Music

All posts tagged Music

You may be weird, but are you ‘make a fake baby announcement to celebrate your new instrument’ weird?

Published July 17, 2018 by Malia

I’m so exhausted right now, but the house is making weird noises, and the dog is restless, and it’s all very unsettling. It was really unnerving when she sat on the bed and stared at the door and refused to budge. Thanks, dog, I need more anxiety…

Here’s a fun fact about my youth that quite a lot of people don’t know. I mean, the people that were around in my youth know, but anyone who met me after summer of ’03 is unaware of this. Actually, I just realized I have to start this story back before I was born.

I was born into a musical family. My mom plays piano, drums, and autoharp, and she has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. My dad played the tuba in the Navy band, but he was also in a country western band that the Navy sent out to play gigs. He and my mom had their own band as well. This all was years before I was around.

Growing up my folks played and sang together a lot. Once I got old enough, their duo turned into a trio. Mom played autoharp, dad played guitar, banjo, and mandolin. We’d sing together at all kinds of things. Churches, town festivals, nursing homes, etc… After I moved out to go to college, we didn’t really play and sing together anymore. Every great once in a while we’d do a number, but it was a rarity.

Recently, the instruments have come out, and we’ve been practicing again (with a few new additions to the group. We’re now a quintet).

Dad rocking the banjo

Mom makes it look so easy (it’s not)

A little over a week ago, I got to rehearsal early, and I was watching my dad play the banjo. A thought suddenly struck me, in my nearly 34 years of life, I’d never asked to try the banjo. I’d tried every other instrument in the house, but the banjo always seemed almost sacred to me. I think it had something to do with it being such a part of my dad, I didn’t want to accidentally damage it. Besides which, I’ve had years of epic fails trying to play stringed instruments (I have fat, small, stubby hands which doesn’t help at all). The closest I get to even minor success is the piano. I’m a brass and woodwind girl. Give me any of those instruments and I’m golden. I’m not tooting my own horn (pun definitely intended), I really do have a gift when it comes to brass and woodwind instruments. They just make sense to me.

Anyway, back to my story…I’m sitting there, and I asked my dad if I can try the banjo. He handed it over to me, equiped me with picks and gave me a very brief lesson on how to pick. And y’know what? My fingers understood. My parents were thrilled.

I didn’t think much more about it, until last Saturday. Last Saturday, I was given a precious gift. My own banjo. I was given it, with the explanation that “You need to get the music back in your heart.” Which was much more true than I wanted to acknowledge. I’m realising that I’ve tried to purge almost everything to do with music from my life, which would probably shock those who knew me years ago. I don’t handle emotional pain well, I box it up and hide it deep inside myself.

I’ve been practicing everyday. There’s something very soothing about practicing the picking pattern dad taught me. Trying to play the assbutt C chord is less soothing. D isn’t much better. A7 is awesome, but open G is my current favorite. Yesterday, in an attempt to be funny, I posted the following image to Instagram:

Kermit, of course, is in honor of Kermit the Frog; and Martin is because of Steve Martin. Two very important banjo players (apart from my dad).

So, now I play banjo. 2018 has definitely had it’s fair share of surprises.

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New Year, Better Me

Published January 1, 2017 by Malia

The first Sunday, this past November, I received two blows of bad news before I’d headed to church that morning. I’d cried all through service.  Then my parents took me to lunch, and I continued to cry.  Somewhere in the middle of my blubbering, I choked out the words, “I have no hope left.”  

I was so scared.  The depression pit I had been fighting all year wasn’t a new abode for me.  Sure, it’d been a few years since I’d last gotten trapped there, but at least I knew I’d eventually escape.  However, the feeling that all hope, even the hope that I’d eventually feel hope again, had been used up.  Suddenly, the depression pit was a lot deeper, darker, and scarier than it’d ever been.  

As November progressed I cried, a lot.  Usually the tears were due to fear anout the future, but sometimes they were due to frustration or anger or exhaustion (or a combination of all of the above).  The days drug by, and I felt completely immobilized by my depression and anxiety.  Most days I’ve considered it a victory when I get out of bed.  

This last week, has been a bit less dark, and I’m slowly starting to feel like I might be able to pull it together.  But I’m scared.  I’m terrified that depression and hopelessness will suddenly rear up and drag me down into an even deeper and darker pit.  

So, I’ve set some goals for myself for this new year.  Goals that, I hope, will help keep me from completely disappearing into the pit.  I want to get healthy, mentally and physically for myself and for the boy.  The poor, long-suffering boy who loves me so fiercly, and has been there holding on to me through all of this.

