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Friday, January 23, 2015

Each Chapter of Life Has A Learning Curve...

Lessons Learned

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After thirty years as an elementary teacher, the time had come for a change. Changes in family circumstances, changes in perspective, changes in health, changes visible and invisible, changes subtle and changes huge, none of which are particularly comfortable or comforting, all drive the move into a new chapter.  Life is change, really, and each new chapter comes with significant blessings and trials, smooth water and rough through which we must faithfully and fearlessly navigate. I am thankful that I walk with God and that He holds me up, for I know that on my own I would crumble. So one plunges into the deep end of a new chapter, and with that comes most assuredly a restructuring of a daily schedule. Perhaps more available time, perhaps less, but in any event, it is accompanied by a need to re-establish time priorities. In my case, a bit of time became free, and with that acknowledgement came a plethora of choices. As a teacher, one recognizes the critical importance of remaining forever a perpetual learner, because seeking to more fully understand and comprehend in any and all arenas of knowledge, keeps one’s mind sensitive and sharp. Hmmmm, what to do? Well, from the time I was about fifteen years old, I have been writing melodies and filling those melodies with poetry on one topic or another. Hundreds of songs, written on scraps of paper, cafe napkins, inside the back cover of old textbooks, and filling pages of piles of composition notebooks, have spilled from my heart onto paper of one type or another but have never made it to transcription on musical staff paper. Written down lyrics with the melodies locked for forty years in my mind has surely resulted in countless forgotten and lost songs, but what about now? So in some widows of newly available time, with staff paper, a pencil, and many erasers in hand, I have begun the arduous, albeit rewarding, task of attempting to unlock and transcribe melodies, of attempting to learn how. Note by note over endless hours, recalling, playing and re-playing, referring to the formatting of already published music, I learned and practiced simple, very simple transcription and began for the first time to see the music that had only previously swirled in my mind and heart. Page upon page of children’s music, simply written, has emerged. Music that had been specifically written to enhance and support curricular content, to provide opportunities for multi-modal instruction, and to engage higher level questioning and deeper level thinking was now on the paper before me. It is a bit overwhelming, probably not dissimilar to meeting someone for the first time after hearing about that individual for years and years. There is much more learning to occur and much more music to transcribe, but it has begun. Stuffing it in the piano bench upon completion seemed unsuitable and maybe somewhat wasteful, so subsequently, I have opened an online Teachers Pay Teachers Store to sell it, to share it. My store is called One Arts Infusion Collaborative, and gradually I will fill its cyber shelves with scores of children’s educational sheet music forty years in the making.