Rebuilding

My Humpty Dumpty computer is being put together again, without any help whatsoever from the king’s horses or the king’s men! Last week the computer crashed and took with it my pictures, files, histories, address book, my stash of coupons and half of my  pantry.

And – I’m wrestling with a cold and/or allergies. While playing the banjo, it is good to have a raspy voice and sound pitiful, as if my partner and my dog ran off the same day. However, I will be playing the flute in the hospital this week – two days even. Getting air, and being able to breathe out air sans sputtering and hacking, is a lovely thing with woodwind instruments! (This week, I’m in a hospital lobby – nowhere close to any sick kids who are up on the units!!)

I see only cold meds

I see only cold meds

Good Day

Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.

I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.

One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).

BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.

Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.

Alto flute with curved head piece.

Alto flute with curved head piece.

 

Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys

Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys

Perspective

Today, I played music at the children’s hospital where I am on the floor – unit, technically speaking – with the sick kids. I love when I am tuning up and some bystanders say they like the sound. Easy audience! I hadn’t even played anything yet; so sweet. The ad-lib numbers on the alto flute and therapy harp went well. Had some boo boos and one really bad song on the concert flute along the way.  Oh well. The most interesting thing was struggling to get notes out of my alto flute because I was sliding off of it from sweating. Wheeeee.

Some of the kids I play for are literally fighting for their lives because of cancer. I couldn’t believe, while driving home and listening to the radio, that a blurb came on about “how to survive a bad haircut”. Survive? Seriously??

Once home, I opened a letter from our sponsored child in Guatemala.

Ahhh. Fabulous day.

(If I could get paid to crochet and play therapeutic music, that would be the ultimate!!)

Reverie Therapy Harp. LOVE it!!!

Reverie Therapy Harp. LOVE it!!!

Hardware galore - and a wooden imposter!

Hardware galore – and a wooden imposter!

 

Finally Fluting Again!

Other than popping into PCC’s chamber ensemble 2 weeks ago, I have not played any instruments since last October. Hoo boy – going through withdrawal for sure!

I’m getting repertoire together to play at the children’s hospital. If one can get the commercial aspects out of one’s mind, many Disney songs are quite lovely from a melodic perspective. I’ve developed a whole new appreciation for “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

Figuring out melodies/harmonies in 2 different keys

Figuring out melodies/harmonies in 2 different keys

 

Flutetastic work of art. Love those keys!

Flutetastic work of art. Love those keys!

 

 

Kombucha Goodness

Hey y’all,

Being the southern gal that I am, I will just plum chat it up with anyone. I saw a couple at Whole Foods this morning eyeing the Kombucha bottles. (It’s a fermented “tea”; one that I make at home when I’m not in lazy or super busy mode). Welllll – I seized the opportunity to tell them about this wonderful drink. It has probiotics and B vitamins. It’s energizing and calming at the same time. And you almost certainly won’t like it the first time you drink it. But then it GROWS on ya. Yum, yum, yum.

This morning, I had a PT appt at 7:45am. Something just not quite right about that early hour. Today is music class, then music practice for when I play in the hospital again on the 21st, and Kindermusik prep for my 3rd practicum class on Tuesday. Tonight, we’re going to a lecture on DNA stuff. You know – stuff about DNA. 🙂

Happy day y’all. Have some Kombucha!

Caveman Music Notes

I’m “finding myself” prepping for a 2 hour hospital music gig (tomorrow – eek) at the last minute. Life has gotten crazy busy but I have definitely learned that I need to slow it WAY down for next quarter. It was just too exciting to be out amongst people and to get my life back again!!!

I have 15 backing tracks for tomorrow. I’m listening to them and scribbling down melody and harmony lines. Most musicians, with any kind of finesse, have a music software program (or at least paper with staff lines) and can record their intentions. At this point in the game, I’m using cryptic letters on note cards. Do you see a time signature, time value on the notes, rests, distinct bars between measures, etc, below? Well, neither do I! (“Tee hee”, she says nervously) 

In my favor is that I have played some of these before at the hospital, but on the alto flute. Now I’m in a different key. Wish me luck.

Late breaking addendum : Some of the terror has abated with the fun of figuring out The Beach Boy’s “Sloop John B” on TWO flutes (to be played consecutively, not simultaneously. That trick will be saved for next year).

Vanna – I’d like to buy a vowel please.

It’s alphabet soup! It’s hints for Scrabble! No – it’s my “professional score”.

Sloop Dog. The Lion Sloops Tonight.
Wow, do I need sloop – sleep – or what?

Baptism by Fire

After a year of waiting, administrative details and some challenging life events, I *finally* got to play music at a local children’s hospital. It was FUN! It was crazy! Here are the details.

I pulled off, barely, in 3 or 4 days what I should have done over 3 months; namely, practice with my heavier alto flute everyday in measured doses, find backing tracks, figure out slowly how to write harmony and transpose music for an instrument that is in G etc. But noooo, I worked on this like a maniac for 3 or 4 days solid because I didn’t know what I was getting into until I had jumped off the proverbial cliff.

After arriving at the hospital lobby, I had the choice of a comfy chair, that looked like a propped up blood cell, or a bar stool. I plopped down in the nucleus of the blood cell and started setting up the ueber scary, brand new technology – a bluetooth wireless speaker synched up with my iPhone and a playlist that I was counting on.

Bluetooth didn’t work – used a cord. Playlist shuffled itself (eek). I hadn’t worked on the music enough (double eek). And I’ve performed in a wide variety of places but never with a blender or espresso machine running in the background (hospital lobby snack bar). 🙂  And a sweet man was talking to me, for a short while, and God Blessing me every sentence while I was playing the flute and wrestling with techno/musical ad lib challenges. (But he made my day!!) And my fingers were so clamped onto the flute, because of nerves and the weight of the flute, that I had to manually pry them off so I could mess with my iPhone – mid song!

I put on my best actor/interpreter face, and despite turning into a marshmallow moosh mess on the inside, I had FUN and pulled it off well enough to pass the virtual interview. I will practice MUCH more, especially with the lighter flute, and be better prepared for next time; at which point, I get to play on the hospital floor for the sick kiddos. CAN’T WAIT!!!!

The closest I’ll ever get to having my name “up in lights”