Anxious to work on it more.....but I rested the remainder of the day and it was wonderful.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Anxious to work on it more.....but I rested the remainder of the day and it was wonderful.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
They were HUGE!
This project is feeling HUGE. After all, how hard can it be to write lyrics? Sometimes not hard at all. Other times......very tough!
But I did it.
Today, after cleaning, taking a friend out to breakfast for her birthday (in a snow storm) and helping her figure out the right key for a song she is going to record soon, I came up with more words to the song I've been wrestling with all week. It's getting past that block point that seems to be the trick.
Finding the balance between breaking the block and not forcing lyrics is a tough act sometimes.
At least I am now on my way to tuning into what I really want to say in this song.
I close with a contentedness in my soul and leave you with the scene I have enjoyed this afternoon as I wrote more lyrics.
Friday, December 28, 2012
My prayers go something like this:
"Father, I commit this whole cd project to you. I ask you to give me divine contacts and appointments. Put me in the right places at the right times.
I ask you to lead me to the right producer, arranger, players, etc. I ask that you would supply the funding I'll need to accomplish something like this.
If there is a Christmas show in my future, would you arrange the venue and the team of people to help me accomplish the vision in my heart.
Give me words for the song that I am currently trying to rewrite. I can't seem to get past the first line. I need your help and inspiration.
Guide my steps. I can't do this alone."
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Today I spent the whole day in the studio. I've been hired to write a birthday song for someone so today was the day to write it, record it and send it off to see if it meets the wishes of the family. If they approve, it will take a big load off of my mind and I can really begin to focus more on the Christmas tunes.
Though that took most of my day, I did get to work on my Christmas song a little bit and I also made a video for my fans to tell them about the Christmas project so they can connect on this daily blog if they want to.
Making some headway!
The pic is the view I have as I work in my studio. Nice snow day!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
I worked at the church today and came home through snow and ice, taking twice the normal traveling time.
I've been so busy the last few days that I don't have much left to be creative tonight.
One line will have to do.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Very long day...full of food prep and church service prep.
The only bite I took today from the elephant was to work on rewriting one of my christmas tunes while I drove from home to the church. It's about a 20 minute drive which gave me a little bit of think time and oddly enough, some new words came to me as I drove.
I'm anxious to work on them, but it's late and tomorrow is another big day.
On a different note, I saw the most precious thing today. I stopped to pick up a last minute item and was shocked at the amount of traffic and shoppers still out and about. I sat in a long line of cars waiting for the light to turn green.
Finally, it turned green and just as we began to move, the car in front of me stopped and stuck his hand out the passenger window and gave a homeless man standing along the road what must have been money. I was so touched by his thoughtfulness and I paused, gasped and then felt some tears flow freely down my face. I could have sighed and been frustrated at this hold up, but instead, I was somehow moved by it. The gratefulness of the recipient was obvious.
How nice to witness that act of kindness on such a busy day.
Merry Christmas Eve.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Tears, hugs, expressions of appreciation.....part of my reward for learning and delivering the song in the best way I knew how.
Songs are simply letters strung together to create words. Words strung together to create phrases.
Melodies are made up of one note after another carrying us away to other places only our souls can reach. To put all of these elements into 3 minutes or more and then make others cry, laugh or shiver, is the ideal I strive for.
Some things on my to do list are very easy:
Send an email? Done.
Make a phone call? Done.
Write a song (or rewrite a song) that can touch a soul in deep places or help change a culture?Hours, days, even years.
I have a Christmas song I'm working on that someone thinks is a hit....with some re-writing. That's someone's opinion. But I too sense there is some gold there, I just have to keep mining to find it. Not today......my sabbath.
....but it is on my to do list.
For now....I need to finish making our fried chicken supper. It's smelling really good.
I close with a photo of a bird nest I found on my walk today. I added some acorns to remind me that seeds do grow and become mighty places for birds to build such intricate nests. Like a songwriter.......
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Tonight I made mushroom soup for Christmas Eve and applesauce cake in jars...makes a nice gift or dessert in a hurry.
Now for the elephant diet.....I didn't get a lot accomplished on that end, but I did figure out how to add a subscribe button to the blog so you and others can sign up to automatically receive the blog in your email box every time I blog.
I'm sure this seems small to seasoned bloggers, but since I still struggle to keep up with all the technology that's available to us, this was no small accomplishment for me.
