Positive Thoughts - Just Because, In the Music Room

I can’t sing for you…

I don’t have your voice. I don’t have the special abilities that belong solely to YOU.

We tell kids what to do, what not to do, lead their lines and give them assignments and chores. How often, though, do we trust them to shine in their own talent?

 

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I heard a choir director years ago give the advice “do no sing for your students”. He went on to explain that if we are singing, then we’re not listening.

If we, parents and teachers, are always talking at, speaking for, singing for our children, are we giving them a chance to express themselves? Are we listening to them?

What if we show them how, give them the appropriate tools, then move out of their way?

Children are unlimited in their creativity and talent, and I have to believe that if we give them the opportunity and trust, they will far exceed our ideas and expectations.

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Positive Thoughts - Just Because

“It Doesn’t Matter” – the lie we tell ourselves

I love looking at life through the perspective of a child, simply because there’s always wisdom to be gained.

A little girl was recently telling me about her friend that had found new friends. She ended her story with a shrug and said, “it doesn’t matter”, but her eyes held distress.

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Too often, we speak those dismissive words of avoidance and say, “it doesn’t matter “.

What if we changed those words into truth, though? “It did matter, it did hurt, but I’m letting it go”.

We don’t realize the wounds we bury in the name of “it doesn’t matter “, yet those things build up and are never dealt with, and they become such weight on our souls.

To my tough little girl, I know you will be strong enough to allow yourself to move past the bruises. Because when you allow yourself to set the “doesn’t matters” aside, you free yourself to live the “does matters” of life that are much more worthy of our time, energy and attention.

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In the Music Room, My Favorite Things

‘Tis the Season!

Musicians always need an early start to prep and practice for seasonal music, and Christmas is no exception for the piano student.  I have found that playing traditional Christmas music causes huge learning leaps, and motivates like none other.  However, the trick is to pick versions that are playable without too much frustration so that the students do not become bogged down and forget about their regular music.  I recommend sticking with motivation to increase practice time.  Let’s call it “Christmas cheer without the fear!”  It’s also a great time to ask your student to show off what they’re playing, and perhaps ask for a Christmas Carol Sing-Along in which the whole family can participate!

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Click to download PianoGuys: A Family Christmas

Below are book recommendations for beginning piano students to year three.  The beauty of Christmas carols is that they are timeless and great for review at any stage!

Beginner to 1st year:

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Playtime Piano Christmas Level 1

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Popular Christmas Songs Primer Level

First to Second Year:

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ShowTime Piano Christmas Level 2A

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ChordTime Piano Christmas Level 2B

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Popular Christmas Songs Level 1

Second to Third Year:

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Popular Christmas Songs Level 2

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FunTime Piano Christmas Level 3A – 3B

(And of course, there’s that ultimate Christmas Surprise of a new piano to reward all that practice!)img_7237-1 #bestChristmasgiftever

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In the Kitchen

Simply Sweet Potatoes

I love fall flavors, and what food is more naturally fall than sweet potatoes? The struggle, though, is the temptation to load them with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows, soooo good!  Here’s a simple substitute that uses nothing but natural ingredients so that you skip the fat, not the flavors!

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Does it get easier than foil to clean up? Also, sliced pears are beyond delicious with this recipe!

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If you’re watching sugar intake, they’re yummy even without the honey drizzled…

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Simply bake them in 350 degree oven until soft when poked with a fork – that sounds official, right?  Enjoy!

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In the Kitchen, Positive Thoughts - Just Because

Coffee Connections

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Ed & Lori

I think I first started drinking coffee just so that I could sit out on the porch to have coffee and chat with my dad. It only took one cup, a porch and a rocking chair for me to realize how precious that time was. Through the years, we practiced making the perfect cup for each other, and maybe talk about life, or just sit there and enjoy each other’s company and silence. Either way, we had coffee and we were happy together.

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I remember him getting up a good hour earlier than he ever had to so that he could sit and have his coffee quietly without interruptions.  As I get older, I find myself doing the same thing and appreciating how peaceful it is to have the quiet time to think. Even though he is no longer with me, I am able to smile with every cup and be thankful for the time that we had.

Funny how such a simple habit as drinking coffee can create relationship bonds that run so deep.

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My Favorite Things, Positive Thoughts - Just Because

Unplugged – a counterintuitive approach

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I bought myself a present for Mother’s Day two years ago, an Apple Watch. So it might seem contradictory to purchase more technology to de-technology. Actually, it has served the reverse and accomplished my goal: to unplug.

You know that feeling of looking up after 15 minutes of being absorbed in messages, checking Facebook and Twitter, and oh, yeah, (what was the reason I pulled out my phone in the first place?) the text that came in. It is so easy to be drawn into technology that we become absent from life.

I only check the ONE message that comes in, and filter everything else that can wait.

Why? Because I’ve been completely guilty of ignoring life around me and being more interested in what is on the phone. Perhaps we use it as an escape from reality, an imaginary world that’s much greener.

That becomes a dangerous trap, though. I realized I was worried about what text I might be missing instead of listening to my daughter’s adventures of the day, or being “present” for family dinner. I heard myself tell her, “just a minute” as I finished perusing Facebook and finding that when I finished 10 minutes later, she no longer needed me.  Truth be told, I think even my baby dogs got jealous for attention when I was on the phone, as they would sit and stare at me with those sad “love me” eyes.

Thankfully, I found a way to sort through the rubble without missing the important. And hopefully, it’s my friends and family that get the first replies to messages, as they really are the real-life gifts that are worth being present!

 

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Positive Thoughts - Just Because

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”…

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…was the song on repeat in my mind as I woke up this morning.

(At least it wasn’t “The Gummy Bear Song”, that one has given me nightmares!).

The phrase particularly on my mind was “morning by morning, new mercies I see”.

Sometimes, though, we wake up and don’t automatically feel those mercies, those blessings around us.

As I had my back porch coffee, feeling BLAH, I was frustrated looking at the morning glories (perhaps they represent life’s chaos!) that are taking over everything. Until I spotted the little reminder popping through…

 

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