Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Education’

My NEW Website!!

Most of you know – but maybe some of you don’t – that I’m a piano and voice teacher, who also loves to write.  I’ve been teaching professionally in my home since 1995.  It is what I LOVE to do – invest in students and help develop a love of music in each one.

I’m so happy to finally be able to offer the lessons that I teach in my home to those of you out there who are interested in lessons ONLINE.  I now have a website designed for just that purpose.  I hope you will hop over there to see my new site and watch a short video of introduction of yours truly and tell me what you think!
It was hilarious making not one but FOUR videos to include with a sign-up from the first page. Greg had these BRIGHT lights pointed right at me and I had trouble seeing – let alone speaking correctly – so they are quite funny for me to watch back and remember what fun we had that day – with a whiny puppy in tow!  If you sign up on the first page you will be directed to my other videos – and it’s free to do so, all you need is your email to do so. Some of the pictures and videos are not up yet – but most things are there for you to get an idea about what I do. I have room for some new online students in my schedule especially in the summer and so if you know of anyone who is an area without a teacher – direct them to my site and I will see if I can help them.
Cindy’s Music Studio

Thanks so much for taking a look!  Have an awesome day!


God Bless

Priceless “In The Moment” Moments

The city of Burbank, CA looking east from Univ...

Image via Wikipedia

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the last time I was single and living at home.  I went right from my parent’s home at 20 years of age to another way of life – without ever have lived on my own.

And although it worked out for me – I also see great benefits to living on your own before being married.

Both of my children have had opportunities to live on their own after finishing high school.  And although this can be hard, financially – I believe the lessons learned while living on your own are very valuable.  Some things just can’t be taught while living at home.

With our daughter – she was so determined that she would make it – and it took two jobs for her to do so – she’s been very proud of herself that she was completely self sufficient by the time she was 20 years old.  She learned a lot of about room-mates and finances that she’s never forgotten – and when it came time for her to get married – she was already very disciplined with money and her work ethic.  She’s one of the hardest working young women I know.

Shawn, who will be 20 in October – has moved to California to pursue a music education and hopefully a career with his music training.  He lives with room-mates in Burbank and has struggled to maintain his rent with only a part-time job.  We are grateful he got a job, when so few are available.  And we’re also thankful that his loan money will cover his tuition AND his housing this fall.  But it’s still tough to make the rent and pay for things like food – until then.

Experiences like this are so valuable.  And he will look back on these times as “the good old days” before real bills, a wife and children to support.  All of this – priceless in the big scheme of things to come.

As I chatted on the phone with him last night – I reminded him that this too shall pass – and his present circumstance is what great songs and writings are made of  🙂  Maybe not while he’s struggling – but sometime after as he looks back…

Living “in the moment” – trying to be present – even during hard times of struggle. Being available in the mind.  On purpose and on task.  Learning to get by on very little – to be engaged and still positive about life.  This is what living “in the moment” is all about.

Are you alway “in the moment”?  Does your mind wander to “better times” either in the past – or somewhere in the future?  Can you be content and very present?  Now – today?  Especially when things are not ideal?  And you may be struggling?  Can you find the priceless of the here and now?  Knowing this moment will pass you by – and be no more?

Did you live on your own before you were married?  What did you do without during those years?  What’s your story?


God Bless

Music Of Your Life


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

The Secret Of Doing Life Together (Featured on Some Wise Guy)

Today I have the awesome privilege of being featured as a guest blogger for K.C. Procter’s Blog – called Some Wise Guy.  I am always honored when other people read my “stuff” and see something worthy in it – what a surprise to me to say the least!  I wrote this specifically for his blog after some helpful ideas of what he wanted – and since he is featuring women for the month of May – I happily indulged him with an article about “The Secret of Doing Life Together”  about my awesome husband Greg.  I hope you will also visit Some Wise Guy to see it there and other great articles on his site. 

About ThatGuyKC: Father, husband, bible-thumping ninja, mac user, aspiring tentblogger, MBA student, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

My husband, Greg and I have been married for almost 30 years. That is a long time – especially in this day and age. Our happy marriage has not come without some conflict and adjustment along the way. In fact, I used to believe that having disagreements and points of discussion was not healthy – but now I can see that I was wrong.  Read More Here

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

Doing The Right Thing

Study of a girl with ringlets teaching her dog...

Image by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

Doing the right thing – does not necessarily mean that it will always be the popular choice. Or does it mean that others in your life will agree with you.

Several years ago I had a situation which challenged my personal convictions and integrity.  I had a problem with a student at the private school where I was teaching.  She was belligerent to my authority and although all of the teachers in the class treated her with respect – but were firm on expectations – she did not reciprocate the respect.  I called her out on it – in a private way, telling her it was not appropriate behavior in the classroom.  Instead of responding correctly – she went home ‘telling tales’ how this mean music teacher had it in for her.

What came next was a most distressing email written to me from her mother.  I was painted as the villain – and she the victim. I reported the email to my boss – the administrator of the school where I was teaching.  His advice was to not do anything – be silent and NOT answer back at all.  And that he would handle it.

