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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Back to the Grindstone

I certainly wouldn't want to put my nose to one of those. It'd shave off the already tiny portion of a nose I do have! Some of the other members of my family, on the other hand....might not mind so much. 

Of course we all know that putting one's nose to the grindstone is a figure of speech, an idiom, meaning to work diligently at something. Because, by working diligently at something, you sharpen your skills, you become more efficient, you gain more knowledge, you have a better understanding: you become a better tool or a finer piece. 

That's what a grindstone does. By rotating and applying a metal to the surface of the stone (usually sandstone), a chisel can be sharpened, for example, as in the above picture provided by google images. 

So when we say we're "back to the grindstone" we mean we're back to working diligently. Or rather, that the children are back to working diligently (we hope) at school. But how many adults really and truly work diligently? So as to actually become a better tool or a finer piece?

Work ethic, gumption, "grit"--these are all qualities I believe we must encourage in our children, for without them, they will become like everyone else: satisfied with the minimum, discouraged at the first obstacle. 

What good is that? Talk about not motivating. 

Along with those, we ABSOLUTELY must develop the virtues of charity and honesty in our children. These are just as important, and in fact, if the charity is true charity, then all the others will flow from it. That is the trick, though--fostering a true charity. And honesty, sometimes I wonder if honesty even exists in our world anymore. But it does. In bits and pieces. 

So that's your homework assignment: work ethic, gumption, "grit", charity, honesty

Be glad--you have so much to give!

Monday, July 9, 2012

In the Scorching Summer

(think the tune: In the Bleak Midwinter)

In the scorching summer, no one wants to work
Arizona's way too hot, we've all gone berserk
Temperatures are one fifteen, sometimes even more
Keep the kids from fighting, that's the hardest chore.

There's still a month of break left, whatever will I do?
Camp, vacation and karate, those are already through
I have no more suggestions, I just want the kids in school
It won't be long before now one gets chucked in the pool.

I really do love my children, but summers are the worst
It's not as though the harvest demands, their hard-earning thirst
Every year it's the same old pattern, kids forget all they learned
Please tell me how this is ok, is no one else concerned?

Stay tuned (pun intended) for my response to the parental summer dilemma! Thank you for reading (well, hopefully singing!) :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


A while back I posted a TED video about the art (and genius) of classical music given by Benjamin Zander.  Recently, I've had one piano student very interested in more contemporary techniques, and in particular, using the inside of the piano as well. I told him about John Cage and the performance of 4'33".

Today I came across a video performance of a piece written for prepared piano. This particular piece was not written by John Cage, but it struck me because it was fascinating to watch...both the musician and the inside of the piano. However, it is not that it was fascinating that stayed with me; it was that the piece was profoundly beautiful.  The combination of the two is inspiring to me as a musician, a teacher, and one who's listening preference is "classical" (in general, that is).

"Mount Hood" as performed by the composer on NPR

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Growing Studio

March is now over, marking the end of 6 months since the launch of my own business. In that time, I have learned many things about entrepreneurship; the first of which is timing. Timing is crucial, and it's not something one can really control. In the past six months I grew from having a meager studio of just a few clients to a studio four times that size, to a stable number now that falls in between those two marks.

Where the notion of timing enters this development, however, is in the fact that I did absolutely nothing new in promoting my business between the time of just a few clients to a studio three times that size. That between time was just before and just after Christmas. Of course I had taken many measures previously and subsequently, and many continual measures to this day; but as far as when the growth actually occurred (and will continue to occur), that was nothing I could predict or foresee.

Entrepreneurship also requires a bit of pizzazz or zest--

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Click on the bar above to view my Revised Website!

Thanks to some helpful words/guidance and information from my brother a few months ago and now the right timing, I was "finally" able to successfully edit some of the code on my website earlier this week.  I like it better, but please feel free to comment or make any suggestions for improvement below!

It's complete with good information, means of scheduling lessons or appointments online, and documents for downloading (pictures etc for viewing to follow soon) - all made enjoyable by background music.  Thank you!

(By my students, a.k.a: Miss Julia, mom or even mommy a few times I think, Miss Meyer-which usually comes out "Mrs" Meyer)
(By my close friends, a.k.a:  Jules, Julia BeDulia, Julia Goolia, Julia Hulia)

 P.S. As a side note, I really recommend as a good web builder for those of us not fluent in different codes. There's a great deal of variety and options that other web builders don't offer, even with just the free package.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Congratulations to my sister!

My sister, Michelle Margaret Meyer Gay (Michelle Meyer, professionally), is a 2012 Sloan Foundation Fellow. More information about the fellowship can be found here:

(She's the 7th bullet - from what I recall about her research anyways)

And a list of this years awardees:

Congratulations Shell!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some Thoughts

*There are so many details with which we concern ourselves in our daily lives, but how many of them are truly important?  It's my position that most of these details people attend to are superficial, yet simultaneously, there is no detail that is not potentially life-altering.

*Nothing is truly insignificant, yet everything is insignificant*

*Every action, as mundane as it may be, to be done with a purpose of love and sacrifice
*Consideration of others; and acknowledging it in others when you see it (because as rare as it is, it does still exist)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dear friends,
I wish you a most blessed New Year abounding in new opportunities.  Many updates for yours truly:

1) Beginning in mid-November I began composing what will be a 4-part chorus, hopefully with some type of accompaniment (before I was thinking piano, now I'm thinking small ensemble).  I've named it Joy in Sorrow and the text is taken from an old Irish blessing. I'm about halfway there in terms of voice parts.

2) I've updated both my sites and will be adding new audio and video in the coming week.  My students and I are having a great time learning new things together.  I have one student (7 years old) sight-reading a series of 5-6 notes, starting on any key knowing that the first note is either do, fa, ti, or whatever scale degree.  Another student (6 years old) and I, for a portion of each lesson, are playing Go Fish or some other similar game with note flashcards to more quickly identify the note and increase the vocabulary for describing its placement.  Many more things going on than that, but just to give you a slight idea.

3) Remember that collaborative project I had mentioned?  Well, I've evaluated the samples and will be drafting an email to send to the CEO of the company (Peterson Directed Handwriting) and production will be forthcoming.

4) I have rejoined ASU's Choral Union for this semester (yay!) and we are singing Brahms Requiem - truly an exquisite composition.

5) I'm reading a very neat book: Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter.  It won the Pulitzer Prize and the author has actually won a Nobel in the area of economics.  But the book is a historical account demonstrating the connections between mathematics, art, and music (Godel a mathematician, Escher a print artist, and of course Bach, the master of fugues). I'm not very far into it yet, but it is an exciting read - at least to me....:)  Its subtitle?  "A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the Spirit of Lewis Carroll"  Good luck with that one.