Tuesday, March 28, 2017

fair trade

There are things that i've gone through in my life that i had understood at the time to be moments that i had to learn purely to trust. People spoke about purpose in pain, and i thought that the ability to grasp the purpose was like some magical mathematical algorhythm that i lacked the capacity to understand. Pain was something i could accept with blind faith, but i never had an expectation or hope for complete understanding. i've always been ok with that. i didn't look for purpose or reasoning to understand my pain... As far as i was concerned, i figured my Father had reasons that might be generations in the making - and i trusted Him - and that was enough.
Recently though, He has given me clear insight into some of the why's of my life. And that insight itself is some kind of strange, painful beauty. Pain in the reliving of my own grief, and beauty in seeing where He has brought me since. i am able to recognize and remember moments of confusion and agony and apply it in situations that would have boggled my mind before.
i'm aware.
And i wonder if that is some small gift that comes with age and experience... To compensate for the fine lines and soft sagging flesh, we get tiny glimpses of understanding.
It might be a worthwhile trade.

Monday, March 13, 2017


"Often, the most precarious part of a mounting, sustained line is found not in approaching the climactic notes, but in descending from them. Breath energy has been expended improperly on the dramatic "high" note, with nothing left in reserve." - The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller

i've been reading my vocal class text book from college. i pace around the kitchen making weird sounds as my husband watches sports on the couch with my boys, laughing as i try vocal exercises - weighing their value and my understanding of the technique required to perform them properly. i often have to read and re-read whole sections before i understand them - it's a slow, plodding read, but i do find i'm re-learning a ton, and i am enjoying it. 

i came to the quote above last night and i read it a couple of times before highlighting it in sunshine yellow. i want to remember that. Sometimes beauty is in the ability to hold on after the dramatic high - to remain constant and supported during the re-descending. i felt like that passage uniquely captures a tiny piece of mothering in these strange in between years - where i have adult children and a three year old. And of course, i would be a fool to assume that it's possible to hold anything in reserve from those years of sleep deprivation and baby making and the laundry and food and constant, perpetual action... but as the author describes the skills that need mastering in order to avoid cumulative strain and fatigue - as he explains that when we lack the ability to make rapid adjustments freely - the vocal instrument is sure to tire - it hits home. As the melodic phrase of my child bearing years has come to it's height and begins it's descent, i want to be faithfully sustaining the passage that follows as well as i live my life in sostenuto. 

"The ultimate test of technical ability lies in sustained singing. Energy and power are frequently required, but these attributes of the good singer must be balance by freedom."- The Structure of Singing by Richard Miller

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

learning to teach

Knowing something and having the capacity to teach it are two very different things.

I'm learning new things, and for each new thing i learn, i dissect it in my mind and try to organize it into a lesson - something digestible to a person wanting to learn. Things that have become intuitive for me over the years, little frills or licks on the piano, vocal effects, breath support or vocal onset... have become things that i slow down, pick apart, analyze and then offer back.
i'm enjoying the challenge, and i do feel like i'm getting better at it as i use one way of expressing an idea with one student and i see the lightbulb go off & then i file it away to use again with the next person. i'm gaining experience - and i'm so grateful to these first students who are so graciously gifting me with the opportunity of obtaining it.

But over and above all that, i want to share the one thing that motivates my desire to teach.

It's a single thought - and i'm sure that without it, i probably would have already quit... but i was praying about teaching one day, and i was struck with the knowledge that it's all about the people. As the idea hit... not idea - "transformative knowledge" is maybe a better way of phrasing it... i pulled out my "to do" list where i jot down ways to get better or things i want to accomplish that are outside of my normal.
i wrote my name... getting my future self's attention, and put a box around it.
"Paige, remember: God loves people. This is so important. Figure out how to incorporate this into every step."
Beside it, i placed a little empty check box... so that i would always see it and remember that i'm not done pouring out for people - the ones loved by Him - the ones He gives me to teach and to love too.

So, there is my snippet of thought on this Wednesday afternoon as i prepare another lesson and research method and technique and transpose another song that will be sung... Over, above and wound through this little bit of effort is the knowledge that i use to act upon:
God Loves People. This... This is what matters.


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