes take a whole lifetime – but it is worth exploring.  In exploring and finding out what that is – we are happier and more fulfilled human beings.  I knew long ago that my main gift is in encouraging others.  I have a unique ability to see the positive.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of negative things happen to me – but I have been able to come out of each situation with gratefulness and thankfulness because of how God designed me.

Maybe your gift is in leadership.  Maybe it’s in hospitality.  Maybe you are good with numbers.  Maybe you have influence.  Maybe you are gentle and meek.  Maybe you are one who sees beauty in everyone.  Maybe music is your love.  Maybe taking pictures gives you energy.  Maybe being on stage performing is where you were made to be.  Find out what gives you energy and go in that direction.

There are no accidents.  God made you the way you are for a reason.  You are unique.

God Bless

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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.

Music Of Your Life

Piano

Image via Wikipedia

This should be on my music blog – but because it is something that I have been thinking about for a while now – music being a HUGE part of my daily life – I thought I would write on this subject and  make it a part of my regular blog site today.

Music does so much more than just teach another language  and skill – or help you focus in another part of the brain – Music actually makes you feel happy.

As a music performer and instructor for most of my life – I can say that those of us in the music profession – actually feel joy in a real way that comes from our pores.  On more than several occasions I have seen it visibly lift the spirits of depression and sadness. Even those not thrilled about practicing the piano – will actually feel better after they do.  Those experiencing sadness, even grief – will feel better after singing for 30 minutes.

Yesterday I had the privilege of singing with a couple of young teenage girls – singing their hearts out  to Rascal Flatts and other artists they were familiar with.  It was great to see them come out of their shells and enjoy the moment – releasing the endorphins while singing – making them feel joy and happiness and a sense of well-being.  All three of us sang at the top of our lungs – and it felt good.

Now sometimes – music doesn’t bring a smile.  When it is forced.  When it is not rehearsed enough.  And sadly – when the student or artist does not know the difference.

I am a firm believer in the fact that when you rehearse something in haste – often times it can be learned wrong.  The brain cannot make a quick adjustment when corrected.  I have seen this many times in a student who learns a passage of music wrong – and then does not have the “ear” to be able to tell that it is wrong. They rehearse it wrong all week – and then when being corrected for that “wrong” part  – cannot make the shift in their brain.  It is almost too late for them.  Better to have learned it right – and have it take longer to learn – then to learn it wrong in the first place.  This takes patience, knowledge and an “ear” to tell if it’s wrong.

The reward for learning it correctly is in the happiness it brings – to both yourself and to others listening.

Music is not just learned and played correctly – but it is also felt.  Anyone can learn it – not everyone can feel it.  Ever heard a bad musician?  Then you know what I mean.  Ever hear a really good artist that feels what they play and sing?  Then you also know what I mean.

I want my students to both learn it correctly – and to feel it.  In this way – music can be learned and enjoyed – and truly bring a smile.

We all make music.  Whether we are musicians or not.  What do you do with the music of your life?  Do you go through the motions – like some of my piano students – learning things wrong with daily reinforcement?  Or do you have an “ear” to tell the difference?   Do you feel the music and rhythm of your life and as you do – does your life bring a smile of joy to others?  

May your music be pleasant to others today – bringing peace and joy to whoever it touches.  Amen.

God Bless

Little Moments

I can’t remember where I heard it – but I know it’s true.  Life is made up of many “little moments all strung together”.  We wait for the BIG moments to find us – or for us to find them – and we take a lifetime searching for and waiting for something to happen to us.  Something bigger than ourselves that will propel us into another level of existence.  Something that will preclude our present circumstances.  And all along – while we are waiting – we live our little moments – over and over again – unrecognized and insignificant. 

I have had many of these moments, though at the time – they did not seem like much – nothing to write home about, and nothing worthy of any attention – or worth mentioning.  However as I think about where I am today and the significant changes along my journey – they are because of many little moments along the way.

These frozen moments in time are unique and personal – and no one can live them for me.  No one can experience the joy and pain of being me.  No one sees things in exactly the same way – no one loves and expresses like I do.  God made me just the way I am.  And my “little moments” are special and just for me.

