practice challenge begins tomorrow

I’m really excited to try something new and to try to use my enthusiasm for practice (and my need for accountability) to encourage you in deepening your relationship with music.

The concept is easy – add 15 minutes of practice/musical inquiry into your life.

I’ve currently been doing 15 minutes of stick-control (drumming rudiments) on top of the rehearsals and classes that I’m currently teaching and attending. I’ve noticed the difference in my playing. David has noticed the difference in my playing. This is exciting.

If you don’t have a practice routine – how exciting to start thinking about building one. If you do, how exciting to think about adding a quarter of an hour to work on something specific.

I was originally thinking that my 15 minutes would be enough, but I’ve incorporated it into my routine to the point that I want to challenge myself along with you, so. . . I’ll be adding another 15 minutes of marimba specific practice to my schedule for the month of November.

I’m also loving singing to the little one and looking forward to getting some vocal coaching to really be able to use my voice as part of my musical repertoire. We’ll see if that unfolds this month as well. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy music making!

blessings,
Arlyn

Arlyn marimba

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Embodying Rhythm November Practice Challenge

Goal – deepen our relationship to music

 

Time commitment – 15 minutes every day for a month  – November 2016.

 

Possible Activities
– practice your instrument
– actively listen to recorded music
– attend live music performances
– sing (while driving, in the shower, to your kids, while washing dishes)
– stick control (click on book image to view page)
– play music with others
– take a music class/music lesson
– dance to music and feel it in your body

 

Connect – please leave comments on your experience below as you begin your experiment.

 

Some words of assistance

You can use this handy time log created by Gretchen Rubin to help you track how you are spending your time.

Remember the verb is “play” as in “playing music.”

 

a little glimpse

Hello again, I see that the blogging habit did not stick the last time that it circled back around, though it is often in my thoughts.

Lately I’ve been busy being mama, and playing music. Mostly they work really well together. It feels more graceful now that the little one’s just a little bigger. This past weekend for Harvest Festival the little ones grandparents, uncle, and aunt worked magic for me to be able to play a three hour gig (and help load and unload and teach workshops). Gratitude. Here we are:Marimba Project

Today I’ve been antsy with “the list” and trying to get little bits done here and there as well as being present for the making of a pile of red, yellow, and green leaves on the bench.

I just pulled the latest pickles into the fridge and they’re working!

Recipe:

Fresh pickling cucumbers – unwashed – straight from the garden (this is important because the skin has some of the bacteria needed for fermentation)

brine – 1 gallon of water to 1 cup salt – boil the water, add the salt, let cool before pouring on

spices – as desired – fresh dill, pickling spice, whole peeled garlic cloves, whole peppercorns

a couple of grape leaves (for crunch)

a jar

3-14 days

tuck the final cuke under the edge of the jar so it can’t stick out. Then I cover with a plastic bag stuck into the water to create a seal and lightly cap with a lid. store out of the sun in a place where they will go undisturbed but remembered. 7 days has been working nicely for me – a cool spot in summer, a warmer spot in the winter – as stable as possible

skim off scum and refrigerate.

 

practice

I am in love with the marimba and marimba ensemble music. It’s official. You probably knew that. It is the first instrument that I have been gleefully able to practice. Not as much as I would like, as I have a super-cute 1.5 year old who likes to grab the mallets out of my hands, but I do get to practice. And I get to play with people, and I get to inspire folks to play music who might not otherwise get to play. Yesterday while waiting, I worked on a rhythm that I’ve been struggling with. I think I’ve got it. This is very exciting.

We sent this next bit to our newsletter, but it felt valid enough to share here as well. . .

With the darkening days, it’s a great time to go inward, and to go to the practices that keep us healthy. It is amazing what a bit of consistent dedicated practice can do for any artform – but especially for playing music. As simple as matching our breath to our steps while walking, or actively listening to music, or practicing rhythmic patterns on the chair while waiting at the dentist’s office, practice of all kinds will help deepen our musical relationships and improve our playing.

Here are two books that both David and I have read and enjoyed on the subject of music practice:

First, Learn to Practice by Tom Heany “First, Learn to Practice is a book about how to practice a musical instrument – any musical instrument. It’s suitable for all musicians – professional, amateur, student or beginner. “Certainly part of the problem in learning how to play an instrument is the way an individual approaches practicing. One must be committed to spending lots of time on eye, ear, and hand coordination; learning how to listen; learning how to sight-read; and, having fun during those many hours of conquering notes on and off the page. But, how many “students” really know how to practice in the first place?”

The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life – Master Any Skill or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process by Thomas M. Sterner “In those times when we want to acquire a new skill or face a formidable challenge we hope to overcome, what we need most are patience, focus, and discipline, traits that seem elusive or difficult to maintain.” Sterner writes about learning to love the process.

happy practicing!!!

here

Lately I’ve been noticing that I have a really amazing blessed life.

I’ve also been noticing that I’m stressed out and/or tired a lot of the time making it harder to enjoy this lovely life. It has made me start thinking about fulcrums and pivot points and how to use the least amount of effort to make the greatest difference in my happiness factor. What little changes can I make that will help make a big difference?

A few days ago David came home with a book called, “Triggers” and it’s exactly the sort of book that I love full of wisdom, stories, and good advice. And it came at the perfect time for me.

The author, Marshall Goldsmith, recommends “active questions” among other things.

Not just, “are you happy with your life?”ladyarlyn

But rather, “have I done my best today to be happy with my life?” And then you ask yourself every evening the active questions that help you live the sort of life that you want to be living and rate them on a 1-10 scale – for me, for now, these are a few:

“Have I done my best today to be at peace?”

“Have I done my best today to spend time outside?”

“Have I done my best today to do what needs to be done?”

“Have I done my best today to take care of myself?”

echinacea

 

a drawing from the archives. .  . I’m hoping to turn a few into cards soon:

echinacea

“Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties in echinacea make it useful in many acute and chronic conditions. It is helpful for those dealing with colds, flu, respiratory distresses, sinus infections, sore throats, swollen glands, arthritis, fever, infected wounds, vaginal infections, candida overgrowth, prostatis, and urinary tract infections.” – Gail Faith Edwards Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs   This is not a tonic herb – this is an herb to keep nearby when you need it but not to take everyday.

 

As it is now officially fall (happy fall), it’s a good time to dig echinacea root and clean it and put it in some 80 proof (or higher) alcohol and make it into tincture for the wintertime (shake on occasion and wait 6 weeks or more). Or a good time to plant it in your garden if you don’t have it yet.

pinecones

This weekend I saw something that I hadn’t really seen before – a pinecone being formed and it looked like the tree turned from branch to pinecone in a switch at the last minute.

Here:spruce cone

It turns out that not all coniferous trees do this, but it is a Spruce thing. cool.

I’m sure there is a deep hidden meaning here, but I need to go make dinner, so if you could fill it in, that’d be great.

home

the leaves are starting to blow down from the trees in the cooling winds.

it is good to be home and I pray for grace as we get ready for the winter with music, details, cooking and fall chores.

while we were out and about, AC got to be ringbearer in his aunt and uncle’s wedding. sweet.

ac is ringbearer