Category Archives: Music

Creative Juice #217

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Creative Juice #217

Look. Listen. Dream.

Creative Juice #216

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Creative Juice #216

Such good stuff here. Curated especially for you.

Music in My Life

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Music in My Life

I recently came across a music questionnaire online, which I thought would be fun to answer.

Q1] How important is music in your life?
Music is very important in my life, like oxygen. I started taking piano lessons when I was 8. I joined my church choir when I was in seventh grade. I discovered choral singing in high school, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a masters in music education. I taught elementary general music for more than 12 years.

Q2] What is most favourite type of music and what is your least favourite?
I love all kinds of music; my least favorite is shape note singing, mainly because it’s often done poorly.

Q3] Do you own a music collection or do you simply listen to whatever on whatever?
I generally listen to my own records and CDs, or I look for music I like on YouTube and Amazon Prime. In the car I generally listen to KBAQ, the local classical music station.

Q4] Are you a singer, a hummer or a whistler?
Yes. All three.

PQ5] Show through links your five best songs?
By best, do you mean favorites? Or the ones I perform the best?

I am going to answer by adding links to music I like throughout this post.

Q6] Have you ever been to an outdoor concert?

Yes. My best memory of an outdoor concert was an evening Memorial Day patriotic band concert at the local community college. I took my oldest daughter, Carly, who was about seven years old. We’d brought a blanket to sit on. We met a friend there who had also brought her daughter, who was a little younger than Carly. The girls sat on the blanket and Rosemary and I sat on aluminum folding chairs she’d brought.

The last piece on the program was the 1812 Overture. It ended with an extraordinary firework show that I wasn’t expecting. There were the girls lying on the blanket looking up at the sky and ooing and ahing. Good times.


PQ7] Do you ever go out to listen to music live? When was the last time you went to a concert/gig?
A former colleague and I have had season tickets to the Phoenix Symphony for years. Last season was cut short because of Covid-19, and this season was canceled for the same reason. So before the pandemic was the last time I was at a live concert.

Q8] Do you sometimes feel like dancing when you hear music? Under what circumstances do you dance?
I belong to an international folk dance group. I used to dance every Tuesday night. Then—Covid. I imagine it will be a long time before we will be able to gather again.

Q9] When do you listen to music?
All the time.

Q10] If you answered yes to Questions 6 & 7 – who did you go and see?
In addition to those answers, some other artists I’ve seen live have been The Four Seasons with Frankie Vallie (when I was a teenager, many decades ago), Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and 2Cellos.

Q11] Is there a song that makes you emotional?
I usually cry when I hear Wildfire. It was on the radio a lot when I had my first miscarriage. As soon as I hear the opening piano line, my eyes tear up.

PQ12] Do you feel that you have a special connection with some types of music? Which types?
I love Baroque music (Bach, Vivaldi) and Romantic music (Beethoven, Brahms, etc.).

Q13] Have you ever tried singing in a karaoke bar? What was the experience like?
I am scared to death. I love to sing, but I’m not a soloist.

Q14] Do you listen to music when writing? If so which?
Yes. All kinds, although I do better if it’s music I know really, really well so that it stays in the background and I don’t stop writing to listen.

PQ15] Have you even gone to see a musical? What was it, provide link please.
I have seen lots of musicals, professional, amateur, and high school. I had a boyfriend in high school who moved to New Jersey from Queens, and he was very familiar with Manhattan, so we’d often take the bus, go to Times Square and pick up discount vouchers, often for standing-room-only, which was what high schoolers could afford. We saw Man of La Mancha, Fiddler on the Roof, and I can’t remember what else. I’ve also seen Evita, Pippin, the live Lion King, and, hey, I’m old, I can’t remember. I’ve never seen Hamilton. I’d love to, but who can afford tickets? I’ve listened to the soundtrack a bazillion times on Amazon.

Q16] Do you know the lyrics to all the songs you like?
I still know many of the lyrics to the songs I loved in the 1960s and 70s, but I don’t remember many lyrics of more current songs.

Q17] When you are listening to music – are you listening just to the music itself or the lyrics too?
Both. But it frustrates me when I can’t understand the words. In the old days, you often got the lyrics along with the recording. Sometimes you can find the words online.

Q18] Do you listen to music when you go cycling/jogging or when you’re working out at the gym? [or any other physical activity]
Yes.

Q19] Many operas are in French, Italian or German. If you listen to opera, do you understand the libretto (text) or are you happy to get the gist (main idea)?
When I was in college, I prepared for trips to a couple of operas by buying the librettos and studying them. I brought them along to the performances.

Sometimes the program notes will give you a synopsis of the action and maybe even a translation of the words. I know just a little bit of French and Italian, more of German. I can figure out some of it by context. And if not, I just enjoy the music.

Okay, the next video is not opera, but I just want to point out that this was recorded LONG before Pitch Perfect (oh, yeah–I attended two Rich Mullins concerts in the 1990s):

PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?
I’m deleting this question.

Q21] Do you enjoy watching music videos? What sort of music videos do you enjoy most?
Yes. All of them. I especially like Pentatonix videos. But this is not Pentatonix:

Serendipity

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Magic

We’ve all had the experience of carefully planning our day only to have everything go haywire. No matter how hard you try, obstacles arise that prevent you from doing what you need to. Mistakes get made. Flights are missed. Deadlines are unmet. Your to-do list grows instead of getting checked off. It’s frustrating.

Then you’re faced with redoing your task or at least correcting the errors. So much more time-consuming than anticipated. You might have to change your schedule, work late, get someone else to pick up your kids from school, buy take-out for dinner. Bummer.

But sometimes you do something by accident, and it turns out better than you’d expect. Maybe you get lost, and the person you ask for directions ends up becoming your new best friend—or your spouse. Or you misspell a word, and the typo makes you think of an amazing twist for the story you’re writing. Or you load your brush with too much water, and the way your colors run together changes the way you continue your watercolor painting.

Maybe these random events are not as unplanned as they seem. Maybe they are orchestrated by your own subconscious, or by God, or by your muse. Sometimes it’s beneficial to just go with the flow and see where it leads you rather than forcing things to go your way or starting over from scratch.

There’s even a name for these happy accidents—serendipity, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

Inventors and health researchers occasionally stumble on discoveries and new technologies by accident. Artists, musicians, and authors often give examples of serendipity when discussing their processes. Friends have told me of having an unexpected repair they have no way of paying, only to get a surprise refund check in the mail for the exact amount they need.

Some people say everything happens for a reason. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. But when you’ve been given a situation that’s not your first choice, maybe it’s worth it not to react too quickly. Breathe. Wonder. Let possibilities present themselves.

Related reading: More discoveries made by accident.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever experienced serendipity? Does it ever surface in your work? Share in the comments below.

Monday Morning Wisdom #282

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Monday Morning Wisdom #282

We depend largely on tricks, we writers of songs. There is no such thing as a new melody. ~Irving Berlin

Creative Juice #214

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Creative Juice #214

Interesting ideas.

Inktober Day 28

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I’m using yesterday’s prompt, music.

Creative Juice #213

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Creative Juice #213

A dozen articles to inspire you this weekend.

Video of the Week #275: Top 20 Acoustic Guitar Intros

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Creative Juice #211

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Creative Juice #211

Lots of interesting stuff, and a bit of beauty, too.