Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's it all for? (Part 1)

What would you ask yourself after experiencing one of these situations?

Situation #1:
You're sitting in a high school room for a Solo and Ensemble competition. The judge is going on her fifth hour in her duties, and yet another parent comes up to inquire:  "When will my child have their turn? The time table is confusing."  The tired judge, instead of answering, raises her voice and shouts to all thirty people in the room, "I want everyone to get this straight, I am in charge and your child will play when I say it's their turn, okay!?"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Savior Like Thee

Being the Sabbath, I thought I would share a simple slideshow set to music I wrote that tries to convey my feelings as a Christian seeking God's grace.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lessons in a Garden

So, it's almost midnight and I'm sleeping down in the basement guestroom with three of my kids as we try to keep Adam from getting the gumboo we all have. It's too hot and I can't sleep and as my little "daysies" snore and chatter in their dream worlds I feel like posting thoughts I've had while watering my garden.

I have to water our flowers and our little square-foot garden twice a day this summer.   Our sprinklers don't reach most of them and I've procrastinated planting until right before the hot season and they aren't established enough to withstand the heat - they need babying. I've already lost the vine near the front porch - scorched by the brick getting too hot I presume - it was doing well until I had the idea to stake up the stray guys to the trellis. Now their crisp and dried leaves and stems make me feel like I tied them up to be burned at the stake.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Music Pyramid

I was at the Thomas Jefferson Education Forum and the keynote speaker was James Ferrell, who is the CEO of Arbinger. In his lecture, he described the pyramid shown below.

While listening to Ferrell, I did something a mentor of mine had suggested once. I restated in my notes and in my mind what I was hearing as if I were going to teach it to someone else. But my mind wandered a bit and I wrote down how I'd teach it if I were to apply it directly to music.

It was quite eye opening. First, though, I probably need to explain quickly a few things about this pyramid for those that aren't familiar with it. You can also download a free article at the above Arbinger link called "The Parenting Pyramid" that is short and will illustrate the idea better than I will in a few sentences. As you will see, this pyramid applies to more than just parenting.

What James Ferrell illustrated in his speech was that level two of the pyramid and everything above it are behaviors and behaviors can be done in one of two ways of being:
Seeing others as people.
Seeing others as objects.

That's what the lowest level refers to - where is your heart - are you putting up walls and not seeing others and/or yourself clearly (are you in "the box") or are you open to others, letting them and their humanity touch you and your humanity touch them - do you have a heart at peace with others.

The three lessons as Ferrel taught that day are in slightly different words below:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Desire to Communicate

I once read a book that talked about a man's experience in the afterlife while he was in a coma. Whether or not you believe such things are possible, I think something he described has a lot to do with music and art. He talked about what happens when people embrace there. He described it as being one of his favorite parts of his experience.

People did not say "Hi" or shake hands, they embraced and it was like you gave "a feeling and synopsis of your life to one another. Suddenly you [knew] and [understood] a person in ways far beyond any verbal communication. It [created] an instant bond . . . [that built] a foundation for loving one another more perfectly." (from The Message by Lance Richardson)

I think that music and other forms of art can give us a similar experience here - especially music. Leo Tolstoy says in What is Art that true art is "a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress towards well-being of individuals." I'd recommend reading all that is found at the previous link (or the whole book - which is what I'm working on currently).

There is a reason that music has been called the "universal language." It has the ability to communicate in a way that language cannot. But why doesn't it do that every time? Why do I come away disappointed from some concerts that are performed perfectly and yet come away "fed" and inspired by other musicians that may have been technically accurate or not? Why can some performances communicate to me and join an audience together and others not? I think these are very important questions. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Child Sense"

I mentioned in my last post that my daughter is always stealing my laptop to work on her poetry book. I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

Chores shmores
Horrible chores

How I hate to clean.
Mess it up,
Have some fun,
Cleaning mommies are mean!

Put it a
Take it back out

Wipe it all up Spill it and shout
Why not just leave it be?

Play days are happy,
Cleaning is crappy!

A messy house is my dream!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exactly what?

Exactly what did Sir Francis Bacon mean when he said,

"Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, writing an exact man."

As I ask myself that, it brings to mind the quote,

"Language most shows a man; speak, that I may see thee."
~ Ben Jonson

or as Arthur Henry King restates it,

"Write that I may see thee."

With so many writing blogs these days, that's a lot of people exposing themselves to the world. So dare I venture forth into that throng of people? The answer always added up to a "no" until now.

Two years ago I listened to an audiobook version of, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. I thought the book would give me a creative boost to help me delve into any form of creativity, not just writing. Actually, music composition was what I had in mind. Although I have recently dabbled in arranging some pieces, the book mostly impelled me to want to . . . well, write!  I listened to the book and remembered how as a child I used to punch holes in a stack of paper and tie them together with yarn to make little books of my own under the pen name of Elizabeth Montgomery - it sounded regal to my 7 year old mind. Ironically enough,