Friday, July 14, 2017

Life Changes

After teaching music in a Christian school for two years while my husband taught Spanish, Dan and I both decided that it was time for us to switch to something else.  Dan has known for years that he is called to preach, and my desire is to support him in that. 
So after months of praying faithfully about how to make the transition, we told our employer and pastor that we were looking for a church where Dan could pastor.  We turned in our resignations to the school and began searching for a church in need of a pastor.  After meeting the people at Calvary Baptist Church in Granville NY one time, I felt at home and loved.  It isn't all about good feelings, but there was a sense of peace that came over our lives.  We weren't worried about the future or where God would have us to serve. 
We put our house in Baltimore up for sale (more pictures to follow about that!)  and within two days, we had an offer on it for the asking price! 
The church in New York asked for us to come back and for Dan to be considered an official candidate for the pastorate. 
We went back to New York one more time, Dan preached, and the church then voted to have us come there and for my husband to be their pastor. 
We proceeded (last week) to pack all of our belongings into a U-Haul truck and we made the drive up to Granville New York last Friday. 

We are so excited about this opportunity to serve in upstate New York!  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Parenting and Piano

People can say to me "How could you write a post about parenting when you are not a parent?" 
Easy...I was once a child and I had parents. 
I have been thinking hard about the subject of music (not just piano) and parenting for a long time now.  I have been teaching piano and violin (as well as some other instruments) for five years consistently and I have much to say on the subject of children taking lessons on a musical instrument.
I have only been teaching for five years and I have students who do not practice.  Sometimes, this trend of not practicing turns into a downward spiral.  Inevitably, one of the parents will come to me and our conversation goes something like this:
Parent: "Well, _______________(child's name) has just really lost interest in piano lately.  But he REALLY wants to start taking cello/clarinet/trumpet/flute/drum/voice lessons!  So we're considering buying him a drum for Christmas.  What do you think about that?" 
Me: "Hmm, well _________________(child's name) has only been playing piano now for three months..."

What I really want to say is "It doesn't matter if they don't like practicing, you need to teach them some discipline before deciding to switch to a different instrument.  The change in instrument is unlikely to change their practicing habits."
Sadly, only one of these parents has listened to my advice when I told them that switching to a different instrument was NOT the solution to the problem. 
There are two different types of families out there. 
The type of family who has their childen "play around" on a lot of different instruments but they never truly become proficient in any,
And the family who trains their children to be proficient in everything they do. 
I do NOT believe that children must be perfect at everything they do, but I believe that they must be TRAINED to do their BEST at everything they do, and not just for 3 or 4 months.    
If my mother had left the choice of switching from piano lessons to any instrument I wanted at age 10, I am convinced that I would not be proficient in any instrument today.  The majority of children are not mature enough to know when they should quit an instrument. 

Had I been given the opportunity to gripe and whine about how hard piano was and how it wasn't fun anymore at age 10, I would have.  At age 8 and 9, I did not enjoy the piano.  The excitement of being allowed to be play and take lessons had long since worn off and it was drudgery to play the same songs my four older sisters had already played.  By the time I played them, nobody seemed impressed, but rather, they seemed annoyed to hear the "Indian Song" played again and again (from Alfred's method book 1a). 
But my mother did not ONLY teach once a week, she also personally told each of us to go practice every day.  She also listened to us from her desk in the other room and would correct us if need be. 

Most of the parents I deal with in my piano teaching say to me "Well, I told ____________ that they need to practice...." as if their job ended at the reminder. 
My mother did not simply say "Make sure you practice this week!", she said "Go practice the piano now", and then listened to or monitored our practice time. 

In conclusion, while I know that parenting is a very difficult thing, if a parent wishes for their child to learn discipline and consistency in life, a wonderful way to teach this is by having them learn a instrument.  No, not every child will wish to be a concert pianist someday as a result of these lessons, but with time, and without quitting when it "isn't fun anymore", each student WILL be a better person because of the lessons. 


Monday, February 13, 2017

Catch up time

It seems like not long ago, I was posting and claiming that I'd be posting more often.  Time has flown by and now I am in the middle of many large projects. 
My husband works with the Spanish ministry at our church and he has been planning to start free English classes for Spanish-speaking people this month.  I will be helping him with that, so we have been planning and preparing for that, and passing out flyers advertising the class. 
In the school where I teach, I am helping to co-ordinate the Fine Arts program.  And the planning and training involved in that consumes much of my times as well. 
In my personal life, I am on the last leg to completing my masters degree in music.  I completed my last online class two weeks ago and began working very hard on my thesis project.  Perhaps when it is finished, I will post it here.  Lord willing, I will be graduating in May.  I certainly hope that this is the case at least, since I already bought plane tickets for us to fly to California then.

This winter has been a somewhat hectic one.  Christmas seemed to creep up on Dan and I.  We actually celebrated our Christmas several days after Christmas.  And we left our Christmas decorations up through January.  I just finished packing them all away on Saturday.   

It's so hard to believe that winter is nearing its close and we have not had a single snow (that actually stuck to the ground for more than 3 minutes).  I'm seriously hoping that before February is over, we get some good snow. 

My ipad is ancient now and no longer takes decent pictures most of the time, and my point-and-shoot camera gave up the ghost, so that is why there are no pictures here. 
I will begin taking more pictures soon though. 
I hope this post finds everyone doing well.  I simply must get back to working on my thesis project, but I wanted to quickly post and say that I am still alive and well, just busy. 
Until later!