Throwback Thursday – Piano

Patti.piano.Happy Thursday!  For today’s Throwback Thursday, I decided to go way, way back.  This is a picture of me as a little girl trying to play the piano at my grandparent’s house.

At the time I had no idea how to read music, but I seem to enjoy the challenge. I am not even sure what piece of music this is.   As I got older I took piano lessons but never practiced enough.  My piano teacher used to fuss at me, “You need to practice more.”

Now, my husband and I have a piano and although I still love to play, I still don’t practice nearly enough.  This is something I need to work on.  Any suggestions?

I know a few people who are amazing pianists.  My aunt can play almost anything from memory.  She was always the one who played my favorite songs during our family singalongs.  My sister-in-law and her mother all also very good as are my niece and nephew.  They have all learned well and practice regularly. I also have a cousin who is an amazing pianist and singer.  She has written several songs and my favorites are the ones with her singing as she plays the piano.

And, there are artists/musicians who I like very much who are very good on the piano — like Jim Brickman, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, John Legend, Norah Jones, Michael Feinstein, Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban, Diana Krall, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ray Charles.  Who would you add to this list?

My goal for the month of August is to practice more and to learn a new song.  I enjoy it very much and it is relaxing.  Just have to add it to my schedule.

I wonder what will be the next song I will learn?  I think “How Great Thou Art” will be my choice.  I have worked on it before and look forward to doing so again!!  I will keep you posted on my progress.

November 6 – Music

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Wednesday.

Today’s photo challenge is Music.  I love music and love to sing.  I also really like going to the symphony.

Here is Ian trying out a cello during a petting zoo at the community orchestra’s concert for kids.

Don’t you just love his expression?  I sure do.  He was so excited to get to try it out.

He also loves to play our piano and sings along with his favorite songs on the radio and on CD. Our son loves music as much as we do.  For that I am very thankful.

Whatever you are doing today, may it be filled with music and fun!

Tuesday Tunes — My Favorite Dance Music

dance danceHi and happy Tuesday!  Hope you had a great weekend and Monday!

I have decided to change Thursday Tunes to Tuesday Tunes.  Then on Thursday, I will be adding Thursday Throwbacks.

Thursday Throwbacks will include old pictures, old quotes, and I may even revisit an old blog or two.  This way I have a few more days of items to write about!

Today’s Tuesday’s Tunes is about My Favorite Dance Music.

As I mentioned in Friday’s blog, there are a few songs that I cannot just listen to, but have to get up and dance.  Over the weekend, I thought of a few more and decided to include them in my blog.

You will notice that a lot of them are from the 1980s and 1990s, with a few from the 1970s.  This is the time that I went out dancing a lot and many of these are the songs that I loved then and still do today.

During my senior year of college, my friend Dawn and I went out almost every weekend to a neighboring city to dance.  We went to a great place where we had a lot of friends.  Both of us were mainly about the dancing and it was so much fun!

Not all of these were played at this club, but I liked to dance to them on the radio or other places.  In more recent years, I have enjoying dancing with my neighbors at the beach!  That is fun too.

These bring back such great memories for me!  I looked up a few lists online to find these treasures!

What are some of your favorite dance songs?  Please share them.

Here is my list of 36 great dance songs:

  • “The Electric Slide”
  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
  • “Very Superstitious” by Stevie Wonder
  • “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
  • “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson
  • “Rock this Town” by the Stray Cats
  • “Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind, and Fire
  • “”Livin’ the Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
  • “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson
  • “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson
  • “Celebration” by Kool and The Gang
  • “Push It” by Salt -n- Pepa
  • “Super Freak” by Rick James
  • “Vogue” by Madonna
  • “Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic
  • “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” by Michael Jackson
  • “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz
  • “In My House” Mary Jane Girls
  • “You Spin Me Round” by Dead or Alive
  • “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins
  • “Highway to the Danger Zone (from Top Gun)” by Kenny Loggins
  • “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham
  • “Nasty” by Janet Jackson
  • “Come Go With Me” by Expose
  • “The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E
  • “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C&C Music Factory
  • “The Power” by Snap!
  • “Finally” by Cece Peniston
  • “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” by Will Smith
  • “Everybody, Everybody” with Black Box Feat
  • “What is Love?” by Haddaway
  • “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base
  • “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo
  • “Two of Hearts” by Stacy Q
  • “Express Yourself” by Madonna
  • “Back to Life” by Soul II Soul

I know there are others that I have also liked over the years, but this is my list for today.  I would love to listen to each and every one of these songs again!