So go ahead, celebrate this small accomplishment with me and try out the system.....you should be able to sign up for daily updates now.
That's going to have to be it for today. It's almost bed time and Tom and I have to taste test the applesauce cake and make sure it's good enough to give away.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I came home from working at the church and working out at the gym and my brain was so exhausted I didn't think I could carry on in any kind of creative venture today.
In spite of exhaustion, I did listen to some music that the orchestra conductor sent me and have been pondering how best to proceed with him. Do I have him listen to what I'm writing and see if he is inspired by it and can write orchestration for my songs for a live show? Or do I record the songs first and then come back to him with the finished product and have him write arrangements for a live show then? And how much will his work cost? So many decisions!
I also spent some time listing all the songs I've written relating to Christmas and the popular tunes I'd like to record too and I have too many for one project. That means I will have to cut some out. Ouch!!!!
For now.....it's back to the church tonight for rehearsal and service planning.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
|Concert at Menno Haven, PA|
|My mother listens to my program|
I gave a short concert at the retirement home where my mother lives.
Someone from the community who is on my mailing list must have seen the date scheduled on my calendar and came to the concert. She first heard me years ago in MD at another concert.
She came up after the program and asked if I've ever considered doing a Christmas CD. For the first time in years, I was able to respond by saying, "yes, I have committed to doing one!". Usually I say, I hope to someday, or I don't know if I'll ever get to do one or not. But tonight, I could say YES and I felt like shouting it out!!!
The other neat thing that happened was that after my concert, I checked my e-mail and discovered that an orchestra conductor I contacted recently about doing orchestral arrangements and conducting for a Christmas show (to celebrate the completion of the CD) finally got back to me and is available to meet and listen to what I'm writing and see what he thinks about writing arrangements for the songs.
I am quite excited! Onward we move!!!
Now...I'll go eat some of the fresh chocolate chip cookies I just took out of the oven.....joined by my husband.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Started at 5:15 a.m.
Gym, breakfast meeting, staff meeting, lunch meeting, decorating the church for Christmas and rehearsing.
Home for a cup of tea and short rest, then off to do a concert tonight.
Prayed over the CD project on my way to the concert. Tried out some of my Christmas tunes on the audience and found them to be well received. That's all I can do today toward the project.
Still to do: write in my gratitude journal and then enjoy a big juicy naval orange for a snack, with my husband.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Since my 'day job' is at a church, that doesn't make for much of a sabbath. In fact, we had a quiz this morning in our class about the Christmas story. I failed it. As we discussed the answers, I realized how much of what I think about the Christmas story has been handed down to me through the carols we sing every year.
1) we don't know that there were 3 kings, only that there were 3 gifts
there goes the song 'We Three Kings'
2) we don't know for sure that the angels sang
so what about 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing?'
3) we don't have record of any animals in the story
so what about 'the cattle are lowing' and 'why lies He in such low estate where ox and lamb are feeding?'
.....and does it really matter that we don't know for sure?
What does this have to do with my songs for my CD? Everything!
We teach things to each other by the songs that we sing. Details, emotions, nuances.......so I began thinking about the lyrics to my own songs. What am I teaching others by what I write?
One of the lines in one of my songs says 'now she's speaking to a gathered crowd' - referring to the woman in the scriptures who had fasted and prayed most of her life for the Messiah to come. It doesn't really say there was a crowd gathered. I just picture it that way.
Do I research and make sure I have all the facts straight?
I'm not supposed to work on the CD on my sabbath (I made that boundary for myself) but that's like asking a mom to disengage from being a mom one day a week. Even if she doesn't do any mom related activities, it's in her soul to let her mind wander toward her beloved children.
I'm no different.....my songs are me. They are a part of my fabric.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Bob Baker (from http://www.thebuzzfactor.com) quoted Seth Godin on the podcast I listened to today and asked that question of us as artists.
It's been the thrust of my thinking ever since I heard it. It's the only chance I've had today to work toward the CD.
Here's my best try at it for now.....certainly much more to process in the days to come:
"I hope that by creating an authentic, meaningful Christmas CD, I can help people who dread the holidays or struggle to find meaning over this time of year experience encouragement and refreshment as they listen to the songs. As I give voice to my own past struggles with the holidays, maybe it will give others permission to express their feelings and all of us can find a new freedom in walking this journey together."
