Campfire Music

Tonight, around a campfire, a semi-eclectic crowd of Catholic artists listened as I and a lovely younger girl Claudette performed on our ukuleles together. We had never met before this night, and only met because I agreed to bring out my ukulele to ‘give an alternate perspective’ for the typical campfire Christian guitar songs (and we had three guitars working together already), and, as I went up to play, someone mentioned having seen a ukulele with someone else a while ago. The guitar guys convinced her to pull out hers with me, and come play. No one had any idea I was about to play a German song that none of them were likely to know, but I figured we could roll with it – if the girl pulled out her uke so easily (though it wasn’t out of the case yet, and she was carrying a binder, too, so she had some hesitation hat likely was nerves), she must be able to play at least the basic chords, if not a great amount.

So, I showed her the song and we tuned her up and went through it quickly together quietly, and then someone actually made an announcement for everyone to listen to us play. I pointed out that Claudette was reading a language she didn’t understand for this, so please be very proud of how well she plays along, because that is not an easy thing to do…, and then we played. We made mistakes, and it still sounded awesome.

Then, because people just seem to do this, the guitar guys requested Iz’s “Over the Rainbow”, which both of us have but never play. It’s kind of a hassle simply due to the range going so low for the singing…, which we both proved to everyone while we fumbled through it together, laughing kind of often as we went. Afterward, we actually played a couple other songs well, and enjoyed them greatly. The other folks enjoyed them, too.

One of them was the first song in her notebook, “La Vie en Rose”, and, since her version was in English, we had her sing in through once off the paper, and then I sang it through once in French… which totally shocked the listeners, and was a way fun surprise. (By the way, I feel like I am sharing as though I am a middle or high schooler or something… :P) What was extra fun was the part where I suddenly realized that I genuinely have no idea what the very last line is, and so I simply shrugged just before it, and then sang, “Je ne sais pas les mots, mais c’est bon,” which translates to, “I do not know the words, but it’s okay.” Obviously, no one had any idea that I had made up that line. πŸ˜›

And we finished off with two collaborations with the guitar guys. The first was a semi-four chord song, so, since I couldn’t see the paper (remember, there are here guitar guys and then two of us), I just watched Claudette’s fingers to know which of the four chords was happening when out of sequence. It went surprisingly well for me… it was really cool. On the second song, the paper was on our side of the notebook, so I could see it for myself. And it was one of my favorite old songs from Church, about Samuel, who was Hannah’s child. But I liked the song long before I ever learned that connection… like a solid decade beforehand. Anyway, two guys claimed the first two versus, and said we all would sing the bird verse together (and choruses, of course). But, during the second round of the chorus, I was told/offered to sing the third verse myself. So, I did. And, halfway through, because the versus were rather long, I told Claudette to sing with me. And she did.

Singing with her reminds me of elementary school, when I was told that this one girl, Katie C—, and I sounded really great together on a certain song (“The White Cliffs of Dover”). I didn’t entirely understand at the time how anyone would know that, or how someone would sound better singing with one person than with another, except for the fact that he one person must just be a better singer than the other. I have since learned. And I was almost shocked tonight when I heard us singing together. Our voices and styles are quite different from one another, and yet they complement each other beautifully. It made me want to sing and play more with her. I hope I get the opportunity tomorrow and often in the future.

As we were closing up the campfire, it came out that this was my first public “performance” of my ukulele and singing skills, so to speak, and no one could seem to believe it. I guess because I wasn’t shaky, and was able to talk and play and sing like what seemed to them like any other normal day. But that’s training in presenting and self-comfort, not in performing music. In response to their claims of disbelief at this, I ended up sharing how I only just starting playing more and writing songs earlier this summer, so it is still a kind of new idea for me to be playing for other people in the first place. And so, now, they clamoured to hear one of my songs.

