Handel’s Messiah

Although Handel’s Messiah was first performed in April of 1742, it has now become a traditional production for the Christmas season. I grew up with the Messiah as a natural part of our household at Christmas time. For as long as I can remember, my mother was a choir conductor and led the Messiah for years and years. More mature voices (with a minimum age 16) were required for the Messiah choir so naturally, I looked forward to my 16th birthday so I could finally join.

When my mom was 80 years old, she conducted the Messiah for the last time. I was fortunate to travel to Arizona to sing in that final production with her conducting. You can see her weathered and dog-eared score in the picture above. She just turned 90 and when she hears the music on TV or other places, she still “conducts” it from her chair, complete with cues for the different vocal parts.

I’ve had the chance to both sing in the choir and perform in the orchestras, playing flute, of course, for Messiah productions. I can’t choose which I like best. This is do know – I never tire of hearing it, playing it, or singing it. This holiday season Messiah productions and sing-alongs are probably not happening (thanks to Covid), at least I know they aren’t around here.

I’m grateful for the Messiah memories that I do have and look forward to the time when musicians can gather safely together again to express joy through music. Words cannot describe the feelings of being involved in a Messiah production. There is nothing quite like the glorious Hallelujah Chorus or the end of the majestic Worthy is the Lamb and the grand Amens to bring in the spirit of Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Find a great recording of it and rejoice this holiday season!!

Thankful for Today

Gift of Everyday

I’m deeply grateful for the gift of music in my life. Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I’ve been told that I used to sit on my mother’s lap as a toddler while she taught piano lessons. Growing up in a musical family, there was music going on all afternoon, every day. As I continued to study music in college, my days and nights were filled with even more music. 

What am I thankful for that I’ve learned…so far…through my lifetime of music?

  • Patience
  • Dedication
  • Organization
  • How to work with others
  • Goal setting principles
  • How to overcome discouragement
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Resilience
  • Courage
  • Contentment
  • Self confidence
  • Diligence
  • Creativity
  • Friendships
  • Feeling of overwhelming peace
  • Inexpressible joy and love

Everyday is a gift.

Today, take time to recognize what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving Day.

Who Has Influenced You For Good?

I’m thankful for each of my flute teachers who were so influential in my progress.  Our lives are like a quilt or tapestry.  Each person, or in this case – teacher, adds something to make the quilt or tapestry of our musicality and our lives more colorful and interesting and beautiful.  I’ve learned something from each teacher I’ve had, whether it’s one lesson in a masterclass setting or years of study with that person.  Here is a highlight of my prominent teachers that I studied with for months and years.  

Dee Ann McAllister

Aside from my elementary school band teacher, I considered Mrs. McAllister my first flute teacher.  I studied with her in Junior High and High School.   She was very punctual with lessons and had an extremely kind personality.  Her husband, now the late Bob McAllister, was a trombone teacher.  There would often be flute lessons on one side of the house and trombone lessons on the other side. 

Mrs. McAllister took me from playing intermediate level music to college level repertoire.  She taught me vibrato, helped build my confidence, encouraged me to attend summer music camps, and provided performance opportunities which led me to soloing with ensembles and earning flute scholarships for college. 

Jilene Burger

My first two years of college I studied with Jilene Burger at Ricks College, which is now called BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho. Jilene was so supportive while I learned how to adjust to college life.  While studying with her, I learned how to practice more and studied a lot of solo repertoire such as the Handel and Bach Sonatas, Mozart Concerti, French and Contemporary flute music and other repertoire which would later help me as a teacher. She lined me up with a local junior high where I started teaching the flute students after school. 

Continue reading “Who Has Influenced You For Good?”

Don’t Be Scared

Why do you get scared to perform in front of people?  Why do you get nervous? Why does your mouth get dry or your lip shake or your palms get sweaty? Why do you feel sick to your stomach? These are called performance jitters or performance anxiety. These feelings are very real and there are numerous books and lengthy articles written on the subject.

What is it that are you afraid of?  A missed note, muddled tonguing, fumbled fingers, not making the long breath, not playing as well as you know you can?  Scared of what others will think of you, like your peers or your teacher or the judges? Are you afraid of possibly not getting the scholarship or not getting the job or not getting accepted into a program? Have you ever felt like this before?

Here are a few basic things that have helped me in my over 40 years of flute playing (and piano playing and organ playing and singing). A lot of it comes down to three things: PREPARATION, POSITIVE THINKING, and EXPERIENCE.

Continue reading “Don’t Be Scared”

Never a Failure, Always a Lesson.

What have you learned from this?

Has anyone ever asked you that question? Especially these days with a worldwide pandemic, I’ve often heard people ask, “What have you learned from this?” I recently asked someone this same question, to which this person replied, “Why do we always have to learn something? Why can’t we just let it happen and go on with our life?” How would you answer that question?

Continue reading “Never a Failure, Always a Lesson.”