Sunday, February 07, 2010


There is nothing like a trip to the symphony to make me feel insignificant and without a hope of talent. So, I trimmed my fingernails and set down at this STUPID WASTE OF TIME computer. I am an idiot. I'm going to repent with a long dose of piano. (I'm not at church today because of a sick kiddo).


timpani76 said...

You and John both posted on your blogs and facebook. It's funny when you guys end up doing similar things at the same time. I think you are both actually twins that were separated by a few years.

Dana Cheryl said...

I agree Timpani! Ya'll have that weird twin-sync thing going on.

There were a couple of reasons I stopped studying music and they contradict one another entirely.

1st: I was becoming too prideful in regards to my own talent and abilities.

2nd: I felt like a no talent hack compared to others.

Usually I didn't feel these two things at the exact same time but I could swing between the two in a matter of minutes.

A great deal of my mental energy was wasted on these feelings. I don't wish that on anyone.

I got to the point where I couldn't bear to listen to other singers. Instead of inspiring me the experience would leave me feeling defeated. I had to pray my way through it and I specifically asked God to help me feel inspiration rather than condemantion. Not sure that I've gotten there yet but I keep hoping & praying. :)

I keep cycling through seasons of pushing myself away from the computer to see how life would be different. After doing this a couple of times I've come to realize that I enjoy everyday more if I spend some time online interacting with other people. If I don't I have a tendency to isolate myself. However, I do need to moderate my time and that's a challenge I'm working on. My real downfall is online gaming. It's such a time waster!!

Renae said...

As a matter of fact, John did have a twin who died in the womb. It's silly, but I sometimes like to think that I could have been that twin. I love John so incredibly much! Definitely one of my favorite people on the planet. I think God made us siblings because I couldn't bear to not be around him, and us as spouses would NEVER work. Our house would be nothing but chaos, as John brings out the silliest in me. Oh how I miss the days when we could hang out all the time!

Dana, you have a beautiful voice! It would be a shame not to develop such a wonderful talent! Do sing do, and don't worry about if others are better than you. You are wonderful!

Dana Cheryl said...

Just imagine the world with two, TWO, Johns!! I think it's awesome that you love your brother so much. I have a brother and he's a good guy but we don't hang out or even really care to get together. It's cool to see one another after a long absence & we do love one another but it's no biggie to go a few years between visits. He & I both enjoy doing our own things in life.

I'm even of the mindset that I'd like to marry an orphan. Seriously! That way we could just do our own thing. Of course, that means that I'll probably marry a wonderful man that has a lot of siblings. lol!

Thanks Renae! I do enjoy singing. I sometimes miss the hours of vocal lessons, rehearsals, labs, recitals, etc... There's an energy to it that is unlike anything else I've experienced. It seems like people either thrive under its influence or detest it. The thing I didn't like is the competitive & snotty attitudes.

The world of vocal performance (especially for sopranos) is full of mean people. There's a reason why "diva" has the conotation it does, I think.

One day while waiting to audition for something or the other another soprano (from the Ukraine) walked up to me and said,"so are you the diva? be prepared to be replaced." OMG! Good grief!

It's hard going into lessons & being criticized. I mean it's necessary. Criticism can be good or negative. For me I just became weary of the "constantness" of it. Truth be told there were hours of criticism compared to just a few minutes of praise after performing. One day a friend went into one of my vocal lessons just to see what it was like and she ended up crying by the end of it. My instructor had a box of tissues on the piano with the instuctions of "cry if you must but be quick about it". lol! I cried on my very first day but had toughened up by the end. Of course, I changed my major. ha ha!

Singing is still fun for me and I wish I had an outlet of it but I'm not putting myself through that again... :)

Renae said...

Sheesh! Sounds like you need a new music teacher!

Dana Cheryl said...

He sounds like an orge but Dr.Jardine was a sweet, sweet man. He had performed professionally from the age of five. He knew how difficult life is for those who go on to conservatory so he prepared us. Truthfully he was more kind than many others. He did truly care for us all.

He had the greatest love story of anyone I know personally. I'll never forget it. He fell in love with a beautiful redhead when he was nineteen. He had to work hard to win her over but eventually they fell madly in love. They were engaged but before they could be married she died in an accident. He never, ever married. He had the deepest faith and knew that they'd be together again someday and he was willing to wait...

Before big performances or auditions I would go to his house for extra lessons (free of charge). There were many pictures of her and they were well cared for despite the utter mess found in the old bachelor's home. He was in his eighties then & has since passed on. I was sad of course when he passed but I couldn't help be happy either. I knew that someone very special was waiting for him...

Renae said...

Wow! What a sweet story! I miss school and music lessons and feeling like I was actually improving. It's horrid of me, but I sometimes sigh for the things I might have done if I could have kept it up. I don't know if I ever had to chops to be anything great. I got such a late start. Oh well, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but I can still work on it at home. It's just hard knowing that I may never have the time to reach my potential. I accompanied the stake Christmas cantata this year, and it was a REALLY tough thing for me. I worked literally as hard as I possibly could, and I can only say that I did okay at the performance. I was out and out rotten in rehearsals! Playing in front of people is sooo hard for me. It was a huge blow for me to have worked as hard as I could only to feel like I was letting people down. I hate being mediocre! The sad thing is that I doubt that there are many people out there who love music as much as I do and want so badly to be able to do it well. Yet, here I sit at this darned computer! It's hard to fit it in. I am totally rambling. Sorry! I miss Harlan, my music teacher! I just wish he would call me on the phone and give me a pep talk. I need it from someone who actually knows my abilities. It'd be nice to know if I actually have the stuff or not. I don't know. Okay, shutting up now.

