So, you want to be a music performance major?

I’ve had a few students who have recently come to me, wanting to be music performance majors when they get to college. Students I’ve talked to about becoming a music major have all been interested in one day becoming a band director so this was a bit of a new thought process. The most recent student is mid-way through sophomore year so¬†I feel like it’s critical to get everything¬†on the right track now. So, here are some things I’ve come up with.¬†If I’ve left anything out, please add in the comments.

  • Start private lessons with a college professor.
  • Skype lessons with as many¬†professional musicians as I can connect with them.
  • Summer programs like Tanglewood or Interlochen.
  • Find as many performance gigs as possible.
  • Figure out where professional¬†performers went to school and look into the current procedures of auditioning at those locations.

What else?

Thanks for any input in advance.

Finding Balance

Recently, I was part of a nice “conversation” on Facebook about New Years Resolutions. I haven’t set any New Years¬†resolutions for quite a few years now – I realized a while back that when I try to make resolutions¬†because of a special occasion, they weren’t authentic resolutions so I didn’t stick to them. Don’t get me wrong, I still set personal goals as I need them, I just don’t feel the need to set any JUST because it’s a New Year.

Anywho, my friend mentioned he was looking to find more balance in his life this year. What a wonderful resolution! It got me to thinking about my own life and the balance that exists (or not) within. How does one find balance? Before a person can start finding balance, maybe a few questions must be asked.

  • What does one try to find balance between?
  • What’s weighing one¬†down?
  • What in one’s life is unimportant and can be discarded or released?
  • What’s missing in one’s life?

I’m sure there are quite a few more questions that can be asked but they’re probably more personal to each person trying to find that balance. What are some ways you’ve found balance in your life? Or, if you’re willing to share, what are some of the answers to the questions above for you? What other questions could we ask in finding balance?

I think it is very important that we all try to keep balance in our lives. Of course, “balance” means something different to each and every person so the process will look different for every person. I’d love to hear what you’d like to share about it!

Love you, mean it!

Posts of 2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people. All for the 6 posts I wrote this year!

Click here to see the complete report.


I’ve been in pain for about a week now and I can’t wait to see the chiropractor on Monday afternoon!! Last Tuesday, I woke up and my upper back hurt so much that I thought I was going to throw up. I took a very hot shower, which helped to relax some of the aching muscles, and headed to work. Thank goodness the athletic trainers at THS are just has helpful as Coach Bowman and Coach K were at SPHS! I got a 15 minute electro-shock treatment (I like to joke and call it electro-shock therapy but I have no idea what it’s actually called) and headed to the middle schools. The rest of the week was rounding out okay and my back wasn’t hurting nearly as much, thanks to Aleve and hot showers.

Then on Friday I woke up really cold – the thermostat said my house was 10 degrees colder than I’d had set it for. After a hot shower to get my brain working, I went out to the heater and saw that the pilot was lit but no fire on the burners. ūüėź Turns out the HVAC unit is unrepairable so I get a new one….on Tuesday! Thank goodness for a great landlord because he left me two space heaters that have kept the living room and master bedroom nice and warm.

Having to go to the cold rooms in the house for various reasons hasn’t helped my back. The pain is mostly in my neck and shoulders today. I’ve managed to get some laundry done as well as unload/load the dishwasher. That’s about it though. I’m having a hard time thinking about what I need to do, much less get much done. So if this blog entry has bits and pieces that don’t make sense, that’s why. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s chiropractor’s appointment!

Love you, mean it!

Gotta have a good closet.

I live in an older home here in Amarillo (very Frank Lloyd Wright inspired, 1950s era home). It’s a 4 bedroom house with very little closet space. In fact, one of the closets has been made even smaller when the landlord created a 2nd bathing space (stand up shower and sink in the room). So I decided to make the 9’x 8′ room into a walk-in closet. I have been able to finish 95% of the room with inexpensive (~$25-$30 each) closet solutions from Walmart as well as the dresser from IKEA I’ve had for several years now. I was home to grab some lunch one day when I heard a crash in one of the bedrooms and found one of the closet solutions had crashed down from the weight of the clothes. I have mostly blazers and long sleeve shirts on that one so I guess it just got too heavy for the plastic end pieces at the bottom.

Today, I went to Home Depot to get some supplies to build my own closet solution. I can now see why they offer such inexpensive closet solutions at Walmart and any other choices are expensive. Here are the parts (from the floor up) I got for my hanging rack. All the parts are galvanized steel.

  • 4 – 1″ floor flange $9.96/ea
  • 4 – 1″ street elbow $4.24/ea
  • 4 – 1″ x 6″ nipple $3.36/ea
  • 4 – 1″ tee $4.56/ea
  • 2 – 1″x close nipple $1.66/ea
  • 2 – 1″ x 3/4″ bushing $2.96/ea
  • 2 – 3/4″ x 36″ pipe $15.58/ea
  • 2 – 1″ x 60″ pipe $19.55/ea
  • 2 – 1″ x 3/4″ reducing elbow $2.3.76/ea
  • I also got a pair of pliers that would help me put everything to together. So, the total cost was just at $200.00. Definitely more than the $25-$30 I paid for the others, but hopefully worth it.

    If you’re going to put this together, it’s important that you remember it’s not about making all the joints as tight as they can be but about making sure all the openings line up correctly (90 degree angles). So here’s what I did:

    On both sides of your rack, you have 2 floor flanges connected to the street elbows. Those go into the 6″ long nipple, which connect together using one of the tees (middle joint facing upwards).
    Floor portion

    From there, connect the 1″ x close nipple (I can think of no clean reason why they would call any of these pipes nipples) into the tee and another tee into the nipple (middle joint facing inward).

    Next, I connected the two sides together with the 3/4″ x 36″ pipe (actually also called a nipple) using the 1″ x 3/4″ bushing.

    Here’s where it can start to get tricky. I realized that with a closed “circuit” like this, at some point I’m going to be disconnecting a side as I’m connecting another. If you connect the top portion to the “legs”, there’s no way to connect that to the bottom portion completely, etc. So I connected the 1″ x 3/4″ reducing elbow to the 1″ x 60″ pipe (again, called a nipple) and connected those to the bottom section (sorry, no picture of that step).

    Then I connected the top crossbar (where my clothes will eventually hang) to one side as far as I could screw it in. Then I pulled the other side over (because of the reducing bushings at the bottom, it’s a touch narrower at the top than bottom) and as I unscrewed the side I just tightened, it screwed in the other. I’m fairly sure it’s at halfway screwed on both sides. Ta da, you’re hanging rack is done!!

    Last tip – you’ll notice as you put this all together, your hands will be filthy. Wet a paper towel with hot water, put one squirt of dish soap on it and wipe down the whole thing. After that, “rinse” by doing the same thing with another paper towel without any soap on it. That second paper towel shouldn’t turn very grey at all.