Friday, April 04, 2008

Voice and Piano Recital

Before my senior year began, I talked with Mom and Dad about what I should focus on this year. I had already completed a lot of the academics I needed, so we decided I would focus a little more time in taking lessons. My dad suggested taking voice and piano - voice to learn to sing better and help me with directing/acting in musicals, and piano to learn to play hymns, and just all-around understand the instrument. We found Mrs. Jody Dix (whom I'd known somewhat before through her siblings in band) to teach me both voice and piano. Each Thursday from 12-1 p.m. I had an enjoyable hour with her, learning to sing and play.

This was my first year taking voice (though I was in a choir last year) and I really enjoyed learning how to sing better. My great teacher made everything fun! Although I am not the most amazing singer, I enjoyed learning breathing techniques, proper posture, pronunciation while singing, etc. Mrs. Jody also pushed me to try notes I didn't think I could sing. She helped me learn that I'm a mezzo-soprano, and the ways to use the voice range God has given me. What I learned are tools that I will put to good use, just singing around the house, at church, or in productions.

I had taken piano for about 1 1/2 years before, when I was ages 10-11. I had enjoyed it, but then my first teacher moved, and my interest waned somewhat. Plus, my siblings had always been in band, and since Miriam was going to start playing the flute in band, I decided that I'd stop piano and begin the flute. I still played at home from time to time for fun, and as the years went by, thought it would be nice to pick up again. However, I already had so much going on, that it just remained a nice thought. This year we made it a priority for me to get lessons, and I'm so glad we did!

Playing the piano has been so enjoyable for me! I now know why so many play this beautiful instrument - it's wonderful! Having taken music before, I was able to advance a little more quickly, going through lesson books and some classic collections, and getting to begin playing out of the hymn book a few months ago. Practice hasn't been a drudgery - it's been a joy to sit and play lovely music, though finding time to practice has sometimes been a challenge. I now see why it's hard for Miriam to pass a piano without stopping to play; the keys just seem to call your name! It's been so soothing after a stressful day, to sit down and let the beautiful music fill my soul. I've found that even when I'm sick or have a headache, playing the piano takes my mind off of it and helps me feel better.

Sometimes I stop at the piano for a minute during the day, just to play a song on my way, or right before bed. Often when I practice, I loose track of the time, having to make myself stop so I can get other things done. =) Feeling the beautiful strains and moods of Fur Elise, being able to actually play myself the full hymn of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" or "How Great Thou Art" - it lifts and encourages my heart!

Yesterday evening I participated in a recital for voice and piano students. I was nervous, but everything went pretty well. My voice hadn't fully recovered from the cold I had recently, so I was a bit anxious that I'd be able to sing. Gargling salt water during the day and sucking on cough drops helped some, and I was able to sing all the way through without having to stop and clear my throat. Praise God!
I sang "Climb Every Mountain" from Sound of Music, and "Over the Meadows", a bouncy folk song. My preoccupation with being able to sing well with a weaker voice made me mix up a line in "Climb Every Mountain" and go up too early to sing "Over the Meadows", but other than that things went well. I must admit, I was quite nervous! =)

I wasn't as nervous with my piano songs, especially since I'd been playing them since November. I played "To a Wild Rose" and "Waltz from Swan Lake". The first is a beautiful, slower, tender melody that quickly became one of my favorite songs! The Waltz was fun and upbeat, providing a challenge with it's jumps, but very fun and dramatic to play! I made small mistakes on each one, but they thankfully weren't too noticeable.

Praise God for helping me play and sing! I prayed that I'd do both for His glory.

Thank you, Mrs. Jody for the great year you spent teaching me! I learned so much and had such a wonderful time! It was fun to connect with you and talk about things totally unrelated to lessons as well. =) Thank you for challenging me and making sure I learned, theory etc. I'll miss you, but hope you have a wonderful summer and year ahead!

Thank you for helping me discover more of the joys of music. I don't intend to stop playing the piano or stop singing!


Darelina said...

You looked lovely in your dress too! :) What a talented lady you are. God bless!

Jody said...

Anna, you did beautifully last night!!! I am so proud of you. You have come such a long way this past year and I am glad to know you won't stop. I wish you all the best next year and beyond. I'll miss you too!
Mrs. Jody

Ella said...

Isn't the piano such a wonderful instrument?! I have learned though that you can NEVER be too prepared with pieces--you will always play it differently each day! Glad all went well and that you did it for God's glory, my friend!

Katie said...

It's wounderful that you play the piano and sing! My mom teaches all of use to play piano and sing! We do trios. Thanks you for sharing such an wounderful happening!

Maria Pauline said...

Ooo... How fun!

I played a little piano and then switched to violin. Now I'd like to be able to bring beautiful tones out of pianos, not to mention on violin!

Kelsey S said...

Sounds wonderful! I would love to learn how to play the piano some day!
Kelsey Smith

A Young Lady In Waiting said...

I wish I knew how to play piano, but where I was thinking about it we found out we have no room for a piano, so I took vioin instead. I'm so glad your using you voice to serve the Lord. I'm a first soprano( I think thats the same a mezzo). You look wonderful in that dress!

Elijah Lofgren said...

Hi Anna,

I'm glad your recitals went well! :)

> I now know why so many play this beautiful instrument - it's wonderful!

AMEN! I think the piano is one of the best instruments, right up there with the harp! I really like listening to the piano. :)

I love and miss you,

Your brother Elijah

Sloan said...


You look so beautiul. I HAVE to make a dress for myself like that one day. I LONG to hear you play Sooooo bad! You HAVE to post a video of yourself playing. I love piano so much! Again, you look SO besutiful!

Sloan <><

Anna Naomi said...

Thank you all for your kind comments! The dress I wore was one my favorites - it's my "princess dress". =) It was nice to have an excuse to wear it!

Mrs. Jody: Thanks for the encouragement! It could have always been better... but I'm glad I was at least able to sing! =)

Ella: I know! It's amazing how when you play for others you always play somewhat differently. I never forgot the line in the song I forgot the night of the recital! It's amazing how that works!

Katie: It's neat that you get to do trios! That sounds like fun!

Maria Pauline: I actually played the violin for a few years beginning when I was 6. Switching teachers was hard for me, and I eventually stopped. =('

Kelsy: Maybe one day you will be able to learn! I started later then most, but have had a lot of fun!

Sydney: A mezzo soprano is actually between first soprano and contralto. Not that low, but not extremely high either!

Elijah: Yes, piano music is so pretty! Harp is as well - especially Greg Buchanan playing!

Sloan: I don't think I'm quite ready to post a video of myself playing. After all, I'm still not that far along! Plus, I don't have a real piano at home, just a keyboard, so it doesn't sound as pretty as the real thing. The one you'd really want to hear/see play is Miriam Rebekah - she's amazing!

Sloan said...

Wow! Look at all my spelling mistakes! Sorry Anna! I was holding my baby sister WHILE I was typing. That can get pretty tricky. :o) I meant BEAUTIFUL**

Sorry again,

Sloan <><

Miriam Rebekah said...

Sorry I haven't commented!

You did wonderfully, Anna, and you're doing so well on the piano! It helps to already know the technique and theory.
I told Andrew to watch out or you'll pass him by. =)

Rachel said...

That is wonderful you are able to use your talents for the Glory of God so well. What a blessing!

I love the piano as well, and it can be so distracting when you have schoolwork to do!

piano lessons said...

Hey It's wonderful that you play the piano and sing!I would love to learn how to play the piano some day!