Category Archives: Music

Coffee Induced Bliss!!

Today I am awesome – not sure why, but I feel good 🙂 Gettin’ s*** done, SON! and possible a bit of a caffeine/sugar rush from my Large White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks (not venti, I’m not stuck up.) I’m getting the “excited it’s spring!!” bug and I just want to DO ALL THE THINGS and be the best I can be. I also just fell in love with my friends baby girls all over again, I miss them, but I think I know what my next crafty project will be. Here is today’s inspiration, though honestly I prefer Superman, but my girlfriend Shannon is a Batman fan so her cute-as-a-button baby WILL have this on her wall, I will make it so!

batman

 

Ride your day out on one of my favorite YAY IT’S SPRING songs:

Leave a comment

Filed under crafty like a FOX!, happiness abounds, Music, Personal Musings

Faith

I think about being a parent.  I think about it about as much as I plan my wedding in my head.  I’m pretty cliched when it comes to that, so I think you will understand that it’s a lot and a half.

I worry about the kids I don’t have yet.  My biggest worry is that they will be unkind.  I also worry that they’ll hate me and make poor choices that punish themselves in hopes to punish me and my spouse.

I worry about the grandparents.  What they’ll think about my way of doing things to bring up that child.

My final worry is their faith.  By no means is this a complete list of my worries and fears, but this one is both the last and one of the greatest.  I put it at the bottom of the list because I haven’t figured out my own.  I am not religious.  I don’t believe that Jesus is my savior.  Or any of the other profits.  I hate to call myself agnostic, but then again, I’m not sure what else I would be categorized as.  I’m a person who is okay, good even, with labels, so I’m okay with one not sticking to me right now.  I’ll let the faith label slide.

So, today, I want to post what my faith feels like right now, and what I hope to teach my unborn children.

Faith, from my perspective, is severely influenced.  I’ve thought so since I was in the 4th grade.  I remember have the conversation with my friend Kendra Lee who went to a non-denominational church.  I had attended church with her, as I had with quite a few friends growing up.  It was fun and had games and prizes and a movie and a puppet show – far from my experience with my family, both branches of which were Catholic.  I asked her during a sleep over, when I was in 4th grade, how she could claim that Jesus was the one and only savior?  Her faith was unwavering, which is normal in the heart of a child.  I asked her, what if a man in China, who was Buddhist, or whatever (I wasn’t sure) but something other than Christian, was raised Buddhist, married, had a wife and children, which he raised Buddhist.  He was a good man, hard working, loving, kind, charitable, and did all he could to be a good person.  What if this person was never introduced to Christ?  Or, even if he was, does he automatically go to Hell for not knowing, or not believing?  Her answer was a resounding YES.

And I lost what inkling of faith I had in Jesus Christ.  I felt stirrings of faith, usually when I attended COW or Church On Wednesdays with my friends in High School – usually with the songs.  For whatever reason, those cheesy Christian rock/pop-esque songs spoke to me, I would feel joy as they praised Him.  I would sing along – it’s never been difficult for me to pick up a tune and lyrics – and it felt like praise to something larger than myself.  But it would die out once the Youth Pastor began to speak about spreading “The Word.”  It has always felt arrogant to me, to preach that yours is the one true way. How the heck do WE know?  Isn’t it POSSIBLE that God would present themselves as different things to different cultures?  Really, that’s never been something you’ve pondered?  Isn’t it POSSIBLE that the humans who relayed this message, who wrote these stories, were trying to steer people to the light, by any means necessary?  In the United States, politicians are known to base their decisions on faith.  Take, for example, the Representative who based his Pro-Life position on his faith.  I respect his faith, but not his decision to impose it on his constituents, because here we have a democracy held up by a republic, and therefore your decisions should be based on creating policies that are beyond your personal faith.  But, when the religions were being created, there was no such separation.  In many countries there still isn’t.  So, to say that my God is right and your God is wrong and to believe in them, or to not believe in mine, means you are punished for all time, I’m sorry, but I can’t stand by that.

