Musical New Year's Resolutions

So, how are you New Year's resolutions coming along? Are you having any luck keeping up your renewed commitment to your goals? This year I decided I needed to focus on having consistent music practice and taking my vitamin everyday. Neither one of them being very easy because I struggle with consistency. To help keep me focused I write in my calendar each day that I spend time at the piano and take my vitamin. So far it seems to be working. I have been able to boost my practice time to at least 4 times a week minimum. I have still missed a few days taking my vitamin but I am determined to keep at it.

The start of the New Year is a great time to reevaluate your life and create goals for yourself but it shouldn't be the only time. I regularly reassess my priorities and goals and decide what steps I need to take to make them a reality. Every six months or so seems to work for me. I keep a running list all year long of things that I want to accomplish. Not everything on that list will ever get done but you shouldn't expect that of yourself. It's just to unrealistic. A few examples on my list are to have a successful music studio, become a certified United Methodist church musician, regularly lead Taizė worship and workshops and be a full time church musician. I then list under each category what smaller things need to be completed before that goal is realized. Last year I got closer to finishing my certification by signing up to take my last class and I created the Raytown-Kansas City Community Taizė group at my church for regular Taizė worship opportunities in our area to fulfill my goal to lead Taizė worship.

I encourage all my students to find out what their goals are for study so that we can work together to bring them closer to those goals. Don't be afraid to start out small. Some people pick a specific song they would like to play or exercise they want to master. Others want to be more confident singing in the church choir or in front of people. If you are looking for more resolution ideas for musicians I would check out New Year's Resolutions for Musicians at About.com. So what are your goals for 2009? How are you making them a reality?


Quote of the Week "Make visible what..."

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
-Robert Bresson, French Film Director


Feeling Nastalgic: The Awakening by Joseph Martin

In high school I was introduced to Joseph Martin's, "The Awakening" by our combined men's chorus. I would later write college entrance essays explaining why I wanted to teach and be a professional musician based on this song. I had no idea that I would later rely on the many songs and cantatas of Joseph Martin during my first few years as a church music director. I have heard this piece done in SATB voicing but I always seem to gravitate back to the TTBB voicing for men's chorus.

The beauty of the piece "The Awakening" is that the dreamer is awakened so that his soul can sing and share the joy and splendor of music. He cries, “Let music never die in me! Forever let my spirit sing! Wherever emptiness is found, let there be joy and glorious sound. Let all our voices join as one to praise the Giver of the song.” The dreamer tells the silent world to awaken and “Let music live!” So, that joy and beauty can be felt and shared with everyone. That's a message we all could use right now in these uncertain times. Enjoy!


Music of the Inauguration

I woke up late today and almost forgot when the inauguration was going to happen today. I was pleasantly surprised once I became more sentient and I had a little breakfast by the amount of music involved in President Barack Obama's Inauguration ceremony this morning. The expected additions of the Marine Band and the singing of patriotic songs where there but what I was quite impressed with was the addition of an original, commissioned composition by composer John Williams for today's festivities. It was performed by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill. "Air and Simple Gifts" is a fantastic and moving piece that was crafted perfectly for the occasion. I couldn't have put together a more unique group of musicians for such a special performance. I was impressed by how effortlessly they played together. I know from experience how much coordination really needs to happen to put a group like that together. I can't wait to learn more about these amazing musical talents. I couldn't resist posting a clip. Enjoy!


Quote of the Week "Real joy comes..."

“Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.”
- Sir Wilfred Grenfell


Bobby McFerrin Sings Ave Maria

I must admit that my knowledge of Bobby McFerrin's work was limited to the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" song that my sister and I would sing to irritate my Dad. It wasn't his favorite. I was pleased to stumble upon these two clips to share with you and I would encourage you to watch his other videos. They all are quite stunning. Enjoy!

The first clip I would like to share is McFerrin singing a very familiar Bach Prelude with the audience singing the popular Ave Maria on top. The whole experience is just fascinating to me. To see people from different walks of life that make up that audience come together and all sing the same song. It's really beautiful. I would have loved to have been there.

I couldn't resist putting in this second clip. My daughter Madeline has been working on singing the Alphabet song and learning to recognize her letters. We were mesmerized listening to this version of the favorite children's song.


Playing Music for Change

The award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The creators, Mark Johnson and Jonathan Walls went around the world to bring people of all types to play together.

Stand by Me
From the documentary, "Playing for Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it traveled the globe. This and other songs such as "One Love" will be released as digital downloads soon; followed by the film soundtrack and DVD early next year.

Join the Movement
Join the Movement to help build schools, connect students, and inspire communities in need through music. Sign up at the Playing for Change Foundation http://www.playingforchange.org for updates and exclusive content.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin