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Make A Melody In My Heart – My Journey Learning To Play Music As An Adult

Did you hear that? She was born with such talent!”  Have you heard something similar?  I know I have, in fact, most of my life I heard that musical people come from musical families and it is a genetic thing.  “Either you’re born with it, or you’re not!” That is another thing I heard all the time.  This comment always puzzled me since babies are not born speaking English or German, or any other language, they are taught how to speak the language by their parents.  Growing up on a ranch I also saw my fair share of calves being born.  They do walk pretty quickly but, they don’t just start off amazing at it.  In fact, I bet if they didn’t need to learn so quickly so they could reach for food, they may take a few more days getting better at it because they fall a lot on that first day.

In 2010 I began a real struggle on the inside.  I desperately wanted to learn more about music and how to play at least some of it.  However, I was paralyzed by fear and of the lie I had been conditioned to believe.  I was taught, whether on purpose or not, that music was to be reserved for only certain people, those who were born with a natural God-given gift that I was most certainly not  given.  More over, I believed that adults could never learn music, learning music was only for children, special children, of which I was not.  These lies I believed choked my desire to learn, I would find myself wandering through a book on music in an emotional tirade thinking I was not good enough or smart enough to understand any of the concepts outlined.

TED talks to the rescue! I’m pretty thankful for YouTube as silly as that may seem; I found TED talks on YouTube when looking into the possibility of an adult learning to play music.  Adults have fully formed brains and if we didn’t learn music as a child, our Corpus Callosum is smaller; therefore we can not learn music because it requires a LARGE Corpus Callosum!  Well, thankfully, this may not exactly be the case, you see as much as human knowledge has improved (we think anyway) there is still much to be learned about the brain, thyroid, and well just the human body in general.  Watching TED talks gave me hope that 1) learning never has to stop 2) an adult brain can adapt and learn new pathways at least some and 3) proper nutrition has more to do with brain function than ever known before.  Jonathan Harnum wrote a book, The Practice of Practice and it really changed my view on my ability to learn this new skill, music.  I highly recommend that you read it.  Obviously, I may never be as good as my children since they started music at a very early age but that doesn’t mean I can’t be good enough to play quite a few songs my friends and family enjoy!

Every week I try to set aside time to practice, that is really the biggest detractor from adult learning, you know, all those responsibilities.  We all run around chasing kids, pets, trying to keep order in the home and still maintain some me time.  Now that I know I can learn music, I actually find it truly relaxing to play the portions I do know well.  Now, while I’m learning a new concept and creating a new neural pathway in that gray matter, it is work!  Sometimes I even think I feel a heated “tar” being laid over asphalt in my brain, so don’t be fooled into thinking adults can learn music means it is easy.  However, it’s work that I love!  I know that I’m fulfilling a life long dream of finally learning piano and violin!  I’m helping to keep my mind sharp and giving my brain power up for later on in life in the event I do suffer from a stroke.  Exercising my brain with music is building alternate routes for the future if I ever need them.  Moreover, I know that I am currently making a joyful noise for my Lord and Savior and one day, one day, it may even be played skillfully for all of you to hear!

Psalm 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Psalm 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

My DD made me this cover sheet for my music binder.  I can tell you she knows I struggle on guitar!  She just thought this cover would be so funny. HaHa For some reason both piano and violin just click in my brain better.  I’m pretty sure that brain signals crossfire when I pick up a guitar.  I know what I’m supposed to do with a guitar but for the life of me I haven’t been able to make it click into place.  Sneetch number 2 on the other hand is a natural guitarist.  He loves it and is largely self taught!  He can play piano too!  He doesn’t enjoy piano as much but he plays it well and if he loved it like he does guitar, I’m pretty sure he’d be just as good on one as the other.  It’s already difficult for those who don’t listen to him daily to tell which was his first choice instrument.  Now he wants to start flute as well.  You can be assured this house is rarely quiet unless we are all sleeping.

MomsMusicCover

I hope that this inspires you to at least consider picking up an instrument and fiddle with it.  I’ve got a couple of videos, albeit very amateur ones of what I learned in the first 3 or 4 months of practice.  I need to make some more since I’ve learned a tad on the violin since then. My Music Progress 1 My Music Progress 2 I’m almost too embarrassed to even show these videos but, everyone has to start somewhere!  I’m even more embarrassed that I’ve only made 2!  My hope is that by documented the change over time someone can click through and see improvement over time and be inspired to at least give it a good college try!  Let me know in the comments below if you play or think you may now!

