Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Music Tip - I Will by Hilary Weeks

Our girls who were going to girls camp this summer learned this song by Hilary Weeks.  I simplified it so they could learn to play it themselves.  Such a powerful song with a much needed message at this time in their young teenage lives!

Let me know if you like it. Click to get the pdf.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Music Tip - Someone Like You

I just finished arranging Adele's, "Someone Like You".  If you would like my simplified arrangement of it,  Click here to get the pdf.

Leave a comment if you like it.
Thanks,
Cathy

Music Tip - Piano Music 7 Years

I've been busy writing music for my piano students, that is, arranging and simplifying popular songs.  They love them.  But I've been traveling too, so I haven't got as many songs done as I would like to. Here is my version of 7 Years by Lukas Graham. Leave me a comment if you like it. If you would like a pdf copy, click the link.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Parenting Tip - Parenting Teenagers

 You may have already seen or heard about Josh Shipp.  I just listened to one of his videos that was posted on Facebook--the place I see all the upcoming news and info.  I liked what I heard. He is being called the "teen whisperer".   He speaks common sense and comes from a background of being a troubled youth himself.

As my husband and I parented our children through their teen years, I always remembered what my mother said when she had 4 teenagers growing up in our home at the same time-- myself, my sister and two brothers.  She said,  "I loved having you all as teenagers.  You were the best kids, and it was so fun to be around you." 

Now that's NOT what the majority of parents would say.  And I don't think my siblings and I were perfect or abnormal.  But my parents had taught us to be respectful, honest, have faith in God and know that we were children of God and that He had a plan for our lives.  We did experience ups and downs and normal teenage disagreements with our parents, but we respected each other, listened to advice from our parents and more importantly, they listened to us.  We cooperated together, we supported each other and we loved each other and had fun together.

When I had my teenagers, I experienced the same thing.  They were good kids.  They were funny, respectful, hardworking, compassionate, and good students.  They knew God loved them and had a purpose for their lives.  We were blessed with children that would listen to us and honor our decisions. 

We were firm and a lot more strict than other parents.  I know, because they told me--often.  But all seven children have also told me later as adults, that they were glad we were so strict.  They were glad they had boundaries and limitations.

Teenagers have a lot of peer pressure to deal with.  But so do YOU as parents.  Don't cave into your peer pressure, Moms and Dads.  Don't go with the flow and let your children go and do what others are doing, just because it is easier and your adult friends are letting their children do things you feel uncomfortable with.  Have rules in your home.  Let your family set those rules and help everyone to understand why the rule is as it is.

If your teen is having mental health problems, medical problems or acting different, get help--don't let it slide until the problem is worse.

But most importantly, ENJOY your teenagers! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mom Puts Zip Ties On Her Baby’s Stroller, The Reason? Genius!

 I love it when someone problem solves issues and makes it easier for others.  View this video for wonderfully easy things to enhance your stroller use.

Mom Puts Zip Ties On Her Baby’s Stroller, The Reason? Genius!:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Parenting Tip - Dealing with Anxiety, OCD and Depression

I have recently heard of so many people, of all ages, dealing with anxiety, OCD and depression.  This is such a hopeful and uplifting article.  Please read.

Thanks,
Cathy

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Parenting Tip - Will They Remember?

For the past 3 months I have been teaching home schooled children how to play the ukulele.  They have been coming to my home once a week to learn songs, and now for the past month we have been performing them at retirement centers.

Yesterday I took my ukulele group to a private home to sing and play for the residents living there.  The husband and wife of this home care for 6 elderly women plus the wife's mother.  You immediately felt love and peace upon walking into their home.

The husband introduced all the women and told us their names and a little about their backgrounds.  All were wonderful women who had accomplished much in their lives.  One had taught school for 40 years, a couple of the women were musicians, one had something to do with the opera, and one had served with her husband when he was a mission president for the LDS Church and when he was temple president of the Snowflake LDS Temple.  Then the man said, "but they won't remember anything after you leave, so don't worry about making any mistakes!  In fact you could come back tomorrow and they wouldn't remember you."

We had a wonderful time playing for them, and I am always energized after these performances and visits with the elderly.  They are so sweet and appreciative of everything you do and they LOVE the children.  We were invited to come back often.  But as I drove home I kept thinking, "So what's the use.  Why did I spend time going there and why should I go back again if they won't even remember that we have been there."

I know deep inside that we should show kindnesses to everyone, but what if they forget our kindnesses?????  Then I thought  if my mother or father were suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, I certainly would want people coming and visiting them to bring them joy and happiness, even if it only lasted a half hour.

