Thought

Chug, Chug, Chug….

denis-chick-mHqIs22M2Kw-unsplash
Photo by Denis Chick

I promised to take you along on my music journey this year, remember?  I didn’t forget.  My little music train has being chugging along- a little slower than planned because of some unanticipated stops, but it’s still moving!  Jump on for a few minutes and I’ll catch you up on where I’ve been.

September:

I helped the boys adjust to being back in school. They did fabulous!  I began to shift gears and get back into a routine.  I set goals, and looked forward to making some progress with my music journey (did I tell you how much I enjoyed Richie Norton’s 76 day challenge?).

Mid-month I went to my doctor to get a procedure done that was much more painful and a much longer recovery than anticipated.  My compassion for others who are in pain grew exponentially (aka holy cow that was rough).

October:

I finally felt like myself for one day before my entire family became very sick for several weeks.  Flat-on-our-backs type sick.  Kids took turns staying home from school and I played nurse-mom.

In the minutes to myself, I was privileged to learn from the great Hans Zimmer through his masterclass (online).  Wow that was fun!

November:

It had been two months since school had started and I had made very little progress with my goals (you can see why!).  The boys were back in school so I had more free time than I’d had for weeks, but I felt SO discouraged.  I spent much of the month wondering if I even wanted to write music.  I wondered if I even liked writing music.  Maybe I was barking up the wrong tree.

A good friend spent a lot of time listening to me during November.  She and I talked a lot about hope, and it was through her that I started to find my footing again.  Through our chats I realized that the “unknowns” of my music journey were part of what was making me feel so frustrated, not necessarily music itself.  Maybe I didn’t hate writing music after all!

I also worked on a hymn arrangement of “Abide with Me” for two women’s voices and piano.

December:

Early December I began singing lessons again.  It has been a joy to learn from a wonderful teacher.

Family is my number one and the holidays didn’t leave a lot of room for music time, but I managed to meet up with a friend in Spokane who helped me record a song I wrote with a friend called “Feels Right” (it’s not done, but I hope to share it soon!).

January:

Kids going back to school and New Years Goals gave me a fresh start.  I needed it.  I set some new goals (for one thing, I wanted to write music every day, even if it was only a few notes!) and felt like I was gaining momentum.

I started taking some online classes- one on music for film, one about orchestration, and one on composing.  One night, at about 9:00, I finished analyzing a piece Beethoven wrote for a string quartet.  My husband came in to the bedroom where I was putting away my headphones and I commented, “How did I ever think this was not my thing?  Who else analyzes Beethoven at night and feels like they’re a kid in a candy store?!”  I started remembering why I love music (listening to it and writing it!).

Then my youngest son broke his leg snowboarding.  Actually getting off the lift.  The first lift of the day.  Bummer.

IMG_20200125_180637895
Photo of my son’s broken leg taken at Deer Park, Washington Urgent Care

Fortunately he loves his wheelchair (we’re headed in to X-ray it again Monday!) so it’s been as easy as having a full leg-cast could be.

February:

After an initial recovery period, my youngest son went back to school full time, loving the ramps (“I get to ride down them while everyone else walks, mom!”) and doing very well.  My oldest had been fighting an infection on his big toe which climaxed in a minor surgery last week.

Two and a half weeks ago I was asked to write an arrangement (using three existing children’s songs), gather some friends to perform it, practice with them, and share it- today.  It would have been a tight enough timeline as it was, but I knew that we were leaving for Banff, Alberta (for an anniversary trip!) in a few days.  Though that didn’t give me much time, I was excited to have an opportunity to write for something that was already scheduled to be performed- not a common opportunity for me currently.  This morning I had the honor of singing “Trying” with some talented friends at a Women’s Conference.  

And that brings you up to speed!  It’s been a busy couple of months.

I’ll leave you with an experience that I’ve been pondering from last week:

At my voice lesson, Stazya (my teacher) was helping me with a vocal exercise.  I was singing a pattern of notes that would get higher each time I finished the pattern successfully.  It was getting high, and I was having a hard time adjusting in the higher range.  After an attempt that didn’t sound the way I wanted it to, she looked at me and said, “Everything is set up and working right with your voice and your breathing.  Now you just need to let go in order for the voice to be free.  You just simply have to let go.

ankush-minda-VcD5OD2jDGA-unsplash
Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

What in your life is technically ready and working, but in order for it to really soar, “you just simply have to let it go”?

TTFN,

Laura

Thought

Back Atcha!

20190903_073438(0)

Hello friends- I’m back!  Today marks the first day of an exciting new day for these 3 handsome boys (!!!) and a new season for me here at Melodies of Light!