So, I accepted the anointed guitar the priest had been playing – because that’s just baller, y’all – and told a quick background to one of my songs, and then played it for everyone. And I think the back story really put a context to the song that kind of blew everyone away just a little bit. It actually made me tear up a bit during the song, as is common for me with this particular song… it’s just really good, and the meaning is spectacular when one knows the context of its writing. Anyway, so, that was a really, really cool mini-adventure tonight. And I am very grateful for it, on many accounts. Now, however, I must sleep.

Goodnight! πŸ˜‰

Post-a-day 2020

Sunday, fun day

Today had lots of emotions.

And they, for the most part, were experienced, addressed, and released.

I painted lots, and all of it while on the front porch swing, which was utterly lovely.

(Except for the few times the wind disappeared, and it was just miserably warm for about a minute or two until the wind picked up again out of nowhere…. those were not so utterly lovely…)

So, I learned all about which brushes to use for which brush strokes, which was awesome…

I played with flowers…

And I progressed significantly on my casual paint-by-numbers…

Super happy with the success of painting today(!), and very glad to have kept with this goal of mine to paint on Sundays. πŸ˜€

I then had to stop somewhat abruptly in the middle of number ten, because I felt that it was time to work on a song that suddenly was becoming very clear in my head as I painted.

So, I went inside, got to work, pulled together pieces I had wanted to use but had almost abandoned from a song yesterday and the day before – song got abandoned, but the good words got used today! – and completed the new song, recording it and all.

It helped a lot with some emotions that have been hammering the past few days, and I am grateful for that especially.

Then I rode my bicycle, stopped to listen to some lovely guitar playing and singing in the park, was invited to join the small trio, joined them, and enjoyed company for the first time in a long while… and not just because they are people, but because they are perilla I genuinely liked and enjoyed having around me…, so that was great.

And the music was, too. πŸ™‚ ❀

I love music, and I especially love good music, and I especially especially love good music being played casually right in front of or next to me.

So, it was wonderful.

Then I found a hidden minuscule park one of the trio had mentioned was near my house, and I enjoyed the Live Oak that its heart and only means of existence.

I think I will go back in the daytime to admire and appreciate some more this week.

Now, I go to sleep, exhausted… exhausted… and it’s 2:05zzz…

I am nervous for the governor’s announcement tomorrow.. I want to continue working from home for a while longer… so, I have been nervous to go to sleep tonight…

Alas, I want to sleep now, so I shall sleep.

Goodnight, World… May we have loveliness tomorrow. ❀

Post-a-day 2020

Musical date

I told a friend that I wished he would get back into playing violin again, after a several-year hiatus.

Since he is stuck at home, it feels like the perfect time for him to do it.

After hearing what I had to say, why I was saying my wish in the first place, he said he definitely would do it: Challenge accepted!

My mom said that you were working from home right now. I said, β€œI wish he would start playing violin again.” She replied, β€œYou should tell him that. He’s probably still up.”

I just really, really loved the experience of you playing violin. I mean no uncomfortable pressure by the sharing. I just have missed that part of you these past several years – you have this really amazing part of you that shows up when you play, and I always have loved it. πŸ˜‰

To which he replied:

OMGoodness. What a wonderful thing to say

And he then proceeded to tell of his recent considerations of playing, and his acceptance of the challenge!

And then, when I mentioned that I had somehow started writing songs, he said that he would get to work on violin, and then we could play/sing for one another one day in the near future.

!!!

So, basically, I have a music date with one of my dearest family friends at some point in the undetermined near future!!!

I can hardly wait(!).

And I will have to figure out what to sing and play for him for this…, which is actually really exciting and inspiring me.

Awesome. πŸ˜€

I am so ready for this fun (by which I mean to include the preparation as well as the actual music date)!

Post-a-day 2020

Music in the night

I have been playing music this weekend… and particularly to share with others…

When I put up the first song, my cousin sent the video to me almost immediately, asking if this had not been a goal of mine…

I was, at first, a bit confused, until she specified, saying that she believed I had mentioned a desire to share music publicly with people… yes, that has been a somewhat longtime wish for me, and a more recent determination (that has been very slow-moving, but moving).