I will have to work on a more current list of 2000s songs for my next blog.  There are a lot of great songs now and in the past 20 years.

I wonder what song I will hear first today that I can dance to.  I look forward to finding out.

Five Minute Friday – Rhythm

5minutefridayToday’s word for Five Minute Friday is Rhythm.

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Now GO …

“I’ve got rhythm, I’ve got music.”  “Listen to the rhythm of the pouring rain.”

These song lyrics are the first two things that came to mind for rhythm.

I do love music and especially those songs with great rhythm.

For example, I really like Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees.  It is easy to dance to since it is in 4-4 time.  You can dance the Electric Slide to this rhythm.  This is one of my favorite dances!

I have the CD and now really want to listen to it.  Time to dance!!

As far as the rhythm of the rain, there is something very calming and relaxing to listening to a calm and steady rain.  As long as I am inside I enjoy it and sometimes feel like all my problems and cares are washing away.

There also is the rhythm of life.  I have seen it and felt it by having a child grow inside me for 9 months, then be born, and see him grow to be 5 1/2 years old.  What an amazing journey that has been.  I have truly enjoyed and been awed by each and every step.

When I was pregnant, Ian loved to move around a lot and especially liked it when I walked.  He has his own rhythm then and still does today.

“I’ve got rhythm”  Yes I do.

Now STOP!!

To read other thoughts on Rhythm from the Five Minute Community, please check out http://lisajobaker.com/2013/06/five-minute-friday-rhythm/

Thursday Tunes — Ian’s Songs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had planned to write about a different topic today, but then I started thinking of some recent songs that Ian has made up and knew I had to write about my son.

This first picture is on his 2nd birthday when he received his first toy guitar.  He was so excited at this gift!  He had fun all day with the guitar!  That year he also got a toy violin and two more toy guitars.

Since he was three years old, Ian has been coming up with his own songs.  His first was Oatmeal since he ate a lot of it at the time.  As you might imagine, the entire song is the word Oatmeal.

Although it is repetitive, I absolutely love it and love to hear him sing!  A friend of mine recorded it on video as he sang it and played a pretend guitar.  It is so great!!!

Ian loves music and is recognizing songs that we hear on the radio and CDs.

Recently, he has been singing the words of Footloose, Love is a Battlefield, as well as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song.  Can you tell his mother likes 80s music?

A week or so ago, VH-1 Classic aired concert footage of a Bon Jovi tour.  They are one of my favorite groups!  Ian also seemed to enjoy watching them and especially liked the special microphone that Richie Sambora uses at the beginning of Livin’ On A Prayer.

“Mommy, I like that wwhhaa-whhaa sound.  That is cool,” Ian told me.  “I think so too,” I told him.  “Did you notice how that special mic is in his mouth Ian?”  “YEAH!!!!!,” he said.

I love that Ian is noticing words and the different tunes of music!  He likes all kinds — including some classical.  He has mentioned that a song on Little Einstein’s is also played by the ice cream truck.  I told him he is right.

Ian_with_guitarThis week he has made up a new song and it is absolutely priceless.  It is Jesus Was Born Before the Zeros.  Isn’t that a great title?!

He played his keyboard as well as our piano with the words to this song.  Again, there aren’t many, but it is fantastic and I beamed as he sang it!

Another recent song is My Name is Ian James Cates where he tells his name and a few things about himself.  He moves around like a real rock star does.  It is so fun to watch!

He loves music as much as my husband and I do.  That makes us happy and very proud!  Here he is trying out a real guitar when he was 2 1/2.  You can see it is nearly bigger than him.

I see piano lessons and maybe violin and/or guitar lessons in his future.  If he practices, I think that he will really get good at the music.  And, hopefully he will learn more about how to write music and play it correctly.

I look forward to nurturing this talent.  I love that he has such fun with music and definitely want that to continue.

I wonder what his future with music holds?  Whether a vocation or hobby, I know that it will always be a part of his life.

I so look forward to seeing him grow and mature – both as a young man and a musician, in whatever form that is meant to take!  Rock on Ian!!

Thursday Tunes – Musical Theater

musical.notesHi and Happy Thursday!

I have decided that I am going to write on Thursdays about Tunes or Music in a variety of subjects and genres.  Since music is so important to me, I thought it would be fun to do regular blogs on the subject.

This week I wanted to write about musical theater, which I absolutely love!

I don’t know about you but I love theater — and especially musical theater!  I was in musicals in both high school and college and loved each and every one.