I was thinking about all these things while driving, and was almost home and sitting at a green light, waiting to turn left, when I saw a little tiny dog running on the street between two oncoming cars.  It suddenly veered into one of the cars and was hit and immediately killed.  I thought about how important one moment was to him--life and death.  Then I thought about how important moments are to those who won't remember with their physical minds, but will remember with their spiritual minds.

I thought about babies who won't remember the love and singing and hugs and kisses we lavish on them as infants.  I thought about the toddlers and preschoolers who won't remember the picnics and toys and games we played with them for countless hours. 

But though they may not remember the exact moments we shared, they will remember the feeling of love they received from us and the special ties they have as they continue growing and begin to remember fun times. 

It's those drops of water, adding one at a time that makes an ocean.  It's the love and strength of that love that ties them to us forever.  And when they are parents, and hugging and kissing their babies, they'll know. In the eternities they will remember.  It is so worth it to make the memories now!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Music Tip - Clocks,simplified

Here's a great song preteens and teens like to learn.  Teach your students how to analyze and see patterns in music.  It makes it so much easier to learn songs that way.  Notice that in the first measure, it is a 1st inversion of a D chord that is played as a broken chord, but backwards.  You play it 3 times in a row (except on the 3rd repeat you don't play the last note)

The 2nd and 3rd measures are identical, and again, they are just broken chords played backwards (A minor 2nd inversion).  The 4th measure is an E minor chord (in root position) played backwards too.  Then you repeat all four measures.  A piece of cake!

Teach the next section by playing the melody.  Notice that the melody is played 3 times, but the rhythm is a little different each time because of the words.

I love to help children analyze and quickly learn a song that could have been hard to learn without noticing the patterns first.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Music Tip - Don't Stop Believing

Here's another 4 chord song to teach your student or child.

I teach the right hand chords on the first line and help them identify the kind of chords they are, ie. G 2nd inversion, D root position, e minor 2nd position, C root position.  Have them play the chords several times, then you play the left hand with them.

Next, have them play the left hand. On the second measure they will need to move their 3rd finger to the E.
Duet the first line with student playing left hand and teacher/adult playing the right hand.  This makes it so much easier to play before they put hands together, which is the next step.

Teach lines 2 and 3 with learning the left hand chords first. Then follow the same procedure of dueting it, they play right hand, duet, they play both hands.

The last two lines can be taught, notating that on measure 3 the right hand needs to move the 2nd finger to the B.

Enjoy!

Music Tip - Popular 4 chord Songs

I've been teaching my piano students chord inversions to prepare them for playing the 4 chord songs I've been giving them.  My pre-teen and teen piano students are loving them--the songs, not the chord inversions!

For some students, I give them just the chords for hands alone until they are comfortable playing them--usually one week--then I give them the whole song.  For other students, I give them the whole song, but first have them play the chords, hands alone, so they can understand the chord progression.  I also reinforce the correct fingering and point out that it is always the 2nd inversion (for the left hand) that changes and uses the 2nd finger instead of the 3rd finger.

The whole point to these songs is to show a simple 4 chord progression that is repeated throughout the song, thus making the song EASY to learn and FUN to play.  It "hooks" my reluctant learners. 

"Piano Man" is a popular song that I give my students first.  I teach the left hand chords, then I play the melody while they play the chords.  This gets them interested in learning both hands, plus, if they're not familiar already with the melody, it helps them learn what it sounds like. The first week all they practice are the left hand chord progressions, which sound pretty cool and they all come back playing them really well.

The second week I play the melody while they play the left hand again, just to reinforce the song/melody.  Then I have them play just the melody line by themselves.  Next I play the left hand chords while they play the melody.  Dueting a song is SO IMPORTANT because it helps the student hear how the left and right hand coordinate the sounds together. Finally, I have them play both hands together.  This whole process takes about 5-8 minutes of their lesson time. They go home and practice both hands together and whola, when they come back the next week, it always sounds pretty darn good!  I can tell they have practiced--which is my aim!

By the way, did I mention I have been using my smart phone during piano lessons a lot?  I use it to introduce a popular song I want my student to learn to play.  I play the song on you tube (finding appropriate views, first) so they can get interested in the song.  Sometimes they've heard it before and sometimes they haven't, but hey, getting to watch a you tube cover song during piano lessons is a real grabber and motivator for my students!

Here is my arrangement of "Piano Man".  Enjoy!!

