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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Youth LOVE Classical Music! Energy for the arts!

     Classical Music 
   + Youth of the World 
   = Energy for the ARTS!

You guys know I am a music lover...In my case it's both genetic and environmental... nature and nurture... biological and learned.

Our moments of youth shape us in paramount ways.
This was fortunate for me, because it shaped me into the love of music...a soul healing, spiritual path... one that gave me tools for joyous living and spiritual connection.

Recollections from my youth remind me that I:

* sat at my mother's knee as she strummed and picked the guitar.
* created, as a toddler, harmonies to shaped-note church hymns.
* sang and read the moving alto line before I could even read words.
* taught myself a little piano from my sister's John Thompson book.
* took piano for one year (1st grade) from Ms. Lawhon (strict lady!)
* observed my bro's band rehearse rock'n'roll in our living room.
* attended family reunions, virtually all relatives played music.
* received my first guitar at age 12, a treasured gift from my parents.
* learned to play guitar via my mother, and I wrote some songs.
* sang in church choir (7-12)as we performed christian musicals.
* sang as a member of "His People" (9-12) music concert ensemble.
* cringed as my dad played a "bad bluegrass 8 track" every morn!
* listened to James Taylor and Carole King more than is possible.
* sang solos in ensemble and church choir.
* sat around the campfire, singing with my youth group, retreats, etc.
* went to music week at Ridgecrest several times and was inspired!
* went undecided to Campbell College, auditioned for voice dept.
* took my first voice lesson the month before I auditioned.
* got wonderful (and hard) Mrs. Horton as a voice teacher.
* took my first ballet class in Raleigh with Mrs. Horton.
* sang in Chapel Choir and Concert Choir at Campbell.
* performed recitals, talent shows at Campbell and soloist in church.

As I recollect these fabulous experiences, I thank my parents tremendously for giving me this life and experience in music! 
What a spectacular gift that goes on giving!

And, it's fairly clear from my list that I essentially had very little "formal" music training. Most of what I gained was via osmosis, being around instrumentalists, experiencing first-hand with instruments, listening and absorbing the music all around. It was as if I were wrapped up in a blanket of music... softly caressing me and gently creating a soft place to lay my head and rest.  It is my soul place... where I best meet God, where I connect with other musicians. Music is a place called home.

I wonder if my ancestors (since so many in my family play stringed instruments and sing) used music as a tool for therapy and healing back in the day? I have a great-grandfather who taught singing school in Alabama (a relative still has his baton) and a talented aunt who is a pianist from my dad's side.  I have tons of bluegrass relatives who play every stringed instrument imaginable, on my mom's side.  Lots and lots of singers, too.

Could it be that these traditions, passed on and on, sustain us through  this earthen journey all the way to heaven?

I was fortunate to be born into a musical family... others are not.
Yet, I believe ALL children and youth would benefit from the valuable lessons and emotional sustenance music provides. Studies also indicate that music improves brain functioning. It's a "no-brainer"... pardon the pun!

Yes, indeed, ALL youth can benefit from music.  Not to become superstars... that's not what this is about... but rather, to embrace the self-discipline that music study brings, to feel the accomplishment and personal ego strength that music study evokes, to experience a life-long enjoyment that music study provides!  

Here is Gustavo Dudamel (LA Philharmonic Maestro) conducting a Venezuelan youth symphony! It is the most fun I've had watching symphonic music, ever! It is long, but well worth watching to the end... (if you only have a few mins... speed on over to the 14:00 mark) This will put some zip in your day! Viva la musica!!

Youth can and WILL enjoy good solid music (even classical music) if they are given more opportunities to do so!

Hallelujah to the Arts! 
Let's keep the music in our schools, in our communities, in our youth programs everywhere!

Music should be the first program in our schools... NOT the last!
Build creativity via music... and build the mind! 
Tests do little to evoke creativity... music explodes with it!

Have a marvelously musical day!

La - Ti - Do (Re - Mi - Fa - So - La!)



Saturday, June 9, 2012

GENIUS - is in the eye of the beholder... EDUCATION takes a HIT when they dismantle the ARTS!

I am an educator.
I am a psychotherapist.
I am a certified school counselor.
I am a voice teacher.
I am a seminar leader.
I have worked in education most of my life.

First, let me say, this post is not a rant about teachers. In fact, so many teacher friends of mine are retiring, because they are FED UP with the protocol (mandated via state directives) for which they are are expected follow... they have lost their ability to deliver creativity in their teaching methods. They are bound by TESTS - TESTS - TESTS and truthfully, just want to creatively teach children.

It amazes me that in our western society today, creativity is being ERASED from the educational process...

Never mind that in the State of Texas,  Orchestra, Choir and Band students have consistently scored in the 97-98-99th percentiles on the SAT for years and years and years!!!

It is a bummer that our government education system and policy makers of today cannot see the benefit in the arts. (That is why I am addicted to TED Talks where creative and brilliant minds are interacting...)

Below is a fabulous video about a young savant who is a musical genius.
Derek is British.
Derek cannot count three fingers when asked, yet his hands effortlessly move across the keyboard in perfect tune with advanced harmonic structure and stunning rhythmic cadence.

You will be amazed and touched by this video of a pervasive developmental DISORDERED young man who is in my eyes is a  pervasively developmentally ORDERED young man - his ORDER comes via the ARTS!


Watch this - watch all of this - you will be amazed and touched!

And, Derek... finds connectivity to people via his music! How cool is that?!!

Humans may not all fit in the same peg hole.
We may not all be the norm.
After all, the norm is AVERAGE... and we are not all AVERAGE...
Isn't it sad that this is exactly how we are teaching our children these days, via testing for NORMED data..
expecting all students to *fit* in the NORM... But, GENIUS looks different on different people.

The education system says: let's norm all the data. Let's figure out how most normal people should collect knowledge, and NORM it for all children and all teens.  Let's expect those individuals who are GENIUS and  those who are thought of as "learning disabled" to fit in this picture we've called... NORMAL.
There is another video in which TED Talks speaker, Ken Robinson, speaks to this very topic.
Is Education Killing Creativity?  This is a must watch!

In this video he talks about a little girl named Jillian Lynn - she, too is British!

He says that when she was a little girl (back in the day before we had the ADHD  diagnosis) she was struggling in school and her mother was asked for a teacher conference. The teacher, probably worried for the little girl, encouraged her mother to seek the help of a "specialist" - so she did.
After visiting with little Jillian, the specialist left the room with her mother and turned on some MUSIC -
and Jillian moved around the room - then the specialist told her mother,

"Your little girl is not *sick* - your little girl is *a dancer*" - I just LOVE those WORDS!

So mom took Jillian to ballet school and she went on to perform with the Royal Ballet and on to start a professional dance company, then hooked up with Andrew Lloyd Webber and choreographed "Cats" and "Phantom of the Opera" and is today a millionaire!!!  A Great Story about Success!

Ken's video is well worth your time to watch all the way through.... Ken Robinson is spot on about education and the arts!

Let's all speak up for the ARTS!

Together we can bring back the ARTS into schools and funding. It just breaks my heart when I see people tagged as *disabled* when in truth... they are *differently-abled* - I hope we can change the NORM of thinking that all people should fit in the NORM BOX!

Thanks for reading my ramblings...

Hip - Hip - Hooray for the ARTS!!!

La - Ti - Do!!


Go do something artsy today and find YOUR peace!! Discover YOUR GENIUS!