Friday, January 18, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 40 A Listening Party

I can't believe it's day # 40 already.

I certainly have learned a valuable lesson.  It's one thing to be told that if you just do a little bit each day toward your goal you will accomplish a lot, and another thing to actually do it and find that it's true.

After rambling last night in my blog about all the things I wish for and complaining about being so tired at night that I'm too brain dead to do anything creative, I actually did begin to work on something else on my 'to do' list.  I guess I just needed to clear the air.

I started planning my upcoming listening party that I promised two of my friends before the end of January.  This involves putting together an interesting way of presenting the music to the girls who I hope will be my song sisters for the Christmas show (otherwise known as back up singers - though they will be more than that!!).

I began writing a script that ties everything together and tells a story of my own journey back to the heart of Christmas.  Today I finished it, recorded it and listened back, already hearing some changes I need to make.

They are coming in a couple of weeks, so I want time to let it all settle and listen again before they listen.

This is a scary adventure.  It might be compared to presenting story boards for a movie idea.  It's such a small way to present such a big vision, but you have to start somewhere.

The music is in its raw form....just a simple recording.  I want everyone to hear the finished product.  It's like getting dressed up to go out with your soon to be husband who only sees the good stuff on the outside of you (the finished recording) versus waking up first thing in the morning with your husband when your hair is a wreck and you have no makeup on (the homemade version of the music).  It feels totally vulnerable.   But I am committed to seeing this thing through.

I'll continue the journey on Monday - taking a weekend break again.  I think it did me good last weekend and I intend to do it again.

Thanks for reading and thanks for cheering me on!

Have a great weekend.  And oh - what is YOUR elephant that you could start tackling one bite at a time?  This really works!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 39 I Wish

Sometimes I wish for.......

  • unlimited resources to do what's in my heart for this project
  • a creative team to help me put together Kickstarter videos like this one or a funny one you can see here (but if I had unlimited resources I wouldn't need to do a Kickstarter project so we could do cool music videos instead or whatever we wanted)
  • a business manager to help me find the right venue for doing a christmas show 
  • someone to look after all the details that go into doing a big show so I could concentrate on the music (ticket sales, lighting, props, stage decor)
  • an image consultant to pick out a wardrobe for me so I always look 'hip' (see unlimited resources wish)
  • hair and make up artist to bring out the best of me
  • more creative brain cells left at the end of the day when I need to be working instead of blogging about my wish list
  • a dog like the one I'm holding in the picture - then all would be well

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 38 Music lessons

Today I learned another valuable lesson in music.

I printed out the score for the song "Joy To The World" that the arranger has been working on for me.  That means that I can see note by note what each instrument is doing along with my piano parts.

Horns, Oboe, Piccalo, Strings, Timpani....they all add so much to a song in the right places.

But I noticed something as I was listening and reading.  There are places where he took away my piano parts and let other instruments carry the ideas.  Then there are places where he is having me play something a little different than I originally played.  This gives interesting contrast to the piece of music as opposed to me doing everything.

Aha.  It's like living in community with other people.  Sometimes, we need to back off and let someone else take the lead and have their moment to shine.  Marriage, church, friends, parents, children, work.  In all these various communities, we each have a part to play and sometimes the best part is silence.  Let someone else speak.  Take time to listen to them.

You never know what unforeseen lesson you'll get from a piece of music while working on a Christmas CD.

Score for "Joy To The World"

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 37 My hero

Tonight I am back to tackling my 'to do' list.

One of the things on my list is to begin preparing for a session with my music hero and live show producer Tom Jackson.

A record producer makes all yours songs shine on a recording - choosing the players, the songs and coordinating all of it.

A live show producer takes the songs and pulls them apart looking for special things within each song to help you create moments for your audience.  It's the part that really begins to help you connect with people from a stage.

I first heard Tom at a seminar for music artists in Franklin, TN.  As soon as I heard him speak,  I knew that someday I would want to set a goal to work with him.  This year will hopefully be the year.  Since that first encounter, he has become quite popular with the music industry and he's much harder to book now (should have booked him back then).

In preparation for working with him, I have to choose 4 - 6 songs for him to listen to.  I have started the list, but it's like picking your favorite 4 out of 12 children.  Not an easy task.  But since I've worked with his assistant over the years and have studied his materials over and over, I have a sense of which ones I'd like to have him tear apart.

Here's a photo of Tom's great assistant Amy Wolter and I working together last summer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 36 Pink Elephants

It was good for me to step back and take the weekend off from my christmas project.  I discovered that it's just like trying NOT to think of a pink elephant.  It starts becoming ALL you can think about.

By Saturday morning, it was clear to me that I have become consumed with it in my mind.

It was a good wake up call.  One of the things I have been working at over the past 3 years and especially the past 3 months is becoming more aware of my thoughts and learning to take control of them.  So many things originate in our mind - our self-esteem, our plans, the image we have of our all starts with how we think.

There are some areas in my life that need to change and it has become clear to me that it can only happen as I change some of my thinking patterns.

Even when I chose not to work on anything related to the project, my mind wandered there ALL the time.  I had to make a concentrated effort to stop it.

It's not enough to just stop thoughts - but it seems to work better (for me at least) if I actually replace them with different ones.  So I chose the scripture, "Be still and know that I am God".  When I was tempted to start being consumed with what I need to do next,  questions about how I will pay for it, or what about where to have the show?...all that kind of detail, I would stop and say - be still.

Be still.

It started to work and I learned another valuable lesson.

As great as this journey is, I never want it to consume me.  Even if I would sit and be 'present' with my husband, my thoughts can go back to money, songs, venues....anything.  So I had to take control of my mind and tell it to be still and enjoy the current moment.

Today I did get back into thinking about the project, but with a helpful reminder from the weekend that I want to drive this thing - not have it drive me.