It also felt arrogant to pretend I had a personal relationship with God.  At heart I am a humble, to the point of destructive, person.  Why would He do good things for me, just because I asked? This is why, when I prayed, I prayed either for good weather (for my family’s annual trip to Valley Fair (like Six Flags but in MN, so therefore more awesome)) or for my brother.  As a big sister I have always worried about my younger brother.  School, social life, dealing with parents, it always seemed harder for him.  He was sensitive, growing up, and I wanted to protect him.  I wanted God to protect him, to show him the way, to be strong when he couldn’t, and to help him stay safe, to open up to the love his family had for him.  I felt that if I were praying for someone else, then those might get rewarded.  I still feel that it’s selfish to pray for myself.  So, if I do pray, you can bet it will be for you rather than me.  There are a lot of self-esteem issues wrapped up in that, not being able to hope good things for yourself and all of that, but I still find it to be a noble task.

So where does this bring me?  I truly believe that had I stayed with and married Steve, I would probably have found my love for Catholicism.  Being that I love Matt, I find myself going down a different path.  He has made me question, sometimes VERY unwillingly (with much yelling and heartache,) what it would be to have faith in something that’s not a THING.  That’s not a higher POWER.  In, I guess, a design, or lack there of, of the universe.  I don’t know that he’s 100% chaos theory bound, but something to that tune.  I, personally, have always believed in a soul.  There is something so beyond impulses and equations and happenstance – coincidence cannot be all that there is.  But I have started to entertain the theory that maybe our being, or immortal being, is our energy.  As if our memory, built by those we know and love and touch and even pass by in the street, becomes manifest after our physical body is gone.  And though those people cannot remember us forever, our influence, butterfly effect on the rest of history, keeps that memory going.  That combined with the stuff that is US that is not our guts may very well live in a heaven of those before us, watching the lives of others grow and die for eternity.  Because energy never actually leaves.

All of this, the forays into Christianity, into science, the roots of my liberalism to allow for those around me to live and love and create and do good in their own way, makes me wonder if I will ever have something I can put in front of my children and say, this is the way, this is the path to be a good and wonderful person.  Right now, that path is broad, and I truly don’t know if I will ever walk a straight and narrow, or zigzag along it’s breadth.

My dear, sweet, unborns: Be kind.  Be strong. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in those things that make you giddy and happy beyond belief, like music and kisses and summer skies. Have faith that things will be okay.  Do not regret your errors, for they are your retroactive destiny: all of your decisions create a path before you.  You do not gain the good things without suffering.  I do not get to be with Matt without making some poor decisions in my past.  But I look at the path that brought me here, and I am grateful for all the good and bad choices that brought me to him.  My children will be born of that retroactive destiny as well.  Their gender, their upbringing, will all depend on what was before.  So, dear ones, please understand that bad choices can lead to good ends.  But, above all else, know that

You.

Are.

Loved.

Knowing this will get you through your trials. Believe in that and you will find your mountains climbable.  Because knowing you are loved will lead to self love, and love to others.  That’s just the nature of it.

To end on a fun note:

Because you gotta have faith 🙂

 

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness abounds, Music, Personal Musings, ugh! feelings . . .

BEST. PLAYLIST. EVER. (unless you’re a bad person who hates all good things in life, like bunnies and Michael Jackson)

Just TRY being sad listening to this.  I have a lot of my pop/dance/funk music on my little ipod 8gig nano and I just shuffled this morning while working on a project and this is what it put together for me.  It may be a bit Michael Jackson heavy but who the hell cares, he’s awesome and you are a damned fool if you think otherwise and I don’t think we should be friends anymore.

Oh, and, yeah, “Whip My Hair” is on here and I’m not ashamed of that.  Though, I won’t be sad if you pass it up.  I did embed the spotify playlist but I don’t know if it will play if you don’t have spotify, so I also included ALL THE YOUTUBES.  Enjoy your evening/day/whatever time you happen upon my blog – happy listening!

**Edit: Spotify was only putting up 7 of the songs which robbed you of the most awesome ones, so eff spotify and just enjoy ALL THE YOUTUBES!!

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness abounds, Music

Stuck in my head EVERY. MORNING.

I was trying to think of things I could write about today, like, the crazy dreams I’ve been having (Ex: my throat was super sore from being sick and it made it into my dream that this meant I was turning into an assassin)  Or the fact that I wasn’t able to walk to the train stop this morning due to icky weather conditions.  But, instead, I decide to write about the thing that is stuck in my head: “Some Nights” by Fun.  Seriously, EVERY. MORNING.  And it’s always the end of the bridge when they layer “oh come on . . . oh come on . . . oh come on . . . OH COME ON!!!!!” and in my head this last one goes on forever because that’s how I sing it in the car.  Oddly enough, I don’t hate this song, which I should, because it’s been stuck there for at least a couple months.  Instead, I get happy.  It doesn’t necessarily motivate me or anything, but I do just get a moment’s rush as I hear the drums slam in again.  I am such a sucker for that moment in a song when it goes acapella and then the instruments come in again to drive to the end. Every time. Any song. It’s always awesome.

