Cause it makes me happy...

Autumn Time

20191009_143208

Hello there, friends!

Autumn is in full swing here.  Do you know how I know?  The bushes in my back yard have turned a brilliant shade of red.  Flaming red.  They make me so happy.  Oh, and you want to know what else makes me feel happy?  My one living flower in the back yard.  It’s a sunflower that my son planted several months ago.  Bright yellow amid the wilting leaves from our garden.  It’s even MORE impressive to me because we did not do anything to it besides plant it and let the automatic sprinkler do its job.  This year our garden philosphy was “do whatever the heck you’re going to do, little seeds.”  We got a few cherry tomatoes and a gorgeous sunflower.  And I’m VERY happy with that.

This past month has been a mixed bag for me.  I have had an opportunity to “practice my patience” (a phrase Levi’s kindergarten teacher used regularly last year- brilliant…) as I healed from a procedure and then turned around and got a doozy of a cold which threw me back to flat on my back for a week.  Though I have missed my regular healthy self, I am coming back to the table with more than before.  Isn’t that how it goes?  The hard, steep learning curves we experience are not the things we usually would choose to go through, but we get to take with us the gold nuggets we find along the way.  I am a better human being because of the learning that has taken place this month.  Lots to be grateful for.

Because I promised to take you along on my musical journey this year, I want to update you (and hold myself accountable!).  Here are a few little tidbits, and with any luck, I’ll be checking in a little more frequently in the coming weeks!

-I LOVE journals.  I purchased a beautiful journal at the beginning of this school year (Mom gets to school-shop too, right?!) and I have used it to process music-related thoughts.  It has been magical to sit down and start my music sessions by writing.  Who knew?  I have always been someone who loved to talk things out, but there ain’t anything talking back at me during the school day currently (unless you count Siri…).  Journalling has allowed me a way to bounce thoughts off….myself!  It probably helps that my journal greets me with “Hello, Sunshine!” every morning.  I have been a typing journal writer for some time now (I print out my journal once a year and put it in a binder) but I’ve rediscovered the magic (and therapy!) writing my thoughts can be.20191009_143421

-Have you heard of Richie Norton?  My sister and brother-in-law introduced me to the 76 day challenge he created to help us “do something stupid”-  essentially work toward your big crazy dream.  I started the 76 day challenge when the boys went back to school and I have LOVED it.  The structure is just what my black and white brain needed to get on track, and it has really helped me settle into what I really want to accomplish and get to work.  It’s funny that as an adult I still find the hardest part just sitting my bum down and getting to work.  I’ve been using a timer (as he suggests) when I’m doing my “dream work” and it’s surprised me how long 15 minutes feels…I think “Seriously?  Haven’t I been working on this for over a half an hour?!”  Nope….apparently I’m working to extend my attention span…Seriously- here’s the link in case you want to try it too.  It’s fabulous!

-I’m chasing rainbows, people!  Actually what it really looks like is doing something out-of-the-box to create.  For example, I decided that it sounded fun to play the flute.  So I borrowed a flute from a friend and this morning, for my 1/2 hour of Joyful M.E time (I’ll have to explain later…) I played around with the flute (looked up fingerings online) and came up with a melody.  Turned out I had only been playing around for 15 minutes, so I decided to hop on the piano and crank out an accompaniment.  I was so delighted at how it was turning out that I pulled up my music program and input the music into my program- voila- I have sheet music for my new song….wait for it….”The Flute-y March.”  The point of all this is that I’m re-learning that “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.  FIND it, and snap!  The job’s a game!”  Thank you Mary Poppins.  But honestly, I’ve approached this music thing WAY too seriously so many times and it just gets stressful.  Today?  It felt magical.  With that concept, I’ve been thinking about how crazy it is that we can “hear” someone smiling while they’re singing (sometimes).  Do you think you can “hear” stress?  Or can you “hear” how magical someone felt creating it?  Something to think about!

Much love,

Laura20191009_143324.jpg

(Oh nuts- the sunflower decided that it had had enough today and fell to the ground.  But even on the ground it’s sunny and beautiful! 🙂

Cause it makes me happy...