Thanks for reading, offer any suggestions you might have on the music.
Cathy

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Parenting Tip - Angels to Help Us

There is a great article on LDS Living that reprints some of Sister Wendy Nelson's writings in her newest book, "Covenant Keepers: Unlocking the Miracles God Wants for You".
She tells the poignant story of a woman deep in despair, ready to take her own life, when she happens to walk by a bookshelf that has a picture of herself as a young mother with her children.  The picture has been lost for years, but now there it is exactly at the moment she needs to see it.  She realizes that those young children, though now grown with children of their own, still look to her with trust and need her continued guidance.  She realizes that she could never leave her children and "was amazed at the precise timing when the Lord sent His angels to find the framed, formerly lost photograph and place it exactly where she would see it. Exactly when she needed to see it."

I want to read the book!  It tells us how we can ask for angels to help us, how God wants to help us through His angels and who those angels are.

I experienced angels helping me after my husband passed away and I was left to live alone with my mother-in-law who was living in my home. I don't like to cook and feel very inadequate and so my husband had been the cook for lots of our meals all of our married life. Now I was the cook, and had to prepare meals for my aging mother-in-law. For a week or more after the funeral, every time I thought with a sinking feeling in my stomach, "Oh no, what shall I fix for dinner?" immediately a meal would come to mind that I felt qualified to fix.  This happened so often and so quickly after my thought, that I knew I was receiving help from the other side.  I think my maternal grandmother, who was a professional cook, was helping me.  I know she was.  What a tender mercy from a loving Father in Heaven who could have looked at my need and viewed it as something trivial, but instead loved me enough to help me in my needs.

Sister Nelson quotes Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2010 general conference address where he counsels us to, “Ask for angels to help you.”

As we enter into covenants with the Lord and try our best to uphold those covenants, we are entitled to received the blessings of ministering angels.  I feel I need to ask more often for help and then I need to thank Heavenly Father as He gives me the help I ask for.

How about you?

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Parenting Tip - How to Help an Anxious Child

I'm a worry-wart.  At least I use to be.  I inherited my worrying from my mother.  I also learned how to stop worrying from my mother, and it has saved me a ton of stress and anxiety.

Children can also be worriers.  This article gives some great advice to parents on how to help their children cope with worry and anxiety.

This article has helpful phrases you can say to your child such as, "How big is your worry?", or "Can you draw your worry?"  Acknowledge your child’s fear without making it even more frightening by using the word “AND.” After the word “and” you can add phrases like, “You are safe.” or “You’ve conquered this fear before.” or “You have a plan.”

 Sometimes words won't help an anxious child.  But there are still things you can do to calm your child, such as whispering about something unrelated, or singing, or hugging.  Read this article to find more suggestions that might work with your child.  Not every child will respond and be comforted by the same things.

And as a last resort, my mother and I always comforted ourselves when worrying, by remembering that everything we worried about, never actually took place.  So we had our own "worry insurance" and it worked!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Parenting Tip - The Little Acts of Love

Edward Kinghorn is a licensed Neuropsychologist and is currently the Psychology Department Chair at BYU Hawaii. He gave a talk telling about his experiences working as a counselor with the Red Cross after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in the Fall of 2001. 

Professor Kinghorn describes working with a Dr. Frances Menlove, who was a seasoned and experienced clinician.  She later was asked to give a guest sermon to the Lincoln City Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, on March 10, 2002.  These are her words describing what she saw inside the St. Paul's Chapel which is near Ground Zero.  St. Paul’s had been set aside as a sanctuary for workers who were still toiling around the clock to clear the debris of the Twin Towers and to search for human remains. "The entire chapel was covered with banners, hand-lettered posters, small and large pictures by school children expressing thanks and appreciation.  There were notes taped to the sides of very pew, up and down the aisle.  Several Banners hung from the balconies.

One four-by twelve-foot pennant had a multitude of hand-drawn green mittens, each signed by a child, with a headline that said “Warm your hearts with our mittens.”  Another huge streamer lined up dozens of red children’s hand prints to form the stripes of an American flag.  There were notes in the pews.  The one tucked in by me said: “Dear Hero, thank you for making us safe.  I like soccer.  I don’t like baseball.  Do you like soccer?  Your new friend, Craig.”

The altar was the only place unadorned by posters, notes and banners.  Several votive candles were burning.  In front of the altar, a flute player from the New York Symphony played lilting melodies.  There was a lot of quiet activity.  Along the back wall of the chapel sandwiches and soup were being served.  Along the left side of the chapel, tables held first-aid supplies, candies, lip balm, socks, aspirin—anything someone might want coming in from the cold after a shift of spirit-wrenching labor.  There was a bowl of power bars, each with a homemade valentine wrapped around it and held tight with a rubber band.  All were free for the taking.  In front of me, one man was lying down on the pew, apparently asleep.  Others were sitting in the pews eating, or just resting.  I didn’t know then that these workers had found four more bodies that morning.