The whole reason I wanted to be able to play guitar was to be able to be spending time with people, and sing songs together, thanks to my hands on the guitar… I never had specifically high hopes or goals of being an expert player – I just wanted to be able to make music communally and to share songs I love with people I love.

Now, I find myself interested in improving my performance skills, but it is not out of the same drive as the original reason for wanting to learn – it is merely for my own enjoyment.

As far as the original desire goes, I guess I am at that point already – that is, I can play casually plenty of songs and sing along with them…, but when do I actually share them with others in any way?

I am by no means a top musician or singer, but I love music and singing, and I love sharing them both with others…

Sure, the ideal scenario is something much like a campfire surrounded by many people I love dearly…, but two main parts of it all are my having the confidence to perform/play and my actually sharing with others.

This past week, I have been experiencing lots of feelings of loneliness… not overwhelming, help me, please! feelings, – they’ve all been quite manageable, and I have managed them mostly beautifully (yeah, I made some stumbles, but they’ve happened and I have let them go, so we need not Derek on those anymore) – but loneliness, nonetheless.

Whenever I feel lonely, I find myself wanting to turn, if not to people – meaning the people are unavailable – to music… music can express whatever I am feeling, usually, and then music can help me move into a different state of emotions, simply by my selecting the song and allowing myself to embrace it.

This past week, what I have probably wanted more than almost anything else has been someone to play music for me and to sing to me… I once shared online that I want a baritone to serenade me in my life, and a fabulous, incredibly sweet distant friend of mine saw the post, and promptly sent me two videos of him sitting around on a night shift at work, singing… just for me, in his baritone of a voice.

It warmed my heart so dearly, I think I shall remember it always.

Fast-forward to now, and I am approximately eight days into wanting just that in my life… but, under the circumstances, the only person at my disposal has been, well, myself…

And so, I started to play some ukulele (because I really need to change the guitar strings, and I only have strings for the two classical guitars that aren’t here right now [that’s another story for another day])…, but I quickly realized that it just wasn’t the same… my actively playing is not the same as being sung to… but, what if I recorded it?… then I could sit and listen to it afterward… for as long as I wish…

Recalling my wish to share music with others, evaluating that it would be a good way for me to make sure it is worth hearing more than once, and determining that it would be possible, I determined to make a recording to share with all my extended friends online… and all posterity… πŸ˜›

As I go to bed this Sunday night, I have listened multiple times to both of my songs that I shared this weekend, and I have loved them dearly… if anyone is able to enjoy them as I have, I am thrilled… and, even if no one has, I still am thrilled – I was confident enough to share them, I wanted to share them, I did share them, and I listened to and enjoyed them thoroughly… just lovely.

Yet another case of my kakizome coming to fruition in my life… self-trust/self-confidence and heart were definitely present in these small yet momentous tasks of the weekend.

Good job, Banana.

Now, bedtime, since you supposedly have to do this whole work thing in only a matter of hours… we’ll see how that all goes… πŸ˜›

Post-a-day 2020

Nostalgia, an early onset

I finish this teaching assignment on Friday.

And I’m already super nostalgic… and I mean super

I keep wanting to plan something amazing and sentimental to send myself off…

And I kind of feel silly for wanting to do that – it isn’t actually that big of a deal… so I keep telling myself.

I think what I’m aiming to figure out here is how truly it is or is not a big deal.

I’ve never been so myself as a teacher, and so, perhaps, I have never been so willing to be vulnerable as I have been with these guys… perhaps this is te closest I’ve ever been with students, and the best I’ve ever been as a teacher…, and so, perhaps, it actually is a big deal.

However, if I am off to be my best self the rest of my life, then this is merely the first of many fabulous situations in which I get to be my true self and allow the students to do the same, and we all love each other and get to be super sentimental all we want, any and all the time.

