Hope your Thanksgiving went well, mine sure did. Now on to the next holiday!
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. It's a time of remembrance, a time of joy, and a time of celebration. It's also a time when a particular type of music is played.
I created a piece of Christmas music about two years ago and I've always wanted to put more together ever since. I missed my chance last year, but this past week I recorded another three pieces and gathered all of them in one collection simply titled "The Christmas EP".
The EP consists of four tracks. Three of them are covers and one is an original.
I find it to be more of a challenge putting my own spin on already existing music than coming up with something completely original. All of the covers on this album were written well before any of us were born and it's nearly impossible to improve upon the countless renditions that have already been made. Despite this, I tried to add something to each one that I had never heard in any version before. The first track contains a guitar played with a cello bow and a sample from The Peanuts special "A Charlie Brown Christmas", the second track is driven by a pounding drum beat (listen to that one LOUD), and the fourth track sounds as if it is being played by a music box.
The third - and only original track - contains a sample from one of the best Christmas films of all time.
The entire EP can be downloaded for free. Just click here or the music link at the top of this page. Then click "Buy Now" and enter "0".
Thanks for listening.
Life is filled with many valuable things, most of which cannot be seen. Sure we value our material items but I don't like the idea of putting physical objects above things like family, friendship, love, and knowledge. A precise numerical value cannot be placed on these things and it was only recently that I discovered the true importance of the latter.
I've been involved with music for about half my life and it was only until recently in my musical "career" that I began to pass on what I have learned. I've been involved with teaching kids music for a little over a year now and I cannot get enough of it.
Getting to instruct others on the technicalities, intricacies, and overall purpose of music has been one of the most fulfilling things that I have ever been a part of. It truley makes me come alive.
I recently heard one of my students make an offhand comment about the positive impact that I had on him. It was not only reassuring that what I was doing had meaning, but at the same time it reminded me of the ones who had an impact on me when I was first beginning to learn music.
I've had a handful of music teachers over the course of my life and each and every one of them taught me something valuable at some point. Now, it's my turn to take on the responsibility of that role.
All of us have been taught as students and all of us have a knowledge in something. If you have never done so, I suggest you find someone to teach. Share your knowledge and experience with a person who will value it.
Make an impact.
The best part about all of this is that - most likely - the knowledge you pass on won't just stay with your student. Eventually they'll become teachers themselves and pass on the knowledge you gave them to someone else.
The impact you make may last forever.
It's that time of the year again.
Clocks have been set back an hour, trees have begun to lose their leaves, days are getting shorter, nights are becoming longer, and the temperature is slowly decreasing. I'm not complaining though. A year or two ago I may have, but this time, I greatly look forward to the cold, dark months of winter.
I'm a long time sufferer of what is known as "seasonal affective disorder". Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (a perfect acronym), goes by a few other names such as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression. In other words, the cold can make me unhappy; an odd statement coming from a guy who was so eager to visit Alaska and Iceland during the summer months.
The cycle goes a little something like this:
Daylight savings time ends and the days get shorter.
I become lethargic.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's roll around.
I become optimistic.
The new year begins.
I spend the next four months questioning my life and every single decision I've ever made.
Sounds fun, doesn't it?
I'm exaggerating of course. However, there is a large feeling of melancholy that comes with the chilly northeast climate. I tend to not look forward to most things and I would much rather take a nap than go out somewhere with a group of friends. There is a noticeable difference in my mood and it's a difference that I don't particularly enjoy.
This year is going to be different though.
Nighttime is my favorite time of the day. It's when I'm at my most creative, my most productive, and my most inspired. With about 13 hours of darkness per day, why wouldn't I look forward to the sun setting so early?
I also don't mind the cold. Perhaps it stems from the same reason why I love sadness. The cold months make the warm months that much more enjoyable.
Winter is a time when life tends to slow down. With less going on, why not seize the occasion? If you're a creative individual like myself, look at the winter months as a time of great opportunity. It's a time to learn that instrument you've always wanted to learn, a time to write that book you've always wanted to write, a time to compose that song you've always wanted to compose. Don't let the change in weather discourage you, use it to your advantage.
This winter, I hope to spend many cold nights working on all of the concepts I currently have swirling around in my head: music ideas, film projects, and that book I'm already about 20 pages into.
I can hardly wait to wrap a blanket around myself, sit down with a cup of tea, put on a quiet piece of music, and get to work.
I hope you'll join me.
I've been journaling for about three years now and I must say, I wish I had started doing it earlier. Not only has it helped me in becoming an all around better writer but it has also been a valuable tool in helping me navigate how I react to the circumstances that go on around me.
If you have never journaled before, I suggest you give it a try and here's why.
1. It's a Great Way to Organize Thoughts and Feelings
If you're anything like me then you probably have a lot thoughts and feelings constantly swirling around inside of you. Keeping all of these things straight is a tough thing to mentally do but taking a few minutes and jotting them down on paper can ease the "mental storm" that may be going on inside of you. Once the thoughts and feelings exist in a visual and somewhat tangible form it can make them become clearer, easier to process, and even free up some space in your brain and your heart.
2. Setting and Completing Goals Becomes Easier
A few months ago as I was journaling, I put together a list of 23 goals that I wanted to accomplish at some point. I didn't give myself a deadline for any of them. It was refreshing to have a concrete idea of what I eventually wanted to accomplish. Getting organized with goals is something I rarely do. I recently reread the list and discovered that nine of those goals had been completed. There are still plenty left to do and I don't know if all of them will ever be completed. However, I can always go back and refer to my list if there is ever a time I need to find something to work towards.
3. It Acts as a Mental Time Machine
One of my favorite things to do is go back and read my previous journal entries. It's the closest I can get to having a conversation with my past self. I tend to write a lot about my current situations whether they be positive or negative. Reading about my past positives can be a lot of fun. It's the closest I can get to reliving wonderful experiences. Being able to examine how joyful something made me feel is an excellent reminder of the positivity that exists within my life. As for reading about the negative, it serves as a significant reminder. Everything negative I have ever written about is something that has come and gone. Miserable experiences, disagreements with others, and just plain bad days have all been recorded. The best part about reading these entries is the realization of how little they matter now. We are all bound to go through poor experiences but they always pass.
4. It Can Spark Ideas of Creativity
I can't begin to tell you how many of my creative ideas have come about during times of journaling. Song titles, short film ideas, topics for blogposts, heck, even the idea for this website first popped into my head when I was journaling back in January of this year. When one is reflecting on the internal - the things that are going on inside of them - and in a creative state of mind, significant ideas can seem to come out of nowhere.
A place for creativity and inspiration.