Also, does it say something about me, or anyone, what songs get stuck in their head?  My boyfriend’s go-to song stuck in his head is “Come On Eileen.”  After 6 months of that it is damn annoying.  I mean, it’s so fun! They have overalls, and say things like “tulu-rei-aye” or however you spell it.  Did you know they’re a band again? Here’s the song if you don’t know it:

For my boyfriend, Matt, this brings him back to hanging out with his best friends from college.  One of the girls in the group put together a video/slide show of them hanging out at a cabin the one summer and had “Come on Eileen” as part of the soundtrack.  He loves those guys so much – they have a dream of living in a commune together with a restaurant and a sustainable garden = life time friends.

Another friend of mine has had “Africa” by Toto stuck in his head for what he says has been like, 6 years.  Don’t know why though:

Other than this song being EPIC.  Seriously, I want Matt to bless some rains for me, anywhere.  (Side note: if he knew that he’d do it because he’s awesome and wonderful:) )

If anyone would be willing to post a comment, I’d love to know what has been stuck in your head, and if you love it or hate it.

Also, I walked a total of 5.3 miles yesterday and did a full grocery run at Aldi that came to only $78.00 – I freakin’ love Aldi, you have NO IDEA.  Those were the most exciting things about my day yesterday, I’m so . . . cool . . .

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Music, Personal Musings

4 yrs + <3 = Regina Spektor

For our 4 year anniversary Matt surprised me with tickets to one of our favorite artists Regina Spektor.  This kid should win an academy award for “Shock and Aw-man!” face – he totally had me duped.  Let me back up: about a month ago, maybe a bit more actually, he asked if I had anything going on November 8th.  I told him no, so he said to keep it open and to please not look up “Events” for that day because he wanted to surprise me with something.  So, a couple weeks ago when I was looking at Regina Spektor’s website I was sad and excited to see that she was playing the local concert venue The Pageant on same said date. Sad because I was pretty sure I had accidentally found out what my surprise was, and excited because OMGREGINASPEKTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I ‘fessed up to Matt that I had just been looking to see when she might be in town, and his jaw dropped in what I thought to be an “aw-man, that SUCKS” face and he proceeded to dash my dreams by telling me that was NOT what we were doing.  He did guarantee, though, that what we were doing was MUCH COOLER.  What could be cooler than Regina though?  Well, I guess NOTHING because, after telling me I should wear comfy clothes and shoes because I may be “exerting” myself, we walked down Delmar to none other than The Pageant to see OMGREGINASPEKTOR.  I jumped up and down and shook him and told everyone around us that he surprised me with this, to which I was told I “got a good one.”  I whole-hearted-ly agreed by jumping up and down and shaking Matt some more.

I had never seen a concert at The Pageant up until last night.  It’s a nice venue, with a large, sunken, standing room only floor in front of the stage.  This is then surrounded in a U-shape by two or three levels of little tables and barstool-counter space to sit and have drinks, with a bar at the back directly across from the stage.  There is then an upper floor balcony that has reserved stadium seats.  We got general admission so had our choice of trying to find a little table/bar area or being on the floor.  We chose the floor and ended up being only about six “rows” of people back from the stage.  The stage is raised maybe five feet and makes for a very intimate setting for those on the floor.  I was a bit worried leading up to her performance that some tall kid was going to stand in front of me – I had this happen at a Ben Folds concert a few years ago at Gustavus in MN and it SUCKED.  These two girls at the last minute shoved in front of my friend and me and being that we are both about 5’5″ it really didn’t make any sense that these two had to be in front of us, being that they were about 5’10”.  So, I made a pact with what turned out to be a couple of high school kids to allow their friends to come back (they had left to use the bathroom) if they promised not to situate the taller amongst them in front of me.  They were very good sports about it, and overall the people around us were equally nice and I got a primo-spot windowed between two boys who were about my height DIRECTLY in front of Ms. Spektor.