I was in a great variety of fabulous shows.  They included:  The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, Bye Bye Birdie, Fiddler On the Roof, Camelot, Carousel, and South Pacific.

I was in the chorus in all of them but South Pacific where I played Liat.  For that part, I wore a long black wig, body makeup, and did some hula dancing.  It was fun to have a major part without a lot of lines to memorize!

Each one was a great experience where I worked with some amazing people.  And, many had a moral to them or something to learn — about love, prejudice, honor, bravery, and having fun with others.

The music and the production numbers were great.  A lot of time was spent on practicing and making sure that the choreography and the singing were in fact what the director wanted to see and hear.  The hard work paid off with some memorable performances!

In my senior year of high school, I went on a chorus trip to New York City.  We had the chance to see a Broadway Show.  I saw Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The sets were quite something.  Everything was to the scale of a cat.  It was cool to see actors dressed up and acting like cats and also singing.  You truly felt like you were with a gang of cats and each song showed the personality of a new feline friend.

If you have a chance to see a show on Broadway, I advise you to do so!  It is an amazing experience.

Other shows that I have really liked as a play or movies are Barnum, Chicago, The King and I, and A Chorus Line.  All of these musicals have great music and lyrics, great casts, and are such fun.

From A Chorus Line, one of the best songs is “One Singular Sensation.”   Here are a few of the lyrics:

  • One singular sensation, every little step she takes
  • One thrilling combination, every move that she makes
  • One smile and suddenly nobody else will do
  • You know you’ll never be lonely with you-know-who
  • One moment in her presence and you can forget the rest
  • For the girl is second best to none, son
  • Oooh! Sigh! Give her your attention
  • Do I really have to mention she’s the one

I can just see the cast in the chorus line singing that song — in tails and top hats!  LOVE IT!!!

I am curious about other people who have been in musical theater and the shows that others perform.  Please share your faves with me and my readers!

I wonder if I will be in another musical sometime.  I hope so!  The fun part will be in figuring out which one!

Christmas Music

Christmas musicIt’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

I don’t know about you but I love Christmas music.  The radio station I normally listen to, B-97.5 in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been playing some of my favorites along with their regular lineup.

Hearing these songs puts me in the mood for Christmas and all of the wonderment of the Advent season and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well.  And I must admit that I sing along with as many as possible!  Fun times for me, that’s for sure.

Here are some of my favorites that I hear on the radio with the artists that I like the best:

  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams — His version of this song always makes me smile.  I can sing each and every word and usually do at the top of my lungs!  When I hear this, I am ready for the Christmas season.  This year he will be celebrating in Heaven.
  • “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins — I always sing along with this version.  It is so great being home for Christmas!
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Bandaid — This was recorded in the mid-80s and remains one of the best.  It always makes me a little sad and mindful of so many who are suffering.
  • “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill — This song gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.  Baby Jesus truly did change everything!  And, my baby changed my life so I think of him as well.
  • “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant.  Since I live in Tennessee and grew up there, this song is quite special to me.  Her version is beautiful.
  • “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  I love his talking at the beginning of the song, the song itself, and the band and crowd they recorded it before.  It is a fun song!
  • “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  I like the musicality of this song and the words are great as well.
  • “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Josh Groban with the quotes from service men and women mixed in.  This always makes me tear up and hope and pray that people will be with their families at Christmas time.

Music has a great effect on me as I am sure it does on you as well.  Each time I hear these songs I am happy and thoughtful as well.  They are truly an important part of this season for me.

What are some of your favorites?  These are just from the radio.  I have many others that I will write about in another posting.

Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!!

I Love To Sing

“Sing.  Sing out loud. Sing out strong.  Sing of happy not sad.  Sing of good things not bad.”

This song, which was performed by The Carpenters, is one that celebrates singing.  Clearly you don’t always hear happy songs but I must say those are my favorites.

I love to sing!  How much more clearly than that can I say it?

Here are lines from a few songs that also came to mind:

“I’ve got the music in me.”   “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”  “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” “I’m singing in the rain.” “Rolling in the deep.”  “Just you and I.”  “Tommy used to work on the docks.”

From classical music, to musicals, to country songs, to lullabies, to rock songs, to pop music, to dance music, to music from the 80s, I love it all.  And, I love to sing.

How about you?  Are there are a few songs that you know every word to?  Those you sing in the shower or while driving in your car?

My sister has asked before, why can’t we just break into song when we want to?  Good question.  It would be nice to be able to do just that.