Nonetheless, I keep wanting to play guitar or ukulele and sing a song to and/or with them as a final goodbye.

I don’t have any French songs that come to mind yet, though… jut a bunch of honest and sentimental songs in English… and even a Spanish one, kind of.

Maybe a German song is actually the way to go… perhaps that would be best, simply because German is more my God-love language than any of the others… and that is good for them, even though it isn’t French, because 1) God and 2) still a foreign language…

Hmm…

Let me think on it…

Maybe I’ll just do the birthday song I always do… I love using it for birthdays especially, but it can apply to any day – the Lord gave you life today when you awakened, just as much as He did on the day of your birth… hmm…

I’ll reflect some more, and trust that God will give me exactly what to do. πŸ™‚

But I seriously am already nostalgic, and it hasn’t even ended yet… I shake my head at how silly this is, yet that changes nothing – I am still nostalgic for it all.

Post-a-day 2019

The music returns

Man…

I started playing music in the evenings last week… I found an iPod that apparently was discarded to me by my dad (as it has his business card in the case and loads of music that seems very much like it would have been his music), and charged it, plugged it into my speakers, and played it on shuffle.

It was great.

Especially the part where Christmas songs popped in on occasion.

I loved having the music playing in the background all evening, as it made my space feel so warm and welcoming and loving.

I even put on my unicorn onesie (handed down to me, not purchased) while I did a little art project, and the whole evening was super lovely and fun.

And I was on my own.

And the two of those don’t often go together for me, which made the night all the better.

So, I’ve begun playing music from the iPod somewhat often in the evenings at home, as of this past week and a half-ish.

The other day, I had a strong desire – enough so to follow through with it – to pull out my trumpet.

I’ve played occasionally with a school instrument at my various schools these past several years, but I hadn’t taken this one out of its case since, possibly, about seven years ago.

But I really loved playing around on it.

i then guitared last night, and that was lovely.

Today, a student showed me a silly video of another student of mine playing the saxophone (we were talking about music and playing instruments during class today), and I was inspired to pull out and play my saxophone tonight.

It, too, was a lovely time.

And there seems to be something almost magical in the air around music in my life right now – I feel somehow that it is returning to me because it is time for music to be a strong part of my life again (not because my interests have changed in any way).

I hear music on the horizon, and I am delighted.

Post-a-day 2019

Giddy up, guitar

I haven’t been playing guitar lately, and I’m not sure why…

Actually, now that I’m sitting here, considering pulling out the guitar, I realize what it likely is…

It’s two things, really.

The first was how I didn’t want the guitar sitting out in the open until I figured out the heat situation with my room – don’t want it baking in the sunlight every day.

The second was that I wanted to play my nice guitar, which someone was holding on to for me while I was in Japan… the Japan one could work, but it needs new strings before I’ll want to play it – no need or desire to get my fingers all icky from old strings.

The first problem has been resolved, using heat-blocking curtains and a fan and a window unit.

The second, however, has yet to happen…

Perhaps a useful plan of action could be to go ahead and set out the current guitar on the stand, and that would remind me often enough to go get and to replace the guitar strings.

Otherwise, I keep forgetting about it all until I’m getting ready for bed, and I’m considering some bedtime music, as I used to do during my bedtime activities.

Well, I guess I’ll give it a go, and we’ll see what happens! πŸ™‚

Post-a-day 2019

Music Therapy

For some reason, I always seem to forget how important and how valuable playing music is to my life.

I get into these ruts of not feeling like putting forth the effort to play music on any of my instruments, because it’s usually just before bed that I have the real time to spend doing it, and I’m so tired that I want to get as much sleep as possible before I wake early the next day.

And then the one or two nights like that get me in the habit of not playing (and singing), and I go weeks or months without doing any music of my own.

And then, every time I get back into it, I rediscover how massive a difference it makes for me and my sanity, my mental calm.