Overall the concert was really great.  It is so awesome to see a performer live and realize that they are the REAL DEAL.  By that I mean she really is as talented and amazing as she sounds on her albums. Regina Spektor, for those who don’t know, is a singer-song writer who plays piano.  She’s originally from Russia but eventually moved with her family to the U.S.  Her voice is elastic and smooth like buttah’ (in my professional opinion) and to me she always sounds like she’s, the best way to put it is, tasting her words.  And she has every reason to taste them; her lyrics are decadent, made all the more scrumptious with tongue-in-cheek humor, great storytelling, and sometimes just sounds that she enjoys making.  Pair that with her vocal prowess and you have a recipe for musical soul-food.  Alright, end of foodie metaphor.

Like many concerts these days Regina was only on stage, with  3 song encore, about an hour and a half, but she made it worth the price of admission.  She hit up all of the crowd favorites, which were all pretty hard-core fans as I’m sure you’d imagine being that she’s not a giant pop star, as well as new stuff, a joint performance with her husband and front man for the band and opening act Only Son Jack Dishel, and a song by who she said was one of her favorite Russian singer-song writer’s called “The Prayer” which she sang in her native language.  Song-wise she got in about 25 of them and not on one of them did she miss a note.  I’ve been to enough live performances of amateur and even professional bands who go flat or get out of synch with each other.  This woman is a machine and truly a professional performer as each song sounded just as beautiful and heartwrenching/delightful/funny/soulful as it does on her albums, made more so, not less than, because she was RIGHT THERE singing to us.

So, favorite moments of the concert: 1) Her song “Eet” opens with the line it’s like forgetting/the words/to your favorite song and at one point she stopped singing and announced with a giant smile that she forgot the words as she kept playing the piano part.  What made it better was that Matt thought she actually did, not knowing the lyrics by heart like the rest of the audience 🙂  2) Hearing most of my favorite songs (would have loved it if she had just played down her whole “Far” album) up close and personal and wanting the concert to just keep going.  I forgot a bit what that was like as I think the more recent live bands I’ve seen haven’t been really to my liking or, I like them but I don’t KNOW their music so I get kind of bored.  It was really great to feel absorbed in what I was listening to and watch her sing her heart out.

Not so favorite thing (single, itsy-bitsy wish it could have been just a little more awesome thing): She really didn’t engage the audience.  She seems like such a cool lady, clever and interesting, but we didn’t really get much out of her as far as her personal musings on her music.  She was very gracious, thanking us after the applause ended on each song, waving a bit, looking out into the audience (she plays piano so she sings to it most of the time) but no stories, no “hey, St. Louis is cool” no “I wrote this because I really thought it would be interesting to write a song about Art wanting to escape the museum or this boyfriend let me steal his hair power or because I like to think of myself as stuck in the 80’s”  I guess I was just hoping to get to know her a bit more, you know, as much as a giant group of people can get to know a girl standing on stage performing for them.  But you know what I mean: I love hearing the stories behind the music, even if it’s not that big a deal, as often it’s not.  Writing music is such a strange and wonderful gift, it’s like a super power.  I would totally choose that over most other super powers, possibly over flying: writing and performing awesome songs that touch people’s souls.

Oh, Regina, you’ve stolen my heart, and I know so little of yours 🙂  Thanks for being such a perfect surprise!

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Bone Babe 4-evah!

Despite the name of my site name being “orangetrombone” I don’t think I’ve really ever discussed my being a trombone player with a music degree. I have Music B.A. from the University of Minnesota – I call it the “I LIKE MUSIC” degree because really, like the Avenue Q song goes, “What do you do with a B.A. in English? (insert Music)”

I got the degree because I originally wanted to be a teacher which turned into a music teacher/band director, which was taking a long time, and it turns out I kinda suck at theory, so when they revamped the B.A. to be more versatile (aka, easier) and less like I was working to become a composer, I went that route and finally got the heck out of college. I do still want to go back to school and become a teacher: the more I sit at my desk “helping” people the more I dream of getting out and actually HELPING people, and get rid of those pesky quotation marks.

I am glad that I got this degree, though.  It’s definitely different than anyone else I know in StL.  So, great conversation starter at the very least . . . but really I feel like the hours I spent in a practice room, listening to my music history pieces, and struggling through the demon-theory are well worth it, especially since I can claim to have a degree in something that I’ve loved and been raised with, even if it’s been relegated to hobby-status.  Because music, and really being a trombone player, in many ways defines me.

Being a trombone player, especially a female trombonist, is special in the band/instrumental world.  It is definitely a bit of a tomboy instrument growing up since it’s big and loud and has the word “bone” in it, which never fails to be followed up with Beevis & Butthead-esque tittering (heeheehee “tit”!) The sections I’ve been in from middle school through high school, college, and now in community band were/are dominated by nerd-boys, usually tall, lanky geeks who also know how to fix your computer, which has definitely come in handy.

