I hope you all had a spectacular weekend and a fantastic 4th of July, celebrating with friends and family! MH and I got to spend the day with some family from out of town and it was an absolute blast! Baby C got to play with his cousins (3 yrs. old and 2 months old) on his Mia's (MH's mom) side ofthe family. All in all, the day was a success. Baby C did great the whole day and enjoyed being outside! Our Vampire Baby (we call him this since he is a winter baby) even got some sun!
Tonight, I want to share with you all one of my favorite past times: Anything involving music.
Music has been a very major part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine my life without music! I started to sing in my first choir at church when I was 5 or 6 years old and continued to sing in church groups all the way through high school. When I was 9, I started playing my main instrument : french horn. I also grew up around piano, a dad who sang and played guitar and saxophone, a mom who sang and played clarinet in school, an older sister who also sang and played alto and bass sax, and a younger sister who also sang, tried violin, but mainly played flute. In my own life, I have also played guitar, oboe, piano, flute, alto sax, mellophone, and several others that I simply tried for fun! But I remember my earliest influence of music was from my Grandma - my mom's mom. She played piano and even gave lessons, so any time we were at her house when I was little, I always tried to find a reason to play her piano. And she encouraged it! I remember that until we could memorize the keys ourselves, she had a little key chart that she would put in front of our fingers. Once I could play without it, I remember feeling so accomplished! I still love piano, and it is still one instrument that I wish I had put more time and effort into.
After piano, I was in Elementary school, when I was suddenly going to be allowed to start band - real band as opposed to music class with a recorder - and of course, I wanted to be like all the other girls in my grade and play flute. However, the school didn't have loaners for more than a certain number of students, and my parents weren't going to shell out that kind of money for a 9-year-old, who likely wouldn't sick with it! So, I just sort of had to choose from what instruments the school had left to loan. There was a tuba, a trombone, and a french horn. Being far too small for either the tuba or trombone, and just barely big enough to hold the french horn... I chose the horn. For a long time, I had to strap my horn to a mini dolly-cart and wheel it to and from school, because even though I could pick it up, I couldn't lift it high enough to keep it from dragging on the ground. I felt like such a huge nerd. I resented my parents for not buying me the skinny little sweet flute and forcing me to choose from such large, burly instruments. But I came to fall in love with the rich, golden, round sound of the french horn and even competed in Solo and Ensemble competitions and continued to play all the way through high school. In College, I picked up the mellophone (the marching band "sister" to the french horn) and fell in love with it too. It was in middle school, when I switched districts and was a year and a half ahead of everyone, that I chose to double up and also playa oboe in band. That was also the time that I started to play around with other instruments, and showed interest in my older sister's sax.
Now band was all well and good, but my biggest passion was singing. I used to wander around the house singing sometimes, rather than actually speaking. I made up songs of my own constantly and was involved in singing in any way that I possibly could be, as soon as I was allowed. This started in church in the kid's choir. When I was older, I sang in the bands for youth groups and in school, I took choir from 5th grade all the way through high school, also competing along the way, as well as participating in honor choirs and the Colorado Springs Chorale. I entered College with a vocal scholarship, declaring a Vocal Performance Major.
I still sing all the time. All through my pregnancy, I sang to baby C in my belly. I sang him show tunes, country music, Disney sound tracks, Celtic Woman, Dave Matthews, Ingrid Michelson, Lady Gaga... any and everything that came on the radio or my Pandora stations, I sang to him. And that is how I still am. In fact, I rarely sing actual lullabies for C. His favorites are "Eet" by Regina Spektor, "Sweet Child" by Guns 'N' Roses, the acoustic version of "Hey Ya" by Outkast, as performed by Obediah Parker, and "Some Nights" by Fun!. Music is a very important part of my life! Fortunately, it is also a very important part of MH's life, and he also sings, masters the guitar, and commands a drum set! Together, MH and I play in a band called Mind Riot. We've been a part of it for a few years now and it is such a wonderful outlet of that part of ourselves. (We do have Friday night music nights before bedtime with Baby C, though.) With Mind Riot, we have had the opportunity to play several gigs in bars around our community and it has been a blast! In fact, I continued singing while I was pregnant with Baby C and continued until I was 6 months along. He used to kick and kick the most whenever we would perform a bass-heavy song and he still loves music like that. He most commonly falls asleep to Fun! in the car or any type of dub step. Haha! I love that kid! Each day when I am doing dishes or working in the kitchen, I stick him in his high chair and we rock out to some Disney sound tracks and show tunes.
Anyway... back to our band, Mind Riot. These last few weeks, we have been meeting to practice for a sort of "come back" gig which is next weekend. It'll be our first gig since I stopped performing with the band and we got a new, awesome freakin' guitar player! I am so excited but so nervous! So much has changed for me. Pregnancy really changed my voice and my range, so it has been a serious challenge for me lately. And this has made me uncomfortable. I haven't really struggled with much since starting with Mind Riot, so it is frustrating for me to have a hard time or to say that I really can't do a song. I'm re-learning my voice in a sense. Still, I am very excited! But I am also scared because it will be my first time leaving baby C overnight, and I'm just not ready... though I don't know when I would really be ready. But now I have so much to think about. Having time and the ability to practice is hard enough. I have to figure out how long we'll be practicing, make sure C will have enough bottles and be sure to make time to pump while I'm at practice. Now, I have the challenge of making sure that C has enough milk for bottles overnight, trust that someone other than me will wake up with him to feed him, find time and a place during the gig to pump, and make sure that I can save enough milk for him, while I'm using his stash for the practices leading up to the gig itself. I simply don't pump a whole bottle's worth at once when I'm away from C. So it usually takes me two pumping sessions to make up a whole meal for him. This is by biggest source of anxiety. But when I am at practice, I have such a great time being with my friends and other grown-ups and singing again! And I know that when we are playing our gig, I will have such a blast!
More than just a source of fun, Mind Riot has been a great source of musical challenge for me. Yes, we are mainly a cover band, but this actually tends to present more of a challenge than if we only did our own originals. If we were writing all of our own songs, I might get into a groove of comfort and make sure that I'm not too challenged, vocally. But covering a song that already exists with its own challenges, pushes me out of my comfort zone. More than that, I have been exposed to performing styles of music that I had never even considered for myself! I have been pushed to question my motives and emotion behind performing a certain song. In College, though I would have the opportunity to select solos that evoked emotion and I felt a connection to, I was constantly much more focused on the technicality of the piece. Now, with Mind Riot, MH is constantly reminding me to make technicality secondary. This is very difficult for me sometimes! But it has been so good for me! It is refreshing for my voice, rejuvenating for my soul, and freeing for my mind!
Alright, well, thanks for hanging in for all of that. I could honestly go on and on about the role that music plays in my life. But I won't. ;)
For now, I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!
Zebra love and Hugs,