I was even more determined to find a way to make a difference with my music as I talked with a friend who attended a funeral today of her friend who committed suicide this week: A fifty-six year old woman who became grandma to a little boy born the night before she died.
We need each other to make it through the tough times!
Friday, December 14, 2012
It's one thing to write lyrics on your iPad, it's another thing to sing them in context with the rest of the song and with an instrument and your voice. Sometimes lyrics flow nicely in printed form, but they don't sing well.
Sometimes I like a song, but it doesn't seem to connect with the audience. I'm finding that I prefer trying things out on my fans before I spend money to record the song.
I also researched video cameras to see what is out there, how much they cost and tried to determine what I need to accomplish my goals.
I also created an electronic newsletter for my fans today. (You can sign up on my website www.francesdrost.com. I will be running a photo contest where the winner will receive a free song written for their child. I will create a music video to one of my favorite Christmas songs called MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) using the photos submitted by my fans of not so silent night preschoolers. It's a funny song contrasting the song, Silent Night.
After all, does a young mother really have a silent night?
Another step completed in the project. Many more to go.
Another terrible school shooting today. CT this time. What was broken in the heart of the man who found it necessary to do this to innocent families? It is not fathomable to me.
I close on a solemn note.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I can see that Kickstarter is its own elephant! But as I watched videos that other 'creators' have made to share their vision with the world, I was greatly inspired to think even more creatively about my Christmas CD project and how I could come up with inspiring ways to cast my vision to my network of fans and friends. The wheels are turning.
Another fantastic thing took place today.
I attended what has become an annual brunch hosted by a fan of mine who has now become a very dear friend. It was just 3 of us, but it was amazing. Her gift is hospitality and she really pours it on. These 2 ladies have been such a support to me the past couple of years. They are women I can look up to and talk to about so many things.
I decided to be bold and share my vision for a CD and shhhhh........(an annual Christmas show) with them and I was delighted by their response. As I began to open up my heart to them, they began to contribute their ideas and suggestions and were so anxious to hear more about it that we are going to meet again sometime next month and have a listening party. They will get to hear the rough drafts of my songs and are eager to watch the project unfold.
Not only was I encouraged by their excitement and support, but I walked away realizing that I have come a long way as an artist from when I first started. I used to be so shy about my journey and my dreams and only invited folks to see or hear the finished product.
I have become so much more comfortable in my skin and with who I am becoming, that this time around, as I blog each day and share the journey openly, I find it much more exciting to take people with me, than to go alone.
What a day!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Today was a small bite.
I started my day around 6:00 a.m., did vocal warm-ups while driving to church, worked at the church again - longer than I had planned - went to the gym, ran errands, came home to shower, answer e-mails and make supper preparations.
Tonight I head back to the church. It's Christmas time...rehearsals, etc.
My one bite toward the Christmas CD was small, but thanks to my "to do" list that I made last night, I was able to look at it and quickly identify what I could do to work at it, even if it was only for 20 minutes or so.
I started getting my songs moved into one file and getting them typed so I can easily find them and re-write them.
A few minutes with my husband and I'm off to the church again.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
However, since my job is music at the church, any practicing I do on the piano or even in singing, means I am contributing to anything else I do musically because it's all working toward being a better musician and each affects the other.
When I got home, I made supper, spent a long time on the phone trying to deal with a credit card machine dispute on my statement (from sales at concerts) and really felt like just collapsing on the couch afterward.
Though I did take a moment to rest, I was interrupted by the phone ringing, so that ended the rest. That gave me what I needed though to get up and work on my elephant.
This will be the good thing about daily blogging. It will keep me accountable to stick with it because I need to let you know what I'm doing each day toward the project.
So I spent some time just sitting and praying. This is no small undertaking in so many ways, so I think that any time I can spend praying over it is time well spent.
Next, I wrote another verse to a song about taking a ride in the sleigh. I love snow and this will be my second snow song on the project. It needed another verse so I took my first stab at verse # 3. I'm sure it will need improvement, but getting something down on paper is another step in the process. Now I can go back later and re-write it.