A small enclosed area about eight feet square caught my attention on the right side of the chapel.  A large bronze plaque announced that this was George Washington’s pew, the place he worshiped on the day of his inauguration, April 30, 1789.  Right next to this official plaque was a large, carefully printed sign “Foot Care.”  The workers were having trouble with their feet, so it was decided to devote George Washington’s pew to “Foot Care.”  Each day a podiatrist volunteered.  One worker had his shoes off and another one was waiting to be examined as I sat scrunched in my own pew.

I remembered the Gospel of John:  Jesus got up from the table and tied a towel around himself.  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you” (v. 15)."

I was so impressed with this talk and thought about all the school teachers who were aching to do something,-- anything, to express their love and support to the survivors, to the families who were devastated and to the workers still addressing the horror of Sept 11.  I pictured the teachers talking to their students and deciding on what small act of service they could do.  I pictured the children coloring pictures, writing notes, and making valentines to cover a power bar and wrapping a rubber band around it, never knowing the impact their service would make.  Never knowing that a whole church would be covered with small acts of service.  Never knowing that I would read of their acts years later and still be profoundly touched by them.

Sometimes we never know how our actions make a difference in someone else's life. I had the privilege of  hearing how one small act of mine affected a friend. I had taken my teenage neighbors to the hospital to play our instruments and sing for my friend's husband.  He was in quarentine and we had to dress in special robes to enter his room.  He passed away several months later.  My friend wept as she told how, what I viewed as a small act of service, had brought so much love and comfort to her and her husband.

Valentine's Day is coming.  What can you and I do to brighten someone's day with a genuine message of love?
The first Valentine's Day after my husband passed away, my next door neighbor brought me flowers.  She said that was what my husband had done for her the first Valentine's Day after her husband had passed away. I never knew that he had done that.


Love.  Little Acts of Love. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.

Thanks for reading,

Cathy
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Parenting Tip - Chords for Your Family Song

I wrote a Music Tip blog post a few months ago about chord progressions and how popular music is so full of them.  Lots of rock songs use a 4 chord progression that is repeated over and over again. The chord progressions use root chords as well as 1st and 2nd inversions.  You don't really need to know what those kind of chords are to get the idea of this blog post, but I'll explain briefly.

A root chord is built on the 1st note of the scale (let's say C) then skips a note and uses the next note (E), then skips a note and uses the next note (G).  So C,E,G are the notes played in the root chord.  BUT, you can move their positions around.  If you "invert" the C and put it on top, you have a 1st inversion: EGC.  If you again invert the bottom note to the top, you have a 2nd inversion: GCE.  And if you do it once more, you're back to the root position CEG.  So you can tweak the chord and make it sound a little different, but you're still using the 3 basic notes.

Interesting, huh?

As I have been analyzing music, I have found the root chord plus the inversions EVERYWHERE!  In popular songs, in classical songs, in hymns, in folk songs.......and the reason is because those chords are the building blocks, the basics, the foundation which the music is built on.

I've been trying to get my students to internalize and understand and identify these chords inversions.  Why?  Because they can learn their songs so much easier.  They already know the chords, they know the notes, they know the fingering, and they can get right on to learning the right hand notes.  It makes learning to play the piano so much more enjoyable and easier when you already know the basics.

There are 73 different songs that all use the same chord progression.  The melodies are completely different, but the basic chord structure is exactly the same ( I would give you the you tube link to a funny group who demonstrates and sings these songs, but there's a lot of raunchy stuff there too, so I won't).

Which brings me to what I was thinking about this morning.  Those basic chords are like the basic things we are told to do in Church. Have family scripture reading.  Say family prayers.  Have Family Home Evening. Each family is different, so we sing a different melody according to our individual and family's needs, but we are still playing the same chords in the same progression.

Families with small children will read the scriptures in a different way than families with teenagers will. Empty nesters will read their scriptures different from the way a person living alone will.  But we will ALL read our scriptures.  The same holds true for how we hold Family Home Evening.  Get your family together, learn together, enjoy time together, but do it how it works best for your family, right now in your present circumstances. Raising a family is so much more enjoyable and easier when you know what foundation you should base it on. Your children will learn to sing their song so much easier when the basic "chords" are embedded in their routine. 

What does your family song sound like? Is it bouncy and lively?  Is it loud, or has it begun to slow down and get softer with age?  You are creating your own beautiful melody that is perfect for the chords in your song. Sing your song with the particular singers you have in your family right now, and if you sing it with the correct chord progression, you'll have a hit song on your hands.
Sing your song strong, and well and often.

                                      
Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Parenting Tip - STOP Comparing yourself to others

Will I ever stop comparing myself to others? Good grief, I'm 65 years old! When will I accept myself as I am!

This is a great article.

Thanks,
Cathy
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