This Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful for the many amazing women who have influenced my life, both past and present. If you know me or follow my blogs, then you know I have no memory of my beautiful and talented mother. In some ways though, I feel I got to know her through her wonderful friends. All my life, and even still to this day, I love when people talk about her. Knowing they were close to her makes me feel close to her.
Janice’s service and accomplishments create a list a mile long. Many know her as the lady that crash landed a plane after her husband died at the helm and lived to write a book about it, Won't Somebody Help Me!
It was also in her home that I grew to love music. I loved to listen to her late husband, Edmund, play jazz tunes on their Steinway piano, the first Steinway I ever played! All of her children played different musical instruments. Janice would host community talent shows and musicales in her home. I think my first public performance was at one of those talent shows when my sister and I played the fun duet, Heart and Soul!
I could write my own book about the many ways Janice and so many other women have patiently and kindly poured into my life both physically and spiritually! I am blessed with mothers too numerous to count!
As a piano teacher, I have been asked this question many times. The short answer is sooner than later!
If your piano gets normal use in your home, every six months is a good rule of thumb...once a year at the very least. I usually schedule my tunings right after the season changes. Since pianos are "breathing" instruments, they are affected by changes in temperature and moisture. Therefore, I usually wait until the heat comes on in the fall and the air conditioning comes on in the spring. With that said, ANYTIME is better than no time!!!!! The longer you go without tuning, the harder it is for the piano to hold its tune.
WHO SHOULD I GET TO TUNE MY PIANO?
1. Make sure your technician is a Registered Piano Technician
2. Ask your local piano stores, piano teachers, and friends for recommendations.
The best source is a happy customer.
3. A good technician gets booked up in advance so don't wait until right before that Christmas party!
SHOULD I GET MY PIANO TUNED EVEN IF IT IS NEVER PLAYED?
I'll leave this one for the experts because I don't think you'll take my word for it! Here is what a local technician has to say on that subject!
Why Does My Piano Need Tuning?
We all go through times in life when we feel we’ve been tackled out of nowhere, or we trip and fall, or have to take a knee, or even get benched! It’s the cheerleaders in our life that help us get up again and give us the strength to keep going.
I have been incredibly blessed throughout my life to have cheerleaders support me during the darkest times…times when I questioned God, life, and myself. It is amazing how just a single encouraging word or phrase from someone who believes in you can release confidence in your heart to keep going.
Since I try to keep these blogs related to my musical journey, I will share one particular cheerleader moment that relates to music.
I studied and performed classical music all of my growing up years. After college, I was somewhat burned out from all the practicing and performance pressure so for the next couple of decades I spent more time singing and playing worship music with my husband and raising a family. At some point, I began thinking I wasn’t capable of learning any serious music any more. Then came my cheerleader, Dr. Margaret Evans, pianist and teacher extraordinaire.
Several years ago, we were having lunch together and I was pouring out my heart to her about how I felt I couldn’t play anymore. Margaret’s words changed the course of my musical journey! She said “Marlowe, it’s all still there. You just have to start! Start by playing music that is easy and not too long, just to build your confidence and you will see... it will all come back to you.” You know, she was right! Getting back to playing music has led to a church accompanist position, composing music, releasing my first recording, and even performing at the Grand Ole Opry. All of this would have never happened without Margaret's encouragement!!!
If you feel you don’t have a cheerleader in your life, start by BEING ONE for someone else. Let someone know you believe in them and give them a very achievable goal…that is, if they ask for help. If we are willing to listen, cheerleaders are out there waiting to be asked to be on our team!
I would love to hear about one of those "cheerleader" moments in your life!
“God can use you right where you are with what you have in your hand”. These words, spoken to me more than twenty years ago by my former worship pastor Ross Turner, have helped me COUNTLESS times throughout my life.
I was expressing to Ross how much I wished I could play like the keyboardest in the worship band. Ross encouraged me to not worry about what I couldn’t do and just be faithful with what I COULD do. I needed to stop bemoaning what I couldn't do and face up to the real truth. The truth was at that time in my life, I was enjoying singing on the worship team more than playing. Another truth was that if I wanted to, I could learn new skills... and I did! Now I teach students how to play in worship bands!
For years, I would say "I wish I had big blocks of time so I could learn to write music!" Finally, I just started using what snippets of time I did have and realized I actually could write music!
When I decided I wanted to record a CD, I came up with every excuse in the book why it would never happen. Finally, I just decided to be faithful with the steps that I COULD take, like finishing my songs so they would be ready when the time did come to record.
Here is a VERY RECENT example of how “using the tool in your hand” took me to the next step!
I HAD A CHOICE TO MAKE. Either I could let comparing myself to all the amazing people ahead of me shut me down, OR I could step out of my comfort zone and risk embarrassment and JUST DO IT! I chose the latter. The result? I happened to be paired with fellow pianist, Ed Bazel, and we had a momentary connection as we both stepped out of our comfort zones together! As a result of that moment in time, Ed invited me to be an artist on his streaming station “River of Calm”.
No step is too small! I am reminded of the words in Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin"! (NLT)
You just never know where the next step can lead you!
For years, I have missed out on opportunities because "comparison" crippled me. I have chosen not to do things out of fear that I wasn't good enough or that I might embarrass myself. I would think, "Someone else can do it better so why should I do it?"
Before the internet, the only people we compared ourselves to were the "Jones's next door". Now we have the whole world, with their best foot forward on social media, hitting us in the face every single day! Which one of us doesn't scroll through our pictures to make sure we post our 'better side'? Guilty as charged!
Which of these pictures do you think I posted? DUH!
Here are a few honest thoughts that help me fight against being crippled by comparison....
1. "You probably would not have wanted to walk in their shoes to get to where they are!"
I have lived long enough to know that is does not profit your soul to be envious of another person's title, talent, or even character traits. You most likely have not seen the struggles, the heartaches, the losses, the hard work, the persistence, the tears, the travail in prayer, or anything else it took for them to daily overcome in order to get to where there are today.
Just this week I was reading Psalm 21 and my thoughts were captured by verses two and three.
2. "Remember that Comparison & Envy are Close Companions!"
When I start hearing the "green eyed monster" whispering in my ear, I find I have two choices - LET IT INSPIRE ME or LET IT DEFEAT ME. I have to face reality - I am either willing to do what it takes to achieve an accomplishment I see in another person, or I would rather take a different course with my life and I have to be OK with that. I can celebrate what I see in them without being envious!
....to be continued
Feel free to leave a comment on how you fight being "crippled by comparison".
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