For as long as I can remember, I have been singing.  I sang songs at Vacation Bible School, in junior high choir, high school chorus, high school show choir, and college women’s choir, as well as at Camp Fire day camp.  I also sang in the church choir for a long time and must say I miss it.  I really need to get back to that again.

And, one of my favorite memories from growing up was our family sing-alongs.  When we were in San Diego, we would gather around the piano at my grandparents’ home and sing the family’s favorite camp songs, church songs, show tunes, and we’d always end with Brigadoon.  My aunt could play just about anything on the piano so it was a joy for me and the other family members.

When I got married, I said that I wanted Brigadoon during the pre-wedding music.  And, you know what really made it special, my aunt was there to play it on the piano.  It brings me to happy tears just thinking about it.

Another wonderful memory was getting to sing “Handel’s Messiah” twice in my life — once while in college and the second time with a dear friend at Midnight Mass.  My favorite song from that movement is the Hallelujah Chorus.  I sang soprano but have since switched to second soprano since my voice has changed.  This song is gorgeous with a full orchestra.

I have some other definite favorites, as I am sure that we all do.  And, I like a huge variety of music.  In December 2011, I wrote two blogs about Christmas songs that I really like.  Please check them out.

Now here is a small listing of some of my favorites:

  • Friends Forever — we sang this in chorus or show choir – I can’t remember which one since it’s been a while.
  • God Bless the USA – we sang this in show choir and I have a friend who got to sing this in a duet with Lee Greenwood
  • Edelweiss — from the Sound of Music (my all-time favorite musical) Several years ago, my husband and I got to meet four of the grandchildren of the real Von Trapp family.  The three girls and a boy performed an amazing concert and sang this song.  It was gorgeous.
  • My Favorite Things — also from Sound of Music.
  • How Great Thou Art – a gorgeous hymn
  • Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi.  A friend of mine and I went to see them in concert in the mid 1980s and they were great.
  • It’s My Life also by Bon Jovi — they’ve still got it.
  • I’m Going Home by Daughtry
  • You’re The One That I Want — from Grease — another favorite musical!
  • On The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga — I heard her explanation about this song and learned to like it even more
  • I Want to Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston.  This song is great to sing and dance to.
  • On the Streets With No Name — by U2.  This song always make me happy and this band is still one of my favorites.  They too have still got it!
  • Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.  This song makes me want to sing and dance as so many of their other songs do.
  • Beat It by Michael Jackson – his albums in the 80s were the best.

Those are just a few titles of my eclectic list of songs that I love to sing along with.  I could spend all day on my favorites since there are so many.  And, I may do a followup list another day when I can think of more song titles.

What are some of your favorites?  Please share them with me and the other readers.

Hope you have a great day.  And Keep Singing!

The Importance of Art

This morning I saw a great quote on Facebook.

“Earth without “art” is just “eh.”

I have always loved and been involved in the arts.  My niche was always music and musical theater.  All through junior high and high school, I was in the chorus, chorale, and show choir.  I had a blast and am so thankful for that opportunity.

My high school also had a drama club and each year we’d practice after school and then perform two shows a year.  The ones that I was in were: “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Our Town,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Pillow Talk.”

My high school was three years at that time with 9th grade still in junior high (a while ago).  We also had a newspaper staff and a yearbook staff.  I wasn’t involved in those but had several friends who were and had a blast with it.  Student writers, advertisers, and photographers were all involved in these publications.

My school had an art class as well and the students would display their works throughout the school. I am terrible at drawing and painting but am loving watching my son and nieces and nephews with their amazing work.  And, I have friends who are very talented as well.

I was fortunate to go grow up in a neighborhood that valued the arts both at school and in the community. We had a community theater, community band, community chorus, community orchestra, and community ballet.  Volunteers with a director or conductor or leader would work together to create amazing performances for the general public to enjoy.

But, the sad fact now is that many schools no longer have these programs.  A lot of them had to do away with them due to budget cuts. To me this is heartbreaking.  For talented students to lose this outlet is truly sad and in need of correction.

This morning on Good Morning America, I was thrilled to hear Sarah Jessica Parker talking about her involvement in a new initiative to adopt failing schools and incorporate arts education back into them.  She is involved in the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

According to the Associated Press, Parker, Kerry Washington, Yo-Yo Ma, Damian Woetzel, Chuck Close, Alfre Woodard, and Forest Whitaker are adopting schools to help in this initiative.

Thumbs up to all of them as well as President Obama for realizing the importance of this and doing something about it.

I wonder if we will continue to appreciate the value of the arts.  I certainly hope we do.