Last spring I was trying to decide what to do with my website during the summer while I had my kiddos home.  A friend mentioned off-hand how much she respects Barbra Streisand because of a story she had heard.  Apparently when she had her baby, for the several months following, she didn’t formally rehearse or even practice vocals at home for an event that was scheduled a few months later- she was just present with her baby during that time.  She made a conscious decision not to carve out time to keep up her voice while she was healing and bonding with her baby, and decided that she would “sound how she would sound” singing in her performance because this was baby’s time.

I was inspired by that (thanks for sharing, Bridget!), and I want to have that kind of presence in whatever it is that I’m doing.  So my summer was for the kids- working and playing and sunshine and peaches and rafting and painting and soccer.  Man alive, we had a great time!  Now the kids are back to school (already?!) and I’m back to say hello and see what I can add to the collective light in this world.  I’m excited for all the adventures this school year will bring!

My plan is to take you with me on my journey of discovery this year as I explore music, creativity, family, and anything else that just makes me happy along the way.  I hope you’ll join me!

Love,

Laura

Thought

Random thoughts for Friday

I have some random thoughts for you today.  This week I set a goal to “Dream in Words” and “Dream in Music” every day.  The cool thing?  It means whatever I want it to mean since I’m the one that wrote the goal- ha!  But for today, you can join me as I “Dream in Words”….

1- Life is about process.  I have been taught this my whole life, but I’m just discovering it.  If you clutch the destination in a death grip, you’re going to miss a whole lot of joy in the process.  What if it’s not about “getting there” anyway?  What if you take out the concept of time entirely, and every day is about savoring what is?  That doesn’t mean you get complacent and become a couch potato; acceptance can actually lead to greater growth than stressed-out-running-toward-the-goal-at-break-neck-speed efforts can.  We talk about this a lot in our home currently.  There’s a certain amount of accelerating your pace that can make you go faster (run up and grab your backpack that you left at the top of the stairs).  After that, it slows you down (faster, faster, hurry, hurry, we’re going to be late!).  That’s because it’s not really accelerating at the point- it just adding tension that you THINK is increasing speed.  It doesn’t help.

2- The world awaits!  Remember when you were little and you believed you could be an astronaut?  How long has it been since you dreamed like that?  Can you still be one?  Sure!  Maybe you don’t want to do everything required to be an astronaut right now.  It would require a lot more than you thought it did at age 6, but the point is that you COULD run toward that dream if you really wanted to and if it was valuable enough to you.  Today at my voice lesson my teacher proved that.  When I first started taking lessons I figured that if I could confidently sing a C or D (the octave above middle C) I would be content.  An E would be icing on the cake.  Within a few lessons my teacher told me that she thought I was not only a soprano but a high soprano.  What?  Me?  I didn’t believe her at first, but today I was confidently (at least for that hour!) singing an F (above the C that I told you would be the icing!) and attempting a G above that.  I walked out of my voice lesson (on the clouds!) thinking, “Wow do I set my sights low sometimes!”

At this phase of my life, I’m not sure if (1) getting consistent, full nights of sleep that allow my brain to process the options or (2) having space during my day while my kids are in school is more responsible for creating a wonderful, expansive feeling that the world awaits.  But I am left considering this thought: there are so many possibilities and opportunities at my fingertips – so dream big!  The truth is that I can learn to do just about anything I decide I want to- and that feels SO good!

3- I just finished the audiobook “Finish.”  I didn’t realize till I had started it that I never had finished an audiobook- and I was determined to get all the way through (it seemed almost sinful to not finish a book with that title…).  It has a lot of interesting concepts, but my favorite one is this:  identify your “hiding places”- places where you go to hide from finishing your big goal that sometimes intimidates you.  Often it’s something like social media that you swipe into without even thinking.  It may be Netflix; whatever it is that is an easy escape.  Goals take effort and you never will accidentally find yourself doing it.  For example, no one ever has said, “Hey I was watching my favorite show on Netflix and the next thing I knew I was doing burpees.”  Never.  It just doesn’t happen.  It takes concerted effort to get off the couch and work out, so it will never happen without you knowing you did it!  I thought this example was hilarious- and so true.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Dream Big!

Love,

Laura

Thought

Neon

art-bright-colorful-134

I see life in neon.  Usually.  It’s really not an exaggeration- I just experience the world that way.  Typically, I love it this way.  It means that I can soak in a beautiful morning till my heart just about bursts with joy, that I experience excitement and energy in a really dynamic way, and that I get passionate about things and throw my whole self into a project or person who needs my attention.  It also means that my lows are typically lower too- so when I’m discouraged or down, it can feel pretty dismal at times.  But to me, it’s worth it for all the joy I get to feel.