Rotten Food

photos_2015_09_18_fst_265fueeeitr

Hey friends,

I just spent way too long trying to track down a quote that I heard a few months ago.  To no avail.  This is essentially what it said: “Writing your first draft is like sitting down to a meal with rotten food.”  I thought this was hilarious at the time, but since then, I’ve been experiencing it in real time as I’ve been trying to finish the big piece that has been really challenging to tie up (and now I find the reference to rotten food even more amusing than before!).  The funny thing is that even for the most brilliant musicians (as a general rule), something inspiring and brilliant doesn’t often come out on the first try.  It usually comes out rocky and stuttering initially.  Why does that surprise us?  It sounds, well, human…And yet, when we sit there looking at what we feel like is rotten food, it is hard for us to believe anything good can come of it, and we often want to just throw it all in the garbage.  (Let’s make that “I just want to throw it in the garbage!”)

But if we throw it away at that stage, we will never get to experience the magic that comes through the process.  It’s the editing that cleans up all the rough spots and messes and makes it glow.  That’s not to say that you or I never have moments that it just flows and we feel full of inspiring ideas.  However, at least for me, this “stroke of genius” happens infrequently and for brief moments.  This is good news, because otherwise, until genius strikes, we have to wait for it.  With reality as it is, get that first draft down (gag if you must) so the process of refining, editing, and shining can take place.  The trick, I’m learning, is to move my work through the process of drafting, editing, finishing faster so that my brain learns when it sees rotten food that there are more courses to come- and it’s worth staying at the table!

Happy creating!

Love

Laura

Cause it makes me happy...

PMA

IMG_2527
A favorite view on my run

Hello friends!

Today I wanted to spend time writing music, but for some reason I was in a real “blah” type funk.  Nothing in particular was going badly, I just couldn’t get myself motivated to write.  So I decided to go on a run.  Best idea I’ve had all day.  The fresh air felt wonderful, and the snow had melted off my little trail that I like to run on (there’s a hill that I run up first that gives me a great burst of “I got this” right off the bat!).  Don’t get any big ideas- I’m not training for a marathon or anything- I go about a mile.  But it is just right for me.

Anyway- as I was running, I saw a man in his 60’s on a bike, and I saw that he rode into a driveway (presumably his driveway) that I was just about to run past.  He wasn’t facing me when I looked over to say hello, so I kept running and assumed he would rather not interact.  It took me by surprise when a moment later he called out,

“How’s your PMA?”

I turned to look at him (still running) with a confused look on my face.

“I don’t know what that means!” I called back, amused.  (I think initially I thought he was going to say PMS and I was about to be really confused why a stranger would yell that out).

“Positive Mental Attitude!!” he explained with a smile.

Duh- I could have figured that one out.

“Oh!  Great!” I yelled over my shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.

I don’t remember his reply, but I smiled as I ran on.  First of all, what an awesome human being.  It makes me want to go calling out “How’s your PMA?” to the next few strangers I pass :).

But besides that, it got me in a totally different frame of mind.  PMA can do that, you know.  And a run.  So, stranger, how’s your PMA?

Cause it makes me happy...

Monday Musings

Friends, it’s been a while!  Outside it’s sunny and white (we enjoy 4 seasons up here!) and it’s been a great day so far.

I’m in the middle of several projects but don’t have a lot of finished pieces to post just yet.  Instead today I thought I’d share 3 things about me.

1- I LOVE nutella.  I eat it by the spoonful, with a banana, on bread (my favorite!) or on icecream.  I think it’s more than the flavor that gets me- it’s a very nostalgic treat.  Before you could even buy it in the United States, my cousins who lived in Europe sent it to our family for Christmas.  I can remember eating nutella on bread with my little brother in the kitchen and it brings back fond memories.

2- I am taking voice lessons!  I have quite a bit of experience with singing, including voice lessons in college, but there are some technique issues that have always haunted me and I knew once all my kids were in school that I wanted to work on my voice again.  Mostly I wanted to have a healthy voice that wouldn’t go hoarse after singing for 5 minutes (aka figure out how to do it right!).  I’m really enjoying learning and am making a lot of progress!

3- I have recently shifted my focus from primarily song-writing to doing some orchestrating work.  (That basically means writing for orchestra instruments – so several different instruments on a particular work rather than just piano or piano and voice.)  I have enjoyed some sample lessons from Berklee Online and instructional podcasts and articles from artofcomposing.com which have been an essential part of teaching myself how to do these new skills!  It’s been a fun adventure so far!