Welcome to Tigersue's Jungle. Here you may find a Jungle of thoughts and idea's. You may never know what you will find!
Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I am grateful for..... music

Last night I had the opportunity to attend Collin's band concert. It reminded me of my love of music and how much it has impacted my life.

It all started before I was born, my father would sit with my oldest sister and quiz her on the music they would listen to together. He would ask her about the instruments, the composers, anything he could think of to enlighten her mind even at a young age. To this day she is the best out of all of in identifying music and who composers are. Not that I can do it, she has taken more time to be exposed to a greater variety of composers and music. I am perhaps a bit more narrow minded in that aspect. Still that is something our father ingrained in all of his children to some degree, a love of music.
Even today, my sisters and I will talk about the music in movies. Most people don't even notice, but we rave about it, and look for it. My kids have even started to try to identify the composers of different movies and what other movies they may have written for. I think I can thank John Williams for that one. :)

My parents made sure we all had piano lessons, at least a few years. Enough that we can all sit down and play a small bit of something for personal enjoyment. Once again, Noelie is the brilliant one. I will never be able to play like she can, even with practice, practice practice.
We all were given a chance to learn another musical instrument. Noelie, took up the flute, my brother that saxophone, I of course played the clarinet, and my two younger sisters played the violin.

When I started to play the clarinet, I took to it like I was born for it. I loved it. Of course like every beginner I had my difficulties. I battled a double jointed thumb that kept me from using the register keys correctly at first. Once I figured that out, after days of tears, and frustration, there was no holding me back. I quickly moved from the 6th grade band to the the 7th grade band. One of only two that were advanced from the 6th grade. Not only did I move bands but I sat in the first section. Not bad for a girl that started to play about 2 months after the 7th graders. I continued in the trend and in 7th grade I was in the junior highs advanced band, sitting first chair.
When I started 9th grade, the orchestra director at the high school, called when I was on vacation, and asked that I join the orchestra. He had never heard me play, but on recommendation from my Jr. high band teacher and my clarinet instructor, I was in the high school orchestra. I eventually sat 2nd chair that year, substituting for 1st when the 1 chair was involved with other things. (For example, the orchestra played for the musical, "Oklahoma", she was in the play so I played 1st for the orchestra.) This teacher, Kevin Call, was marvelous. I don't think I have been as inspired by any other music teacher in all my years of playing the clarinet. He left the high school to work on his PhD, and Orchestra was never really the same after that. If anyone has had the chance to attend BYU Idaho (Ricks College) and play with the orchestra they have had the opportunity to study with this amazing man.
By the end of my sophomore year, I can say I have played some of the most challenging music, I have ever played. We took on the challenge of learning the entire Nutcracker ballet in about 6 or 7 weeks. Nearly everyone said we could not do it, and that was when they thought we were just playing the suite. He believed in us, and we did it, and we did it well.
After that he put aside the music we were going to do for festivals, and handed out the last movement to Brahms 1st symphony, saying he had always dreamed of an orchestra that was capable of playing it and he finally had one. We learned it in 6 weeks. He order the 18 12 overture, had a school department take on the challenge of designing cannons and we learned that one in 4 weeks. We played both of those for festivals, and it was marvelous. After that he decided that we would play for his master's thesis. Handed us the music to Bartok's viola concerto, The Afternoon of the Fawn, and I am sure a couple of other things and we played a concert in about 3 1/2 weeks. It makes my head spin to think of the chances he was taking on a high school orchestra. He trusted us, and somehow we did not fail him. I believe I can thank him for keeping up with my talent. I would have quit otherwise, because band was not fun, particularly my freshman year.

I managed to have scholarships offered to me, but by the time I was a senior, I was sick of the politics of music. I had enough of it. It seemed that politics was everywhere, and I hated how I felt. I hated my ego, and I hated the effect it had on friendships. I changed my plans to become a music major in performance and switched to nursing instead. I went to Weber State, got a music scholarship, played in a band that I enjoyed very much. The conductor did not play politics. He liked me, he placed me 1st chair my first year there. After that he would bounce me around, unsure of what to do with me because of my nursing schedule. When I graduated he pulled me aside as told me if he had known I was graduating he would have sat me 1st that semester. I told him it was okay, I understood his dilemma and he gave me plenty of chances to sit first and excel. He was so flexible with me. I refused to take lessons from one of the instructors there, instead found someone else who know how to work with my unique capabilities, and respected my knowledge of the instrument and not try to change what incredible teaches had worked so hard to help me adapt. (I had a very strong mouth, played on 4 1/2 reeds, which are thick in clarinet terms, so I needed a special mouth piece and ligature. The ligature is what holds the reed to the mouth piece.) I did not need changes that most people used, what I needed was a teacher to accent my strengths and work on weaknesses. It was an amazing time of my life. To play, to know that the instructor appreciated my talent and was willing to keep up with my scholarship even though my commitment was to the nursing program. That is very, very rare in my experience.

It was not until several years later that I heard Michael Ballam speak at education week and I realized what I really should have been was a music therapist. I wish I would have known, but I know I did the right things in getting a nursing degree. Since this time, I have been interested in how music can effect the mind and soul and is a very, very, slight hobby. I wish I could go back to school and get my degree in music therapy. Maybe someday, I will be that 60 year old woman in college. :)

My love of music has extended to appreciating the gift of the voice. With my focus on my clarinet, I never joined a school choir. Out of all my siblings, I am the one with the least amount of training and I really don't know how to use my voice right. I am not comfortable with a solo, but I don't mind singing in groups.
I love the music of the hymns, and the peace it brings to me. I have used my talents in the church. I lead music, attempt to lead choir from time to time, and play the piano. On the odd occasion I play my clarinet in church.
I hope to extend my love of music to my children. So far Natasha and Collin have had piano lessons, but I don't see them play much anymore. Natasha has played the viola, stopped this year, but hopes to be able to play in college. Collin is playing the clarinet, taking after his mother. I really should teach him lessons.
We will see what happens with the little girls. Piano definitely, beyond that who knows. Abbie likes to sing, so I think I will be encouraging voice development with her. Kendra, is somewhere in between.

So today, yes, I am thankful for music

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