Sunday, January 29, 2012

performance teaching, or teaching teaching?

I have some friends who are not teachers, but are performers. This is great, I love's interesting to hear their perspective on music as all they (usually) need to think about it how to create the music to the best of their ability. Often, I am (sometimes unfortunately) too caught up in the 'how-do-I-teach-someone-else-to-create-this-music-to-the-best-of-their-ability' mode to focus on using my performance to the best of my ability. Now, many of them teach as well, but it truly is more of a side job for them, as they are trying to make performance the main deal in their lives. I say, more power to 'em, as long as their lives allow that.

Anyway, let's get to my point. Or story. or whatever this post is about. I somehow convinced one of my performer friends to take my spring musical music director job for this year, and I am thrilled because I know he has so much experience behind the stage and on the stage and will do a fabulous job and live up to my high standards I set for myself and my teaching abilities. We had an interesting conversation the other day:

me: so, how has it been working with the kids? We have some good singers from year to year...

he: yeah, it's fun. I haven't worked with high schoolers in a while, so it's been a bit of a learning curve. But I like it. It's been a bit hard just getting them to sing!

me: yeah, every year they do really well in auditions and then come in for rehearsals and I have to be so over the top to get them to make any noise of worthwhile value. And it's hard to figure out the belting...this year, pretty much every girl that "knew" how to sing was full out belting. Normally we have a few, but this year it was running rampant!

he: oh, I am fully encouraging them to belt. There is no possible way to do this show without it, so they have my complete blessing.

Well, the teacher is me was quite taken back. 'What?!' I thought. (thankfully, I didn't say it out loud) 'How can you be telling kids to sing the wroing way?!?'

Then, I realized that he is a performer that is teaching. His focus is to express what's on the page. As a performer teaching Broadway, he is focusing on Broadway sound, which, in this particular show, is a whole lot of belting.

As a teacher, I am concerned about making sure kids can learn to sing correctly so they will be able to sing well for decades to come. I realized I tend to sacrifice a bit of that powerhouse sound when I've done this job in the past because I am concerned about correct technique and teaching that well, as well as teaching the music.

I'm truly not meaning to offend or condemn, just putting thoughts to laptop. Any other thoughts out there?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

cutting back

A while back, I decided to cut back.

I decided to cut back because I was feeling like panic attacks were eerliy close to happening.

Now, I don't actually know what a panic attack feels like, but I feel like, once you are close to one, you know.

You know?

Anyway, things were just too much here. As in, in my life.

So, I thought, 'hey, let's cut back. I work too much. I mother too little. I stress WAY too much. I worry WAY too much.'

I figured out that some people need me. And a lot of people want me to do things, but that pales in comparison to the family who needs me here.

And I think I need to do only the things that only I can do. Like, only I can be the mother to my children. Only I can be the wife to my husband. There are a few other things that I am still doing that I suppose other people could do, like my job...but I am holding on to that. But I have cut back on other things.

For example:

- recently, I decided to not do the high school musical director job that I normally do every year. Wow, that was a relief to find someone to do that job. I felt so guilty letting them know I wasn't going to do it this year, but I think it was the best decision. Isaac and Jeremiah would not get to see me any afternoons during the week for about 2-3 months if I had decided to go ahead with that job. And I would have been big time grumpy and tired and even less rested than I usually feel. In general, not good. And while the money is nice, happiness at home is so much more valuable at this point.

- also, I was recently asked to sing at an upcoming concert in March with G__________ W________Opera...and I turned it down. I think this may be the first singing gig that I have been asked to do that I have willingly turned down. Again, because of my family. I already have a school concert that week, and this gig would have been at least one dress rehearsal and it's located about 1 hour away...would have been one big stress ball. No thank you. But thanks for asking, I'm flattered! :)

- also, I've stopped cleaning my house. I know, you're thinking, what?! how does that help anything? well, let me tell you, without cleaning, you would not believe the amount of time I have to do...nothing. How sweet it is to do nothing. At least until little Isaac starts crawling with more passion. He's sorta dilly dallying in it right now, and then fusses like a baby because...well, he is one. And then I feel bad and pick him up because he's so darn tootin' cute. So, yeah, I guess at least vaccuuming will have to happen at that point...unless I can convince Jon to do it. He's usually helpful when I ask. That's the plan then. Then I can continue to use my time wisely by not cleaning.

Alright, enough of this silly post. Goodnight and good luck to you all. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

devotion...or lack of.

Yet again, I am humbled. I have known for a long time that I need to stop and set a time for my Lord. A daily time. No, not a devotional time...I think that term has become a little cliche in our Christian culture. But a time for true soul feeding. I read somewhere that prayer is more important than food because the soul is more important than the body? If that's true...and I believe it is...than I am starving and on death's door. How did I get this way? When did my thirst for my God become a nice thought instead of desperation? When I let myself remember who I am, who I am created to be, who I am created to be in His image...

I am floored that I am so content to go about my day without communion with Him. There are many little moments, when I feel overwhelmed or a shadow of who I am, when I hear the whisper of "lay down your burden and let Me give you rest."

"Oh, Lord. I'm so sorry. But, it's just, you know, the baby is actually asleep and I really would like to mop the floor at least once this month."

I feel the tide turn in my innermost, and understand my depravity, and crave the grace.

"Lord Jesus, I am not ready to come to You. I am too far gone...I don't know how to pray anymore."

He tells me through friends unwitting comments, through coworkers tired and hopeless workings, through my babies intense needs and innocent wants, that I am His and He is enough, and that has to be enough.

Because me, with all my trying and working and hustling and worrying and crying and sweeping and dusting and talking and cooking and doing...will never be enough to bring me like Mary to the feet of my Savior. All that doing will satisfy for a moment, but is ultimately not the soul-drenching goodness that I need to be alive in Christ.

I need that sitting area in my room more than ever. I have been thinking and trying...and things are not working out. My youngest is teething and sick and waking many many times a night, making every morning an extra effort. The beautiful chair I had hoped to bring upstairs for my sitting area doesn't fit up the extremely narrow stairwell. Roadblocks...I need to not let it stop this resolution, because so much more is at stake than failing. It is my withered relationship with God that is in great need of nourishment.

"Lord, forgive my apathy. Forgive my excuses in my post-baby stupor. I love You and your word...I ask for grace that You would give me desire and ability to make this habit of sitting at Your feet daily a reality."

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

(in random order of importance)

1. learn to garden (so I can have a small vegetable garden in the spring/summer of 2012 - I'm thinking tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, and squash/zucchini...maybe just tomatoes as I've never grown anything in my life and I've heard they are easy.)

2. begin exercising again (join a gym! our new health plan will pay for this! yippee!)

3. bake bread at least 2 times a month (I have an irrational fear of getting flour everywhere...I wish it was an irrational fear of something else, like the bread not rising or something, but...alas. I am that repulsed by that kind of a mess. So, this will be a really challenging goal.)

4. Create a sitting area in my room where I can sit and read. Mostly for Bible reading and prayer in the morning, as I have been hard-pressed to find any sort of regular time during my day to do this with these darn lovely children around. I'm guessing it will have to be morning. Which brings me to a related resolution...

5. Get up before family to do said Bible reading and prayer. I believe this is so important that I should forgo the precious half hour longer of sleep that I truly believe I need at that hour in the morning, and I would like to attempt a habit making practice of it.

6. Not eat fast food. (coffee does not count. Just sayin'.)

I think these are do-able. And realistic. There are no huge details to these goals, except for the 2x/week bread making thing. And all these will be helping to make life a little bit better. Here's to 2012!