1.  Make sure the dirty dish side of the sink is empty every night before I go to bed.

2. Up my water intake.  I really want to try the gallon of water a day challenge, but I’m not sure I’m ready, so I’m starting by just drinking more water period (fairly easy considerimg I rarely drink water).

3.  Rejoin the gym and go five days a week.

4.  Leave the tv off for the better part of the day.

5.  Practice flute, clarinet, and trombone thirty minutes a day five days a week.  Practice trumpet and piano one hour five days a week. 

6.  Write for at least an hour five days a week. 

7. Do one thing in the house that qualifies as cleaning or organizing everyday. 

8.  Limit consumption of soda/junk food/fast food.  

9.  When possible, eat one family meal a week at the dining room table with the tv off, instead of on the couch with the tv on.

I feel that these are all things I can actually stick to, and hopefully with this plan of action 2017 will be amazing!

Thoughts I’m Currently Having: Part Two

Published December 18, 2015 by Malia

-Mariah Carrey’s All I Want For Christmas is insanely catchy, and is one of my very favorite songs.

-Ibuprofen was found…waiting for it to kick in.

-Giving up on numbering my thoughts…too tired to care.

-Why are my feet so cold?? Seriously, they’re never cold and I’ve got them under a blanket.

-Pain is now a 5 and nausea has kicked in. We’re having fun now…

-At least the cat is cuddling with me.

-Dude! My phone radio app has a Broadway station! They’re playing the overture from Mame.. I used to have that whole soundtrack memorized.

-Man, I used to be so impressed with my musical talent. I was genuinely convinced I really was something. I was something, alright. It’s amazing anyone was willing to be my friend back then.

-I miss singing. I miss band. A lot.

-Now, I’ve made myself sad.

-Thanks, abdominal pain, for the painful reminder you’re still there. I really don’t know what I’d do without your constant reminders…oh wait, yes, I do…I’d be functioning like a normal human being.

-I’m just gonna cuddle this pillow for awhile…

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Watching The Unicorns Frolic

Published February 20, 2014 by Malia

Last week I was driving to work, and suddenly an aria burst from my lips.  (O Mio Babbino Caro in case you’re wondering which one.)  Which was…weird.  I realized a few days later that I wasn’t just having arias popping out of my mouth, I was singing along to anything that was on.  Radio at work?  Yup.  Puppet music for new show we’re putting together?  Yup.  Random Youtube videos?  Yup.  Broadway tune that randomly popped into my head?  Yup.

What was even weirder?  I was and am enjoying singing.  Now, I’m sure that what everyone else is finding weird is the fact that I find all of this weird.  The truth is, I haven’t enjoyed singing or playing any kind of instrument since March of 2004.

See, back in March of 2004, I was a freshman in college.  A music education major.  I got off the bus from choir tour, and received some life changing news.  News that had several nasty effects on my life, but one in particular was that I began to hate music.  Me, who had spent all of her life adoring music.  I had loved music so much that when I was sixteen, I chose voice and trumpet lessons over getting a car.  That’s some real love of music.

As the weeks passed from that day in March ’04, I came to realize that my voice wasn’t really as great as I thought.  People put up with it because they were kind.  I wasn’t that great of an instrumentalist either.  Sure, I thought I was, but all the evidence pointed to the fact that my ego was just a little bit blown out of proportion.

I slowly pulled away from the world of music, and stopped singing.  Stopped listening to music.  Only pulled my trumpet out when forced to.

Fast-forward 10 years, and for some reason, along with the dormant emotions that have suddenly woken up, I’m suddenly singing and playing again.  Not because I’m being forced to, but because I genuinely want to.  My voice has changed.  Looking back, I realize that my voice wasn’t the greatest in the world, but I really did have a beautiful soprano voice.  It’s now more mezzo-soprano, but I’m okay with that.  I don’t even care if people hear me sing, I’m singing for my own pleasure.  There’s a joy in it that I’m rediscovering.

Two days ago, I mentioned to mom how surprised I was by the fact I was singing.  I told her that for the first time in forever I actually wanted to sing, and I’d been catching myself singing all the time.  Mom just looked at me and said, “You’re happy.” Which, oddly enough, is what a friend on Facebook said, yesterday, when I mentioned that out of the blue I’d lost 10 pounds.

I guess I am happy.  It’s weird.  I’ve not felt truly happy and at peace in a long time (and by long time I mean 10 years).  I’ve got a job I love, other aspects of my life are starting to make some sense, and I can honestly say that life is generally good.  So, I’m going to be silly, and probably talk to much, and possibly be a general annoyance, but it’s been so long since I’ve even wanted to be any of those things, I’m okay with it.