So long....on this rainy Monday.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
This morning I woke up around 6:00 a.m. with one of my Christmas songs on my mind. It occurred to me that some lyrics could be stronger so I began to rewrite them in my head. Another bite out of the elephant. Years ago I was listening to a radio program about Christmas by Focus on the Family and in the midst of the show they used the phrase "A Night Of Miracles" and somehow it jumped out at me. I began to write a song with that title and that's the song that I woke up with in my head this morning. The Christmas story is full of miracles! I have them numbered in my Bible and have over 33 amazing things that happened in that story and the song lists only a few of them. When you're preparing to do a CD, you really want the songs to be strong so you work on making them the best even up to the moment of recording them. Today I also communicated with a couple of different producers that I'm considering for the project. Every producer brings something different to the song, so it's a hard decision. I worked on making a demo of the song with just a piano and vocal track so they get the idea of the song and sent it by email to one of the producers I'm considering. I've never used him before so I'm having him do one song to see how it goes. I met with him this past summer and really liked his music and his heart. Today I also listened to another demo that I was working on from last night in my studio. It's always good to listen to your work with fresh ears! I want it to have an "Enya" flavor. Enya has inspired me so much over the years. A track like that involves singing with yourself over and over....tons of stacked vocals. You have to be sure to sing well each time because you are trying to match the nuances of each previous track. The song didn't sound like I wanted it to today, so I have to figure out why and how to make it what I want. A producer will certainly help get the song to the way I want it, but I want to have it close to what I want when I give him a demo of it. Not every day will be this full of activities dedicated to a Christmas project. Saturdays are normally my cleaning day, bank errands and grocery shopping. I got all that done, plus worked on songs in between cooking and caring for a sick husband. Finishing up the day with a delightful piece of pineapple upside down cake that started out as a fiasco when I forgot to put the pineapples in first. But it turned out ok and it tastes wonderful!
Friday, December 7, 2012
I've always heard that if you want to eat an elephant, it's best if you eat it one bite at a time. There are two elephants I'd like to eat these days: 1) getting better and more consistent about blogging 2) producing a Christmas CD I think the best way I can do both, is to combine the two.
So here I go! I am going to blog about the journey of what it's like to do a CD project and let you in on the process: the decisions and hard work that go into something of this magnitude. This will be my 7th CD project. I've also recorded 2 singles and 1 professional music video. They are all big elephants, but I've eaten them all and without having to go into debt to do it. Welcome to the journey of making a CD. Hopefully as you read this, you will get inspired to eat your own elephant - one bite at a time.
(I have no idea what the calorie count is when eating an elephant).
Friday, September 21, 2012
I believe we are all born with a seed inside of us. It might be a seed of music or teaching, etc. As we discover our seed, we will encounter challenging soils and elements that will threaten to steal the seed. This message encourages us to HANG on to the seed! Fruit will come if we stick with it!
Friday, August 31, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
"May I have a lollipop?" the eager child had asked the grocery clerk.
Though she was given permission to have the lollipop, she was given strict orders by her grandmother to NOT eat it before supper!
I smiled to myself. I had heard similar words most of my growing up years. We were not allowed to eat any kind of snack before a meal and were often reminded that it would spoil our supper if we did.
My Mother was a fabulous cook and I was too young to appreciate it at the time. Now, in her 89th year, she has had to give up cooking for herself and it has been very hard on her. As I watch her age, I realize that though aging brings wisdom, it also brings loss of independence and a new level of wisdom is needed.
It has been quite a year for her and I knew that things were shifting significantly when she began to delight in having afternoon tea and CHOCOLATE! Her expression of pleasure when I offered her a chocolate bar told me that we were no longer living under childhood laws but mutual love between two grown-ups maneuvering our way through life together.
The roles have been reversed. As a child, I needed her to guide me into proper eating habits and she now needs me to help her adjust to the challenges of aging. I can think of no better way to do that than with afternoon chocolate.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Psalm 40:3 "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord."
I get the impression that people can 'see' things when they hear a song. Maybe they can see hope or love or a reason to get up and live today because of what we sing. I certainly have been touched by a song many times in my life.
A truth set to music can really do something deep in your soul, even change your mind.
So as I set out to write a song today, I hope that it will be a song that God puts in my mouth and causes the listeners to see God in such a powerful way that they actually end up trusting Him either for the first time or for the millionth time!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
As you embrace a new year and leave the old behind, try taking inventory of what works and what doesn't in your own life and then leave out what's not working and you already have some good things going for you....no need to burden yourself with lists of resolutions that fade by February.