What came next was much soul-searching – as I tried to come to grips with the accusations in the letter against my character and integrity as a teacher.  I wrestled with it for a couple of days.  I remember well – my son was in a baseball tournament out-of-town that weekend – and I would sit in the car until the game started, praying and trying to figure out what to do.

In the end, I DID write back – and realized I was going in direct contrast and against the ‘authority’ set in place over me regarding this matter.  I examined the consequences of such an action – talked it over with my husband and good friend/team teacher also in the classroom – and decided to answer the accusations myself rather than just be ‘silent’.  To me this seemed the best course of action – as it directly affected me and my reputation as a teacher. I did not want a third-party interference in the matter.  Those never work.  And in fact, from personal experience I can say this:  They do much more harm than good. So with this in mind – I wrote a reply.

I was kind – but I was firm.  I told the other side of the story, the belligerence and the struggle that this girl had with authority in the classroom.  It was detailed and cited many examples which could be verified by the other teachers and students.

I sent it.  And I waited.  I knew that there could be two very different outcomes to my ’email’ – and knew I could really take a serious reprimand for my actions.  Two days later I received another email from the mother.  This one was very different from the first.  She was apologetic and felt very badly for saying the things she had said without checking the facts.  When she confronted her daughter with my letter – the girl broke down and admitted the lies she had told.  Had I not written the letter – the meeting to be held later that week between the father and the administrator of the school would have been very heated.  He would not have had all the facts.  My reply completely diffused the anger that they had and my email conveyed the situation and set the record straight.  Long story short:  we ended up being friends.  That in itself was a miracle.  And this would not have happened if I had allowed others to speak for me.  My silence could have been seen as guilt.

Why do I tell you this story?  Because there have been more of these ‘situations’ in my life before and since then.  Some have had a great outcome like this one – others have not.  It is ALWAYS better to work things out with the other person alone – than to involve a third person in the equation – and allow them to speak for you.

Sometimes you have to step out and do what is right – even in the midst of people telling you not to.  Even people who are in authority over you.  Even when you trust them and believe them.  Am I saying to go against authority?  If it doesn’t line up with what is right – then yes.  Even if you are told that it is right but you still have a nagging feeling that something isn’t right about what they are telling you.  And sometimes you must act according to your own personal convictions – even risking a ‘falling out’ with someone important to you – like a good friend or a family member.

In the final analysis – God is the only one you have to report to on anything. And at the end of the day – He goes much easier on us than most people do – even those people in positions of authority.  His grace and mercy are new every morning.  He loves and forgives in a way that human beings are not capable of doing.  He doesn’t hold a grudge – nor does He remember our sins anymore to use against us.  He is not sensitive – and you cannot hurt His feelings – in the same way you can hurt another human being.   He has no ‘agenda’ for you in the same way that others may have for you.  He does not have any pride on the line and does not insist on His way.  You need only seek His council to determine what the right thing is.  God ALWAYS wants relationships to be healed – He is a God of resolution, restoration and of healing.  If what you are being told does not lead in this direction – it is not from God.

I have learned this the hard way – and I’m still waiting for others in my life to get it too.

When our life is over – we will have to stand before God.  We will have no one to hide behind – no one to ‘cover us’ except Jesus.  And I believe when everything is stripped bare from our lives – God will allow us to see our lives and those ‘key moments’ in them – pointing to the obvious times where we had a choice to do the right thing.  No excuses.  No hiding.  No blaming.  It will come down to just us and God.  And when I stand before Him and He asks these questions:  ‘Did you do everything in your power to restore lost people to Christ?  Did you do everything in your power to restore those that had something against you?  Did you love them like I love them?’  I want to be able to answer – ‘Yes’ to all three.

I want to be found with an open heart.  One that followed my personal convictions – sometimes risking popularity and personal regard from key people in my life – to follow what was the right thing to do.  I want Him to find me with no regrets, no secrets, no agenda – for it will all be revealed in that moment.  Whether I did what was right – or whether I settled for the easier road.

I want to encourage you today.  Are you looking for ways to restore relationships in your life?  If you are – then your heart is following after the very heart of God.  Follow your convictions. Don’t allow others to tell you what they are. Don’t allow others – even well-meaning influences in your life – to tell you what is right for you.  Maybe you need to speak up.  Maybe you need to be silent.  Whatever it is – do the right thing.  Do it today.

God Bless

11 Things You Didn’t Learn In School

Cover of "Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why Amer...

Cover via Amazon

I just had to ‘borrow’ this list after seeing it today.  I think it works for everyone – and not just kids.



from Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles Sykes

Rule #1

Life is not fair – get used to it.

Rule #2

The world won’t care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule #3

You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school.  You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone, until you earn both.

Rule #4

If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.  He doesn’t have tenure.

Rule #5

Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping – they called it Opportunity.

Rule #6

If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule #7

Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now.  They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are.  So, before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule #8

Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not.  In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule #9

Life is not divided into semesters.  You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself.  Do that on your own time.

Rule #10

Television is NOT real life.  In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule #11

Be nice to nerds.  Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

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