My husband tends to see in shades of gray.  I used to ask him to rate the dinner I just made on a scale from 1-10 and I couldn’t figure out why we hovered at a decent 7 almost  every night.  It’s not that he disliked the food, he just found it satisfying and was content.  6.5 was pretty gross (don’t repeat this one) and 8 was worth celebrating!  As you can surmise, Jon is my rock and without him I’m be all kinds of crazy.

One of the most productive conversations Jon and I ever had was one where we talked about how differently we see the world.  It’s not that we had never talked about this, but suddenly we came to a new discovery (this was after at least 10 years of marriage!).

Jon commented “It’s like you’re talking in football fields and I’m talking in centimeters!” (And actually, to be accurate I’d have to delete the exclamation mark, because he rarely speaks with exclamation marks.  But I’m writing, so it stays!)  How intriguing!  In some ways, he feels like I inflate reality, and I feel like he dulls it down- and yet it’s just a matter of how we experience life.  As we peeled back the layers further, we realized that the best thing we could do is learn to “convert”.  If I’m trying to convert centimeters to inches, there’s a formula to do that (“divide the length value by 2.54” google reminds  me…).  When I’m talking in football fields, Jon can learn to convert to centimeters (“what does that look like in centimeters?”  How can I understand that on my scale?)  And I can do the same when he’s talking in centimeters.

I wonder if sometimes that’s why I find it hard to fully express myself in music.  6’s and 7’s are great and all, but I need to find 9’s and 10’s, and 2’s and 3’s.  What does that “look” like with music writing?  Perhaps that’s one reason I’ve felt drawn to explore orchestration in a way I never have before.  Perhaps the variety with timbre and color will help me express to a greater depth.  I won’t know till I try!

Happy Thursday!

Love

Laura

Thought

Sing!

Hello Friends!  I’m back to share a little video I found last night.  My mom told me recently about how amazing Linda Ronstadt is- if you look her up on youtube you can find the variety of different singing styles she performed in throughout her life- and it is a LOT- from pop to classical (shout-out for Pirates of Penzance!) to mariachi.  Here she talks about what life is like not being able to sing anymore.  She has Parkinson’s now, and can’t even sing in the shower.  It’s a good reminder for me to enjoy what my voice CAN do now, even while I’m still working on it!

TTFN!

~Laura

Thought

Light the World!

meme-bednar-light-1629580-mobile

Last night as Jon and I were chatting before bed, we realized that we’re already done with all the Christmas parties for this season (besides the actual Christmas Eve and Christmas festivities!).  The work part was Saturday, the church party (we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) was Friday, almost all of the Christmas concerts are done…It’s been a busy 10 days of December already!  Now that those things are checked off the list, I want to turn my focus toward lighting the world- basically choosing to do what Jesus Christ would do if he were here.  What a wonderful way to celebrate his life.  Do you know what a big difference you can make?!  This website has details that will help guide our family as we reach out through the Christmas season.  I invite you to join us as we focus our celebrations on the Light of the World- Jesus Christ!

https://www.mormon.org/christmas/light-the-world

Love,

Laura

Cause it makes me happy... · Thought

Non-living

IMG_2267About a week ago, I went on a field trip with my 6 year old, L.  After learning about catagorizing items, the kindergartners were introduced to the idea of “living” and “non-living.”  We went out in the woods to explore, looking for things to write down for each category.

Here’s a question for you that I’ve been pondering today.  How many of you name non-living items in your life?  Sure, it makes sense to name a dog (living), a child (living), or a perhaps a wild turkey (yes, they like to visit our back yard- definitely living).  But how about a toaster?  A car?  A computer?

When Jon and I got married, we had a car that we fondly named “Shenaynay” (shuh-nay-nay).  We talked about it being the car that our oldest, G, would learn to drive someday.   (We’re now 5 years away from that frightening day and Shenaynay is still going strong!  Go Hondas!)  Later we purchased a Honda CR-V that was a beautiful red color and we named her “Cherry”.  No, we have never named our toaster, though we were excited the other day when we realized we still have the same toaster we received on our wedding day (nearly 13 years ago!).

Today as I was thinking about getting up to the piano to start “working” (aka playing) for the day, I thought, “Really, she needs a name!”  Yes, it’s a “she”.  Maybe because it makes me feel less outnumbered with 3 boys and a husband.  Maybe just so the piano doesn’t compete with the boys for being a favorite boy.  But really, she needs a name.

So, readers, I’m throwing it out to you.  Tell me what she looks like: a Bertha?  Glenda?  Leslie?  I need your help- she needs a name.  🙂  (And I’d love to hear about non-living things you have named over the years.)

Have a great day,

Laura