I had one of these last weekend at the close of “Bugsy Malone”.  I have been a musical theater director for the last 7 or 8 years at a local Christian School and this was my final production.  I did not know – but several Alumni were invited to come for the final production and all were given a single rose.  At the end when the teachers and those in charge came up to the stage for the final applause – the students started singing one of the songs from the musical, “You give a little love and it all comes back to you – you know you’re gonna be remembered by the things that you say and do…”  And they stood in the audience and one by one came up on the stage and presented the rose and gave a hug while still singing.  It was what I call a “little moment” in time.  Frozen in my memory forever.

I’ve had many such moments like this.  Here are just a few:

When I accepted the Lord at age 4

When my family moved to Seattle from Canada when I was 8

My first day of Junior High

My first day of High School

When I knew I was in love for the first time

When I met Greg

My wedding day

When both babies were born

When my friend lost her husband to cancer

When I had to say goodbye to a friend

When a struggle became a strength

Each one of my student recitals

Spending time with friends

Speaking encouragement into someones life

Living out a difficult family issue

These are some of my “little moments”.

What are some of yours?  How have they defined you?

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

Cadavers – The Dead Truth

33

Image by Paul Phung via Flickr

Yesterday was a very strange day.  I went to a dermatologist appointment with my husband – and while in the elevator on the way out – he suddenly looks at his phone, talks to NO ONE and then proceeds to march me through another doorway, opposite of the way out.  I kept asking him, “where are we going”?  He mumbled something non coherent and continued down this strange hallway to this innocent looking office.  He was obviously looking for someone – and he’d been there before – but I was completely in the dark.  We entered the abandoned office and then looked though a glass window to a very large lab behind the office.  Greg recognized the man behind the glass and said, “There he is!” and then proceeded to walk to some offices in search of the man’s wife – saying, “I’m just wanting to stop by and say hello”.  But I’m like – “who ARE these people?”  Now I’m not one of those wives who HAS to know everything about her husband, where he goes, who he knows etc.  – but I was curious – and a little bewildered.  Greg  finding no one in the office said – ‘we’re going to have to go in and say hello’.  Then he quickly said, in an excited voice, “this is a lab where they do experiments and procedures on dead body parts – isn’t it GREAT”?  Well why didn’t you just say so.  Uhhh – WHAT?

Just then a woman came out of the lab,  recognized Greg and asked if we wanted to come in a “take a look”.  I said firmly to Greg – “Uh – I’m staying here – you can go say hello”  and he was like, “but I want him to meet you – you have to come” and then started dragging me in.

It was very surreal.  The body parts were all neatly covered up – but it was creepy all the same.  I have never been around dead bodies in my life.  My husband does funerals for a living and is used to and quite comfortable with death and dying.  I just never realized HOW comfortable.  As we walked into the lab another woman asked me if I wanted scrubs – and would I be assisting today?  I was like, “No thank you – I’m with HIM.”  We stood there in this giant lab surrounded by what must have been a dozen or more gurneys with dead body parts under blue plastic – chatting and talking about how wonderful everything was.  I thought to myself, – ‘no one will ever believe me.’

This organization is part of a body donor program – allowing medical trainees and other medical professions come and do procedures on cadavers to further training for live patients.  Yesterday they were learning how to do hip replacements.  They were expecting 80 or so medical personal to work on the hip section body parts on the tables.  This organization  also picks up and transports bodies as they come available.  Now my husband will be on call to help them in this.  Sure – why not?  All in a day’s work, I say.

This experience had me in some what of a fog for the rest of my insanely busy day, teaching and rehearsing – for not only “Bugsy Malone” – which opens in 3 weeks – but also my students have a recital in a month!  Good grief – what a day.

How was YOUR day?  Can you top this?  Would you like to have seen the lab like my husband all excited and just like a little boy?  Or would you have been just a little “creeped out” – like me?

Here’s to you and yours – wishing you a day with no cadavers and dead body parts in it – unless you want it to be 🙂

God Bless

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