Bold and Bright

Am I supposed to take it on myself to get out of this place? Now there’s a loneliness inside her and she’d do anything to fill it in…She feels like kicking out all the windows and setting fire to this life, she would change everything about her into colors bold and bright. But all the colors mix together to gray.

I think we’ve all felt this way at one point or another. We find ourselves stuck in the habits and routines of daily life. Desperate to break up the monotony we search for something or someone to pull us up and out.

Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter how colorful the world around you is. If you think it is gray, then gray is what you’ll see. No person, place, or thing can change that by itself. You have to change too.

The obvious question is, “How?”

Start looking for things that make you happy, the things that bring the brightest colors to your life. Identify them and seek them out. For me, one of the biggest has been dancing. I attend 2 social dance classes every week and I take advantage of as many other opportunities as possible.

You also have to pin-point what triggers the gray. For me, the most obvious is sugar. When I eat sugar that is junk sugar, I get depressed. I am more prone to feeling sorry for myself and I end up wallowing. The minute I cut out junk sugar and just stick to all natural sugars, I perk up and I am able to let the color back into my world.

Understanding this about myself was not easy and it took a long time. Even knowing this, I still sometimes find myself slipping back into gray. Bold and bright is something that must be chosen. So make it a choice.

Re, a Drop of Golden Sun

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love music. I’ve always loved to sing, and I began playing the piano at the age of 5. I took lessons for about a year, and then I just played for fun. I even won an award for an original composition in… Kindergarten? It might have been first grade. In grade school I performed and sang in several school plays. (The two I remember are The Little Red Hen, and some play where I was a witch. My family does not have a record of these performances, to my knowledge, and for that I am very grateful!)  At the beginning of the 5th grade I joined the band and began playing the clarinet. I played clarinet through my junior year when I switched to the bassoon. In that time I also participated in a number of different choirs and musical productions, talent shows, etc.

My high school band teacher, Dan Stowell, understood the importance of music education. Much to the chagrin of the community, he had discontinued the marching band quite a few years before I got there. He used the time that he would have spent teaching us to march, focusing on theory, ear training, and music history.  (Try this vocabulary word on for size! ‘Sprechstimme‘)   I don’t believe I could ever express the gratitude that I have for the experiences and the lessons that I learned while under his tutelage, and I guarantee that what I am to day is, in part, a result of the time he put into my education.

Unfortunately in the time between graduation and now, I have allowed my gift to weaken from lack of use, and I have have also been woefully remiss in my attention to my academic studies. I am fully aware that this is my own fault, and I believe that I have finally found the catalyst that I needed to re-commit myself to my musical and academic education.

Music.

It’s that simple.

Music has the amazing ability to help us learn, grow, and heal in ways that we do not fully comprehend.

I am going to run a little test for the next two weeks*.  I am going to listen to one piece of music from the Baroque period** (ie: Bach, Handel, Vivaldi) each day. That is the only rule. It doesn’t matter what time of day, or how long the song is. I just have to listen to one song per day. At the end of two weeks, my goal is to see how much, if at all, my cognitive functions have changed, and how they have changed.

I’d be interested, if any of you would be willing to join me in this little test, what your results are as well.

Til two weeks, happy listening!

*This test was inspired by the first part of a talk on tape by Michael Ballam entitled ‘Music and the Mind’. Another blogger mentions this talk in more depth here,  and you can find more about this tape and other studies done about music and education on Michael Ballam’s website, here.

** If you don’t have any music from this period on hand, and would like to join in my little test, contact me, and I’ll help you find some. (I’d suggest starting with Pandora.)

So Much Color

This is a test post… My Cousin, Koji, works closely with Invisible Children to promote awareness of horrible situations that African children are forced into. I attended a show tonight for Invisible Children hosted by What Uganda Do. It was a great show! I am so grateful for all that Koji and his friends are doing to help! This is a video of Koji from a Rock Uganda event last July, singing Spring Song.