Dana Cheryl said...

I think you're putting into words exactly what I felt acutely back in the day.

Music performance is humbling. I've had only a handful of experiences with the potential to humble me so completely.

In the midst of feeling that way I lost the joy. Music became something that defeated me.

On the other hand when I was hitting my stride & performing spot I still felt no joy. Instead, I would immediately think along the lines of:

Can I do that again?

Will I disappoint everyone next time?

How much of my freetime will I have to give up to stay at this level?

Then I'd feel resentful because so much of the time I'd not be able to go out with friends or date or just read...

I think the greatest musicians are those that find joy in the very act of playing their instrument. They're the ones that truly shine because they're so joyful! Either that or they're the most broken people in the world. (Or at least it seems so to me.)

I still have recaptured my joy although singing, once again, makes me happy.

Elite musicians sacrifice in ways that I am not prepared to.

I don't think you're horrid for considering past options but I will pass on some advice I received recently...

Nostalgia is a terrible feeling. It's a resonable one but it is terrible nonetheless.

Maybe you should call your old teacher!

timpani76 said...

Is Harlan ok? I thought he was on vacation or something?

Renae said...

No, he's fine. I'm just chicken to call because I'm afraid he'll think I'm the student who just wouldn't go away. It's stupid really.

Renae said...

Dana, I think you are right about musicians giving so much. I often wonder if I'm the only person who has to work so hard to learn to play things on the piano. I've been at it for over 15 years now, and I love it, but I think that if I had spent anywhere near as much time as I have invested in the piano on any other hobby, I'd be more than just a mediocre hack. Don't get me wrong, I am actually bordering on good when I'm alone, but put me in front of an audience, and suddenly I can't play anything. Oh well. I asked Harlan (who is hands down the best pianist I have ever heard aside from concert pianists - and I'm pretty sure he could have been one, but bless him, he just loves to teach. He's Dumbledore of piano. - where was I going? Oh yeah, I asked him how much time he spends a day practicing once and he said "Oh, on a good day, if Georgian (his wife) is out of the house, I'll do around 14 hours. But on average, 7-9 hours a day." CAN YOU IMAGINE?! Well, he's retired and that's what he loves.

Anyway, I'm rambling again. Right now I'm just going through a thing where I'm wondering where music lies in my role here on Earth. I love piano SOOOO much, but I don't know if I've got what it takes / talent / time / balls to play in front of people - to make it as major a deal as I want. Also I like to arrange music, and I'd love to be good at that, but I'm far from being good, and I've soo much to learn in that respect... I don't know what to spend my time on. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING?!!

Renae said...

BTW folks, sorry about installing the word verification thing, but I keep getting spam links to pornographic stuff, and I'm sick of deleting them. Deal with it.

Dana Cheryl said...


You should consider taking classes! Just one class a semester or something like that. You could get financial aid I'm sure because of all your beautiful little tax deductions running around. lol!

Most people have to be conditioned to performing in front of an audience. A musical education at the university level included performance training. In addition to lessons 2x a week we had...

1.Performance labs everyweek. This is where everyone in the studio would perform in front of one another. (There were four voice studios at my university in addition to three piano studios, a few for brass, a few for woodwinds, a few for strings, & then one for percussion.)

So every week within our studio we had to perform.

2. We had general recital every week and we had to perform there a minimum of twice per semester although some studios required more. Here is where all the studios from every discipline gathered & performed. We started performing within ensembles & then moved on to solos.

3. We were required to perform in front of a panel of instructors in addition to a set(varied by studio) amount of auditions per year. Freshman & Sophomore pretty much never got solos but we had to audition anyway.

4. First semester Juniors had to give a Serenade which meant that about four of them would each perform two pieces. Formal dress required with concert rules about clapping, bowing, etc...

5. Second Semester Juniors had a formal recital as well as Seniors.

There is a method to public performance that is actively taught & learned & you can learn it!

You're gonna laugh but I'm gonna to tell one of my most embarrassing stories...

I am naturally very, very shy (you're not believing me are you?! seriously though I am. it was performance training that changed me.) So I'm a super shy senior in high school and I really, really wanted to make All-State Choir. I prepared my audition piece & my choir teacher drove us to a district wide audition. By the time it's my turn I'm shaking to hard that someone had to help me walk to hit my mark. Then I take a deep breath...

and pass out! I hit the ground like a rock!! You know how it is for high school girls we're so self conscious anyway so this was awful! It took a few minutes but I finally was able to stand. I wanted to just leave but they had me audition anyway. They let my best friend stand with me. I did make All State that year by some miracle. (Honestly I think I made it on my range alone. My thoughts are that they needed more First Sopranos.)

It took consistent training for me to be able to perform well. Very, very few people have a natural gift for performing. Most of us learn it just like we learn any other subject. Now I can get up in front of a crowd and sing with literally no more than five minutes notice. That's definitely learned behavior. During my first year at college I cried during every single Voice Lab. I would get up there in front of my studio and just cry. Dr. Jardine made me do it though & I became more comfortable. For the entire first year I'd cry at least once a week in private lessons. So I know that if I can become comfortable with performing then anyone can. Dr. Jardine told me once that I was the single worst performer that he'd ever taught in his sixty years of teaching but that we'd get through it! And we did!! :)

It's been so fun reliving my days as a serious music student!! Seems like forever ago. I was a junior when I joined the Church but I changed my major after my sophomore year. It got to be too much for me and I wanted to be a career missionary so I took a different path. However, I know that performance training helped me become the outgoing, confident person that I am. I owe so much to that experience!