It is like meditation, while also being an active mental workout, figuring out the notes and all, and casually committing things to memory from it all… and also an emotional catharsis… so it’s cathartic meditative exercise for the mind and body.

And I somehow always forget that, and I let myself not play and sing… dope… cut it out. πŸ˜›

I think my whole concern is that I love it so much, I always end up playing for so long – like an hour or so – every time I play, and that’s a lot less time to sleep, especially when the alarm is sounding in only six or seven hours.

You know what I mean?

So, I want to work on that… maybe I can manage some playing during the daytime some days… or maybe find a few select songs that satisfy fully, so I can spend just five or ten minutes before bed, yet be fully satisfied…

We’ll see… that’s my goal for this month, musically – to figure that out.

Post-a-day 2019

Music tonight

I pulled out my guitar tonight and played.

I had thought that it had been maybe a month or so since I last played, and then another couple weeks or few since I had been playing regularly.

However…, I did some calculations and checking (mainly here), and discovered that I have played my guitar a maximum of a handful of times since September, the most recent one being in December…

It’s mid-March right now.

That means that I was absurdly off on my passive calculations, and it has actually been almost half a year since I played guitar regularly, and only a max of five occasions in there – though, probably more like three – have found me playing it for, say, ten minutes.

Granted, I have played a bit of ukulele since then, but that has been rather sparse, too… and my last regular playing of ukulele on the daily was actually a year ago.

I did a while of playing/making music every day for myself, no matter what, back in early Fall, but I somehow stopped…, which I usually don’t do, when I come up with something like that… (I’m thinking I reached my goal of 40 days, or else I hit moving and the absurdity that was involved with that, and so I didn’t have any instruments with me for a while, and was too distracted and exhausted by everything else either to notice or to bother with it, if I did notice.)

Part of it is as I have known for years: If I don’t have the guitar out (e.g. on a stand, from which I need only to pick up the waiting guitar in order to play it), I end up rarely playing, with the reverse being true, also – if the guitar is out, I will play it often.

Another part of it is that I miss my other guitars, and somehow feel something like being unfair to them, or like I have abandoned them, and therefore am cautious about spending too much time and energy with the Japan guitar I have with me.

Granted, the idea is totally absurd… however, that in no way changes the fact that I am experiencing it.

So, I sent a message a bit ago to the person who took temporary charge of my guitars when I moved to Japan.

He lives here in Houston, but is gone during the school year, so I might have to wait for summer… hopefully, though, his spring break will be the same as mine, and we’ll get to have coffee and then go pick up my guitars from his home, to take them to my new home.

And maybe I’ll get to pet his family cat then, too.

(On a related note, I have been missing my cat all evening, yet also totally not missing having a cat – I love animals; I just don’t want to live with any right now. I mean, let’s be real, I think this raccoon is enough for the time being.) πŸ˜›

Anyway… I played parts of two Shake Russell songs tonight, and they both were awesome.

The guitar totally needs new strings, but that is for another day’s/night’s tasks – for now, it has done its job of getting me strumming around and creating music again. πŸ™‚

I’m hoping that, while with family tomorrow, my uncle will play some Shake Russell songs with me, since we often all end up doing music stuff, anyway, when together, and our families (my mom’s and her sister’s) love Shake Russell music.

Okay, I’m stopping now, before I continue on to talk about how I love Shake Russell’s concerts, where here are only sixty-ish people, and how that’s my kind of concert, and how Japan was like that at times, too, and now I’m suddenly super sentimental, and tears this and tears that, another hour has passed, and I’m still not asleep in bed. πŸ˜›

Therefore, I bid you wonderful nights and days and mornings and evenings and everything in between. ❀

Peace

Hannah

P.S. (Aha!) I’ve remembered: I stopped the daily music because it was something I was aiming to do daily, but not something I’d committed to doing daily… it is a small distinction between the two, but it is important to note – life got busy, and I opted for sleep over music… :/ …, but I didn’t break my word on anything there. πŸ™‚ (Phew!)

Post-a-day 2019