The last few months I’ve been learning about orchestration but decided at some point that the best way to learn how is to put down the instructional material, sit myself down and try. Orchestra music feels pretty far out of my current reality since I’ve never played in an orchestra. Listening Star Wars music or some good ‘ole Beethoven has me dazzled but isn’t something I know how to replicate at the moment. (Maybe it’s because they are two of the finest orchestrators I can think of…). Anyway, I decided that writing for something I know and can understand may be a good starting place: Junior High Band. Not only did I play in one (french horn!) but my 1st son is currently in Junior High Band and my 2nd son will be there next year (shout out to trombones!).
This is what I came up with. The best part of this project was that I felt way more invested in the process than finishing and sharing the product. Writing music is just so dang fun!
This piece has changed titles a few times, from “Go and Do the Extra Mile” to “Go and Do” to “Polar Plunge” and now the one I settled on. I learned that you can sketch out a story for music that doesn’t have words just like you can for a song with lyrics. My story is essentially “The Little Red Hen” with a twist- the little worker flute is diligently working and her/his example causes the clarinet to join in. Pretty soon you get to hear how the brass section feels about the idea of pitching in (spoiler: not good) and as the piece progresses, the instruments have conversations and eventually all the instruments get on board with the flute’s vision of working together- even the lazy trombone (listen for that change of heart in the last measure). Enjoy!
I don’t have any idea where I got this quote (maybe from one of you reading this!) but I LOVE it. It sits at the very front of my “Melodies of Light” binder to remind me that “the verdict is in.”
“Performing. It’s a subject I think about more often than most, since I make my living as a performing artist. As my husband and I were packing this morning, preparing for an event in Long View, TX, I was reminded of a performance I witnessed a few years back. The evening began with the MC giving some announcements, then introducing the band. In his kind and gracious introduction, he explained that this band was a farily new band and had never played for a crowd quite this large before. And then he did the coolest thing: He asked the audience to give the band a standing ovation as soon as they took the stage. So that’s what happened. The moment those young, timid, terrified musicians stepped foot on that platform, the audience erupted in applause! At first, the band members were so shocked that they could barely remember who played what instrument, but after a few seconds, they began to smile and laugh a bit. What followed was the best music that band had ever played. There’s just something to be said for receiving our ovation before we even start performing.
As I start my day today, it is good for my soul to remember that God has given me a standing ovation before I even begin to perform. The verdict is in: not guilty loved, valued, forgiven, restored, adopted, friend. I do not have to perform in order to gain His approval, yet His overwhelming love and approval is exactly what compels me to perform for Him. I long for the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart to be acceptable in His sight because He has already accepted me as His own. Whether I succeed or fail at my task, His love is unconditional and was earned by another’s merit, not my own. So as you step out today, whatever deeds you are called to perform, as a mom, an employee, a friend, know that you begin your day with His standing ovation and let that compel you towards love and good deeds.”