Thursday, January 20, 2011

Singing the classics...

Yesterday, I pulled out my Italian Songs and Arias book.  Popped the CD into the player and started singing songs that I performed in college. I'm now 34, that's been 12-14 years ago.  Its amazing that when the accompaniment to Le Violette begun, I felt transported back in time, to the North Georgia College music department stage. Every word, pronunciation, breath, crescendo, decrescendo, all came back!
I sang and sang and sang through every song I had ever learned: Caro Mio Ben, Sebben Crudele, Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento, and many more.
My voice has definitely changed.  My range is smaller, not as practiced as it once was. My breath volume has increased and my tone has matured. My singing passion has many other things to be passionate about.
But what an experience it was, remembering all the excitement of taking the stage and performing for my parents and then boyfriend Charles, now husband.  It was awesome.
I think I'm going to have to pull that book out more often. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Burning Calories While Singing/Playing

Since its January, and tons of people make New Year's resolutions to get in shape, here are some musical ways to burn calories:

According to my new My Fitness Pal App on my Droid:

Spend 30 minutes:
playing cello/flute/horn/woodwind----BURN 72 calories
playing drums---BURN 145 calories
guitar-sitting ----BURN 72 calories
guitar-standing---BURN 108 calories
playing piano/organ---BURN 90 calories
singing-sitting---BURN 50 calories
singing-standing ---BURN 73 calories
practicing marching band with instrument ---BURN 145 calories

Awesome. So today, I will be standing, playing guitar and singing for 30 minutes. If I did my math right, I should burn 181 calories!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

3 snow days in a row

I can't believe that my  kids had 3 snow days in a row! Today is Thursday and its the first day of school for the week. On top of that, Monday is Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, so they have off then also!

I'm all about spending some relaxing time, laying around in pj's watching tv, playing games, etc. But after the fourth day of that (Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues) I'd had enough.  I pulled out all the schoolwork and worksheets, crafts, projects, science experiment books etc.

Each of the 4 kids received a list of things that they had to complete before they got any "screen" time.

Of course, since I am a music teacher by trade, they had to do some music theory work. So I pulled out the list of music theory websites.  They could pick any of them and they could spend 30 minutes on the computer playing the games on the sites. It was a win-win situation!

So, in case there are other moms who are ready for some academic achievement in the times of snow days, here's the list of websites again:

Have a great snow day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Organ-ish playing

What is organ-ish playing?  I had no idea, but that was the concept given to me by the worship leader when she was explaining what she wanted from me.
After asking more questions, I inferred that she wanted me to play on the digital piano, strings setting, simple chords, holding down the keys that didn't change from chord to chord.  Easy as pie, right?
Well, a smidge harder than I thought.
For years, I've been playing improv from chord lead sheets for church on Sunday morning. While I play though, my fingers stay busy the whole time. I've got arpeggios going in the left, chord changes from 2s to 4sus', passing tones, tidbits of melody, the whole nine yards! So to be asked to "downplay" all that was almost insulting. But I didn't "take the bait" (see footnotes for that meaning) and decided to go for it. What did I have to lose?  Maybe I could even learn something.
So I practiced. I practiced at home, at the group practice both during the week and the morning of and this is what I discovered. I don't like organ-ish playing. I find it boring. BUT I also realized that during that scurry of notes that I usually play, I'm not taking the time to appreciate the similar notes and suspension pitches that carry from chord to chord.
It was really neat. But boring. No more organ-ish playing for me.

*footnotes. Don't Take The Bait is the name of a book/Bible Study that I did a couple years ago. The premise is, don't get offended. Period.

Tune my heart

So as the piano tuner was tuning my body language changed, convulsed actually, and it was completely involuntary.
There's something about a pitch that's almost right, almost in tune that is unnatural and hellacious to my ears. I blame that on pitch matching and intonation.
But I can also attest that my heart isn't always on pitch, and sometimes it is quite unnatural and hellacious to God's ears.
What is the solution?? Sadly a heart-"wrench"-ing appointment with the pitch tuner.

What's more beautiful than a perfectly tuned piano??  A perfectly tuned heart.