Within Us

Great things exist within each of us

Light and love and joy

Only sometimes we must feel the darkness too

Reality is not all fun and games

It would make the strength to grow weak

Only in adversity can we add depth to the music of our souls

Utilizing what we feel and fear and love for resonance

So listen to the song of your soul, for it tells where you are from and where you will go

Loyalty to the Music – Eclectic Corner #13

IMAG1110

image: my sister playing the piano with her husband and child listening; from martha0stout’s phone

Practice makes progress. –my nephew’s t-shirt

Years passed, she grew her hair out, cut it off, bleached it and dyed it kelly green. The coloring grew out and she walked down the aisle of folding chairs towards a stage where she smiled and shook hands with her former principal and received the piece of rolled up paper that she’d worked long and hard to gain.

She applied for university and received admittance. Long days and even longer nights were spent in study and practice.

So much practice.

“Why did I decide to go into Music Education and become a band director again?”

Her roommate shrugged as she flipped another page in her textbook, “You know, I can’t remember. Probably because, out of all of your siblings, you were one of the few who loved learning instruments so much that you went from the piano to the violin to the cello to percussion and at that point, you might have wondered, ‘Well, why not learn them all?'”


This story is based on one of my sisters who did indeed learn most of the instruments that are spread throughout my family rather than just one or two like the rest of us. (She also did that thing with her hair, though I have no idea how it ended up in here.)

This was inspired by this month’s Eclectic Corner #13: Loyalty and yes, I did all three parts of the challenge at once again because that just seems to work best for me at the moment.

A Language Of It’s Own – Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for the power of music, for the rise and fall of the rhythm as the measures march on. The crescendos and the decrescendos, the feeling behind the words or the harmony or even just the simple notes of the melody. With lyrics or with just sounds of the instrument, it is a language all on its own and it is full of emotion.

Check out the original Thankful Thursday. (I will update the link when able.)

EDIT: Link updated as of July 18, 2015.

Walk Through The Night – Thankful Thursday

Today I am grateful for all the times my mother sang us to sleep as children. She loves music and wrote different lullabies for each of her eight children and some of her friends’ children as well. I have no children as of yet, but I do have ten nieces and nephews and I have sung each of them to sleep at least once using music that my mother used to sing me to sleep with. Sadly I do not have a recording of any of her lovely music, but I do have a song written and performed by Cherie Call that reminds me very much of what my mom did every other night for her children. (It was every other night because she switched off with Dad, who told us stories to lull us to sleep.)

Check out the original Thankful Thursday.

Old Song, New Thoughts

Listening to music is something I have done my whole life. Everyone in my immediate family growing up played at least one instrument besides voice. A lot of us played several and each of us knew how to read piano sheet music to some extent even if we didn’t know how to play it.

I listened to my mom create music from the melodies that she said life was made of. (I’m paraphrasing that in a horrible way, by the way.) She loves music, loves to play whatever comes to mind. She even writes some of it down.

Today, I’m listening to someone play one of my mom’s more complex pieces and realizing that though it isn’t played the same way, it’s still just as heart-stoppingly beautiful. In fact, it’s like hearing something I’ve heard all my life being played in a new arrangement even though it’s not.

It causes me to sit and ponder the meaning of the song, a song that is as much a lullaby that my mother sang to us as played for others, in completely new ways.

Musical Crowd

Music has a certain…something…that reaches into the human heart and brings out our souls.

Music has been a large part of my life since day one. My mother takes time to write little lullabies for each of her children shortly after their births. My father would play music on his record player for us while Mom would sing or hum us to sleep.

This is on my mind for one reason. My niece has taken to listening to her iPod (it’s really her mom’s) on a little speaker plug-in that she got for Christmas last year. One of the songs happened to catch my attention for a bit and I couldn’t help but listen to it even though I had work I was supposed to be doing on the other end of the house.

Sometimes songs that I’ve known since I was a pre-teen sneak up on me with a pow! right to my heart.

You are the one who keeps your dream alive
And you are the one who feels the rhythm deep inside
Do you ever wonder if can make you fly?
But you will never know, if you don’t really try.
 
There’s so many fast frames
Quick cuts and a million stars
 
Can make you wonder
Can make you dream ahead from the start
When you know your heart and follow your own destiny
 
Don’t get lost in the crowd
Be the one to be strong and turn heads around
Even from dark to light
You are the spark
 
You have the fire
You are the heart
New be a believer
Don’t get lost in the crowd
 
Look around you,  you may not be
The latest fashion or in a magazine
Or under high profiles but you will be
A sweet inspiration if you got your own style
 
There’s so many fast frames
Quick cuts and a million stars
 
Pulling you away from what you really love
If you sing your own song straight from your heart
You’ll find yourself rising above
 
Don’t get lost in the crowd
Be the one to be strong and turn heads around
Even from dark to light
You have the spark
 
You have the fire
You are the heart
now be a believer
Don’t get lost in the crowd
 
‘Cause we live in a world of so many choices
It’s hard to find our own voices
And keep going on from day to day
So get with the earth and get with the sky
Get with the inside
 
Don’t get lost in the crowd
Be the one to be strong and turn heads around
Even from dark to light
You have the spark and the fire
 
You are the heart
Now be a believer
Don’t get lost in the crowd
 
–From Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd by Ashley Ballard

Prima Dona

Out of everything that she did, she loved the dancing most of all.

Whenever there was a chance she would flit about the room she was in as if she were on stage in a beautiful dress, the appropriate shoes adorning her feet and a lovely tiara on her brow. The music would change, different instruments and beats filling the air around her as she would move this way and that.