Because of this male-domination, being a “bone babe” means toeing the fine line between lady/mom and being “one of the guys.”  You have to be okay with sick, dumb jokes while you make sure they have their marching shoes and be an awesome kick-a** girl.  Bone babes are rarely butch since most of us LIKE guys, though if you dig the chicks that’s totally cool too.  The point is, even while one of the “guys” you have to occasionally remind these boys that, while you’ll take care of them with cookies and slide oil, you are not their mom and they need to treat you well and like a girl every once in a while.

When my dad decided I would play trombone, he convinced me by telling me that “bone women” were to coolest girls in the band, super laid back, funny, and always the best players.  I was sold.  I was lucky, too, to have a best friend and fellow bone babe right from the get-go who shared my love of dirty jokes and being B.A. with a capital B.  Courtney and I had the best time all through middle school and high school, and our senior year we were the only girls in the Marching Band trombone section, and our boys loved us.  We made them locker signs and treats and it was the only year we bothered to take a group picture.  The trombone trio of the wind ensemble my senior year was also the most fun I had in high school band, me and my two boys that I sat between, Mike and Steve.  We definitely got in trouble for talking too much, though we rarely missed an entrance, an art Courtney and I had refined from age 11.

It wasn’t until I decided to pursue music in college, though, that playing my trombone really took precedence over my band social life.  “Bando’s” in my high school had a completely different schedule in high school, so all of my best friends were either in band or in another performance activity I did after school.  I had enough natural talent to keep me going with little to no practice outside of class, and that was just fine with me.  But college is where I hit my stride in playing, and thank goodness I did, or I would have never completed my degree.  Lessons and your studio are a huge chunk of your credits, at least at the UofM.  I was in the UofM Marching Band, which, again, took very little effort on my part as far as playing went most of the time.  So, it wasn’t until I decided to audition for the School of Music in my sophomore year that I really learned to love the “bone” part of being a bone babe.

I started taking lessons with John Tranter , and he is hands down the best music teacher I’ve ever had.  I don’t know what it was, but I felt like he both cared about my growth as a musician and at the same time knew how to cut through the crap without making me feel like dirt.  If I didn’t practice enough he knew it, though he rarely got more than stern in his tone.  So I strove to please him, and along the way I fell in love with my playing.  Now I was making time to practice 2-3 hours a night, sometimes 5 if I fell behind or was working on something difficult.  My first jury (basically your final test in your lessons, performing full solo pieces) I felt truly proud of my playing ability.  I realized I hadn’t really felt that way since I was little, and it was such a high.  To know that you can really do something well, that you performed at the top of your game all by yourself, that was something I had never done on my trombone.  It was weird to think that I had defined myself by this instrument for so long without actually loving the instrument itself, rather, just the culture.

Now, playing in my community band, my trombone has again taken a backseat in my life – a bit literally since it often sits in the trunk of my car waiting for Wednesday night rehearsal.  I hope to someday return to it, and I get a glimpse of that high with each performance, but it does feel like I’ve let the musician in me down.  It’s at those times that I pull out my diploma, and know that I’ve truly accomplished something in my musical career: I am a bone babe, now and forever, and that’s not something that can be taken away from me.

It also comes in handy when I tell people they have poor taste in music: Trust me, I have a B.A. in Music 🙂

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Music, Uncategorized

The Classy Pop Experiment


I present to you:

THE CLASSY POP EXPERIMENT

Mission

  • To find  pop songs that sample/use classical (in the general sense) music
  • Post both the pop song and the piece it uses
  • Do a comparative analysis of the two songs
  • Bonus: Get to listen to music I wouldn’t have normally and share it

Participation

  • Post song suggestions if you wish
  • Post anything you may know about the song/group

Goal “Posts” for Project

  • 1 post per week

What inspired this project?

  • I heard a great song while watching “Torchwood” – after searching for the song, named “Gorecki,” I found that the title was actually a composer’s name who the group Lamb had used in the song.
  • I am a pop music lover both in the normal top 40’s sense and in the more general sense which is things that aren’t considered “art music.”  I started to really get into art music though, more than just my few favorites such as “The Nutcracker” and “Clair de Lune”  while in college for my music degree.  I like to see how the two worlds of music collide.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music