Finding Inspiration

I started this year in search of inspiration.  I was home, alone with a not very busy schedule for the first time in many years.

My path veered and I now spend at least an hour and sometimes over two per day driving (and the rest of the time teaching K-8 music in two schools, plus accompanying two children’s choirs!).  I listen to the radio some, but I quickly get frustrated and bored with music stations.  Instead, I tend to listen to NPR or to my iPod (plugged into my car’s stereo).  I often hear very inspiring stories.

Here are some recent gems:

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A Week of Inspirations!

A Week of Inspirations!

March 9 to 15

I’ve fallen behind in my Joy 365 March Inspirations posts, so I decided to put this week into one big post of inspiration!

Sunday, March 9: Dubuque Symphony Youth Orchestra Concert

My son has played in this wonderful group for the last four years.  They have a very talented, energetic, and extremely enthusiastic conductor — Thomas Taylor Dickey.  On the program my dear friend, Rebekah Demaree, sang Morgen (by Strauss).  This was exceptionally wonderful because her daughter plays in the group, too.

Monday, March 10:  Job Interview(s)

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I have put my application in for several music teaching positions, and I had a couple of interviews on Monday.  It was inspiring to me because I love talking about teaching music, and I always enjoy seeing a new school building, classrooms, and meeting fellow educators.  Even if I don’t get the job(s), it is always good to be reminded of all the things I’ve done in the past and of all the possibilities for the future.

March 11, 12, 13, 14 —
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday:

Lots of MUSIC!

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I have many piano events going on this week:

  • My usual Milwaukee Children’s Choirs rehearsals — Tues and Wed evenings
  • Rehearsing with our local middle school 6th, 7th and 8th grade orchestras for their concert this Thursday evening — three times a day for two days, plus the actual concert.
  • Collaborating with local high school students for the upcoming district solo and ensemble festival this Saturday (about 10 vocal and string events) — several times a day about three days this week.

Working with young musicians always inspires me.  I love their humor, their enthusiasm, their trepidation and boldness.  I love hearing them play or sing from the heart.  Some are already SO talented at such a young age!

Saturday:  Solo and Ensemble District Festival

image from Platteville Music Boosters Facebook page

I can write this before Saturday because I already know what the day will be like.  There will be herds of young people moving up and down the halls.  Girls will be dressed in their uncomfortable finery — some sporting high heels that are clearly killing their feet.  Boys may have ties or tennis shoes, and sometimes both!  There will be smiles, laughter, tears and frustration.  There will be donuts, hot dogs and probably BBQ sandwiches. Some will perform better than they ever have (or ever will again), and some will make huge mistakes. Some who deserve twos will get ones, and some who deserve ones will get twos. Families and friends hover, chatting quietly, and move from room to room.  The tension and nerves of many performers is nearly tangible.  Scraps of conversations can be overheard:  “I got a one/two/one star!” “That judge is crazy/easy/hard/good/bad!” “The room is running way behind.” “Where is my accompanist/instrument/music/director/reed/room?”

Weekend Happiness Haiku(s)

I’m not sure if Haiku is the same singular and plural or not.  I’ll have to check that out.  I’m lumping two days together in this post.

Saturday was a lazy day.  Sunday we visited a large contemporary church and then attended a Music of Munchkin’s concert at our local HS.

Our daughter is in the HS orchestra and this event is both outreach and fundraiser for them.  Elementary and younger students come early to the concert and get to try playing all the different types of string instruments, make crafts, and have their face painted.

Then the orchestra plays a 30 minutes concert complete with skits and a car chase!  The theme was The Great Mouse Detectives.  Believe it or not, the plot started with a couple of thieves stealing a Stradivarius!  Several detectives (twists on famous movie and TV characters) worked on the case.

The orchestra played many of the detective’s theme songs — Pink Panther, James Bond, Maxwell Smart, Mission Impossible, Scooby Do and more!  It was great fun, and the young ones were thrilled.  The older students put on a great show. At one point the little guy sitting in the row in front of me was bouncing up and down — turned to his Dad and said, “I LOVE this!”

The “Strad” was found, and the car chase consisted of the actors and children running up and down the aisles of the auditorium with cardboard steering wheels.

Saturday, February 8

Slug mode.  Time slips by.
One of “those” days:  nothing’s done.
Inertia enshrouds.

Sleep, laundry, dishes,
Blogging, cooking, phone calls, read.
Watch the Olympics!

Sunday, February 9

7190209497_6acc33ceb1_bSunlight streams in
Illuminating stained glass.
Strong voices sing Praise!

Music for Munchkins.
Young ones whiskered and mouse-eared —
Jazzed on Orchestra!

Music for Munchkins event. Image by The Tromp Queen CC