One foot did not bend the correct way and her knees would often give out at the most awkward moment, sending her sprawling across the floor. Her imaginary dress dissolved into nothing more than a sheet or a blanket or nothing but the magic dust of her mind. Her tiara would clang on the ground and roll away while one sock hung off a foot and the other turned under.

With a wince, she’d pull herself to her knees and then to her feet, limping away as the music played on.

Secretly, despite the pain, a smile would curl up her lips.

image found: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/595871

Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompts (http://theseekersdungeon.com/2014/04/10/dungeon-prompts-season-2-week-15-self-expression/) and because this would happen a lot to me as a child. I was a clumsy thing full of too much energy and not enough grace, but I loved to dance no matter how badly I did so.

Stop me?

Music has always been an important part of my family. My father plays the trumpet, the french horn and sings in his church choir when he has the time. My mother plays the piano and trained to be a professional opera singer (though she decided to have children instead of going into it as a career in the end.) She also writes and arranges music or the piano, voice, string and woodwind. My mother taught all of us some piano and how to sing correctly (posture and breathing and all that). None of us escaped picking an instrument to learn on the side.

My eldest sister learned a little guitar and flute, though she never went farther than the basics with those two. She did learn to compose and write her own piano and vocal music.

My second eldest sister learned the trumpet and was in every band available from ninth grade on. She is also very skilled with the piano and her voice.

My third eldest sister learned a little bit of everything as she majored in Music Education in college and actually taught orchestra, band and a little choir before having children. She still teaches piano and violin and has her own drum set (among other instruments: flute, clarinet, organ, etc.)

My elder brother learned clarinet. He didn’t go very far on the piano because he just didn’t want to. (You can make a child sit at the piano for an hour; you can’t make him press any of the keys.)

My fourth elder sister learned trumpet and a little guitar. She was fairly good at the piano, but loved her art more than her music. She was in the A Capella Choir in her senior year of high school.

My youngest sister is very talented musically. She mostly learned the trumpet and singing. She did take some piano but quit because of other interests. When she was a teenager, she taught herself to play the piano by ear using only what little she remembered from grade school. She also was in high school choirs and bands with her trumpet. She learned a little guitar and a little flute and learns most instruments fairly quickly. (Lucky girl…)

My youngest brother (the baby of the family) learned the trumpet and voice as well, but he did not pursue either beyond middle school (although he does sing in our church choir as well.)

I learned slightly more piano than some of my siblings, but never got to the same proficiency as my eldest three sisters. I learned the flute and all but mastered it though it was a very large struggle. (I once spent three months learning how to play three notes. And at least one month before that on my posture alone.) Like the others I also learned some voice and took part in choir in high school and then the church choir.

The flute, on the other hand, was hard. It took me several years before middle school with a private teacher (friend of one of my elder sisters who played beautifully and was a great teacher!) Many people thought later that I was a genius with the flute. I was not. I hated learning that instrument and it left me many times in tears, in frustration, in the physical need to chuck that thing at the nearest wall screaming.

I didn’t, but some days it felt like a very near thing.

I had initially picked the flute because my eldest sister had played it for a bit and then given it up. I had loved the sounds she could coax out of it and thought that I would learn it easily enough.

That did not happen.

I spent the first year only having learned one note and that from the other players in my little elementary school band. The teacher, a man that wasn’t the best teacher, didn’t like me. He didn’t do very much with the flute players in his band (he mostly ignored us even though we were in the front of the group). He informed me once that I would never learn how to play the flute.

I don’t like being told I can’t do something like that.

I decided that I was going to learn that woodwind if it killed me.

It didn’t, but it was still a great pain in my neck. (Have you ever had to practice holding up a rod on metal for thirty minutes without the end dipping too high or too low? My teacher used a pencil in the end and if it moved then I had to start all over again. I had to do this for practice every single day until I could do it and play and not dip the end of my flute and wreck my posture and breathing.)

The only thing I had going for me with music was that I had perfect pitch. I had to learn everything else the hard way. I didn’t mind doing so as my mother taught me that if you really want something, you will see it through and do it right.

No power in the verse can stop me. -River Tam, “Firefly”

On the bright side, my parents had purchased most of the instruments prior to ever having children when my dad was in the Air Force. Even with little money as children had a nice selection of musical instruments to learn from without having to worry about rental costs.

Music comes easily to some of my siblings, but we all have a passion for learning it even if our reasons differ.


Written in response to today’s Daily Post prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/daily-prompt-we-got-the-beat/

If you have the persistence to learn something that you’re bad at (and trust me, I was truly awful) then you have the guts to do just about anything with your life.

Miss You

You know the bed feels warmer, sleepin’ here alone. –Kelly Clarkson

Warren looked down the short hallway towards his son’s room.

Terry wasn’t home yet, despite the late hour, but Warren wasn’t too worried. Terry was a good kid, despite the recent problems in turning in his classwork. He knew that his son knew what was required and he also knew that his son was still upset about the split between his parents.

Warren missed his wife. Despite the legal papers stating otherwise, Mary was still his wife and he loved her and missed her. He missed holding her in his arms as they fell asleep after a long day at work. He missed breathing in the slight scent that always emanated from her no matter what she tried to cover it up with. She smelled like fire and ice but without the smokey undertones that most people would associate with those two scents mixing.

“Warren, I don’t want to smell like that! It makes me think of Al’s science lab.”

“Mary,” he’d respond, “Al’s lab doesn’t smell like that. It smells like chemical fire and acid ice. They are not the same thing.”

“That is not the point. I’m trying to smell-”

“‘Normal’? Mary, there’s nothing wrong with smelling different than the norm.”

She’d frown at him and he’d smooth a finger between her eyes and tease her about getting wrinkles there too early.

He missed being able to treat her like his wife.

The door downstairs opened.

“I’m home, Dad!”

Warren smiled.