Viewing: Music in the Home - View all posts

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…

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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…

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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…

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"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…

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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…

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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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A return to touchy-feely music

Today’s dominance of online streaming means my children do not have a way to touch the records we play.

I grew up often looking at the jewel cases in my dad’s music collection and leafing through the Sound and Spirit

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Do kids learn music faster than adults?

“I’ve heard that kids learn music faster than adults,” said one of my adult students. My own observations from teaching piano are the contrary.* Adults quickly catch on to concepts that grade schoolers take years to mount. 

But the kids…

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Routine is magic

Routine is magic. When daughter first started piano lessons, practice happened when Mama said so, and when Mama said so, daughter’s shoulders slumped and her inward being released a plaintive groan to heaven. 

But when practice happened after schoolwork and…

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There were hits before radio

Hit songs are hits for a reason. There’s a combination of catchiness, uniqueness, and lyricism that wins so much loyalty that the song becomes self-propelling. 

The very idea of a hit song seems to begin with radio and vinyl records…

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Turning thunder into song

My father surprised me one night by telling me he liked thunder. I didn't like thunder. Thunder made me feel like unseen powers were about to crush my bedroom between their hands. Thunder made me rise and go to my…

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Wrapping up winter break

The collective wisdom of successful songwriters and producers seems to be quantity. Make stuff. You’ve got to craft stuff to craft better. I also once read an exchange that went something like this:

“I have some ideas that would make

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Capturing a piece of life in the Indiana EP

I'm still testing out this analogy, but I often think that life is like a vine. Beauty - the delight and interpretation we derive from life - is the wine, extracted from the vine in a process of violence and…

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Another song from the hospital

There is a carol whose music you have heard, but I doubt you have ever sung in a congregation. 

"The Coventry Carol" is a commemoration of the children who perished at Herod’s order.  

Those children were victims of an ancient…

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Songs from the hospital

A hospital stay impressed a deep love for Christmas music in this writer’s heart. The hospital was also the beginning of another person’s practice of music. About the year 1930, ten-year-old Alfred Burt received a cornet as a reward for…

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Down-Home Domestic Art

Literature professor Laurence Perrine sums up literature as either interpretative or escapist (or a blend thereof). A classicist might instead say the function of literature is to teach and delight. 

I think these categories can be applied pretty well, in…

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Bringing a piece of home to home

The experience of staying in one place most of your childhood is irreplaceable. Stasis allows depth. 

This is what I had in Akron from age four to nineteen. It was there, in an old gritty neighborhood just west of downtown…

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Once upon a time, not so long ago, free spirits could walk to the edge of the cotton factory ruins on the Shenandoah River. These are square-cornered stone walls two or three feet wide with a drop of, oh, ten…

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The most expensive piece

The biggest disappointment from my first trip to the studio was that one of my pieces wasn't ready. It was, technically and compositionally, the most difficult piece. I wondered if I would have to hack it to bits before coming…

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Tania Melnyczuk

I had a pleasant dream one Saturday morning about an auction. I hadn't been to an auction in a while, even though two fifty-cent La-Z-Boy armchairs in the living room testified of my success. This unexpected dream prompted…

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Singing Belongs to You - and Some News

This summer a little dream came true. 

A handful of acquaintances got together in someone's house and learned an a cappella song together. We were college girls, working mothers, empty nesters, and due this fall (well, one of us). Some…

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Four Ways to Bring Music Home

I aspire to bring more live music back into the home. Strategically this means bringing music to our kids. Here are four ways that has happened in the Hall house.

1. Singing

Singing belongs to you. Some people are knock-out…

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