From the blog

Thoughts on music, writing, and the Christian life

Lessons and Carols in the PICU

Eight years ago this month, an ambulance transported my son to the Johns Hopkins pediatric ICU. A profound disorder had compromised his ability to cough, and the common cold was making it too hard to breathe. Day after day the…

Celebrating the summer by breaking the silo effect

This summer was more about recreating old music than creating new music, and for very good reason. 

Many piano students are victims of the silo effect. The student takes solo lessons, practices in a corner, learns music that he doesn’t…

Material things

My mom placed a bunch of white lilac blossoms in my hands, and I flew back in time. 

May 2008. I was an ignorant and anti-cosmopolitan bride whose wedding plans were never going to be featured in The Knot. 


The hints of God are not mere enigmas

“This illness does not lead to death,” Jesus said, and I smiled at the poor cynics who would find this line irresistible. 

Dear cynic, you quote the Scripture as proof against itself. God said thus, and thus didn’t happen. “This…

Ode to an influencer

“How did you get started in music?”

I once read a variety of answers to this question and was struck by a common theme. Just about everyone mentioned one person in particular. There was one person in their lives, outside…

"Who's in the house? J. C.!"

I was walking into a Christian bookstore as my friend was walking out. She was clutching a new purchase and smiling big. 

“I got Carman’s new release!” she said. 

We were teenagers, and though I didn’t say it, I thought…

Does it have to be difficult?

Several popular playlists have a piano solo which, if I had written it, I would have dismissed as too easy. It uses simple chord progressions and could probably be played with one hand. 

“But it’s good,” my husband said. He…

Music in wartime

“It almost makes you want to go to war.” 

Such was the effect of the fife and drum corps at colonial Williamsburg as they marched by.

Music in wartime is an ancient tradition. Why? Why should something so beautiful, lively…

The last post

“Gus never talked about art and hated art theory.” 

Gus himself, however, was an artist. He was Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of the best sculptors of the nineteenth century per historian David McCullough. Apparently, Gus didn’t need to talk about art…

Twenty carols for Luke 2 Advent readings

We have an Advent tradition of reading a verse from Luke 2:1-20 throughout December. We’ve also picked a carol to go with each verse. This tradition serves a few purposes: 

1. The lyrics of these carols magnify the moment of…

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About the writer

R. Hall grew up listening to CCM and 90s rock, tinkering the whole while on the piano and guitar with her own music. Then she studied classical piano and became certified in piano pedagogy at the University of Akron. Then she studied some great books and started a family and taught music, and to this day, you can still find her with her family, teaching music, or, more rarely, reading a great book.

This life flows into many song and composition ideas that she's turning into fully produced recordings. Ergo, Vandalia River.