Well, it’s getting late so, as always,

Until next time-

Davi

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The Power of the Written Word Part 1

Have you ever wondered why everyone is not out here in cyberspace writing a blog?  Yes, I know there are lots of fish in the cyber sea and I am just one of many hundreds, thousands, millions actually. However, many thousands and perhaps even millions could also have a blog, maybe even a profitable one; so, why don’t they?  Writing can be intimidating!  On the face of it, it does seem silly that putting together a string of letters to form words and then sentences would actually be scary but, for many people it is.  In fact, I myself have fallen prey to this fear of writing for others to read although I actually like to “write” as long as no one else reads it.  Words have power, especially written words.   Have you heard the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword”?  Well, in many cases it is true.  One of my mother’s favorite quotes is, “Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it!”  I’ve found after nearly 15 years of marriage that “say it, forget it.” is often true, as far as the “write it, regret it” part, well the bible says in Proverbs 10:19a “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin:” so, I’m sure there will be times I mess up, I’m still human and no one is perfect, only Jesus ever accomplished that.  When I fall short, I hope that readers will remember my frame, that I also am just a human that makes mistakes and have a forgiving heart.  

In my early twenties I attended a few political gatherings (remember the forgiving heart!), mostly just to meet new people in the area I had recently moved to.  I remember someone saying there, though I don’t remember who, that one handwritten letter to a congressman is worth about 13,000 emails to the congressman.  The logic behind this was that emails can be auto generated very easily but a person must purposely set aside meaningful time to actually find paper, ink, envelopes, stamps and TIME to write a handwritten letter.  Time is valuable to highly successful people so, when they know a person has spent enough time to organize thoughts in a letter with the old fashioned pen and paper, those words are very highly valued to the addressee, even if the words are harmful; they provided a valuable insight about something or someone to the addressee.  Now, I certainly can’t say that this has caused me to write a lot of letters to my congressman or even the city council, but it has shown me that words are valuable and they can and do have an effect of us whether we realize it or not.  

Words can be intimidating because they evoke fear.  Once you’ve written it, an expression of what was already in your heart has manifested.  Once you’ve published it on the world wide web, it’s there forever to be a reflection of your life whether that be good or bad.  Not only that, often words will be twisted and used against you in way you never intended them to be taken.  Sometimes we have very passionate thoughts that are not easily transcribed in our current vocabulary, wherever we are on our learning journey, and we choose a word that misses the mark of the thought or emotion we truly meant to express.  I know in my case, these fears have kept me from publishing a single word on davitodd.com until just recently.   As I pondered over my blog, I realized that this fear of people I’ve never even met was choking out a desire to share the good things I have learned in my short life so far.  After reading 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I knew that allowing this fear to rule over me was not smart and not of God.  

Be brave just like Davy Crockett!  My father used to encourage me to be brave with this little taunt when I was a girl.  Once I identified that “fear” was the root cause of my lack of action and that “not enough time” was really my justification for being afraid, I sat down to make an action plan.  I began to pray and ask God for guidance about writing, blogging, new time management goals, and anything else that came to mind.  On one of our family outings to the local library, I found out that a new writers group had formed so I signed up for it and have been to two meetings so far.  Although I still mostly observe, I look forward to pushing myself into new journeys and expanding my horizons.  I’m older now and although I can hear my daddy say, “Come on Davi Jo, be brave, just like Davy Crockett!”, I’m a Christian now so my battle cry shall be, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him[Jesus] that loved us.” Romans 8:37  

If you’re interested in following along the life of a little ole’ housewife working on overcoming fear, learning new things, and making a cozy little home, stick around! I look forward to meeting you and hope to encourage you along the way of life’s journey. Thanks so much for stopping by and spending time with me today, I truly appreciate it.  Leave some feedback in the comments and help me grow. Would you like shorter more frequent posts or longer more detailed posts?  Are there any topics you’d like me to cover? Are there fears holding you back and keeping you from accomplishing a desire you have?  I’d love to see your thoughts!

Until next time,

Davi