Band Memories

Every time I pass a school band outside practicing, it always reminds me of when our son was in band in high school.  He started band in sixth grade and stayed in it every year into his college years.  I remember going to music stores in search of the right drumsticks and percussion mallets.   They also sell these online at sites like  tc helicon at Musician’s, but we usually needed them really soon and found this one music store had them in stock all the time.

When it came time for finding a certain piece of sheet music for UIL competition, we would usually have to order online to find the exact piece.  The pieces our son would play for UIL were very challenging, but he worked hard on learning them.  His hard work paid off, though, because he was able to go to state UIL competition a couple of years and play a solo piece from memory.  His senior year, he received a “1” which is the highest score.  (There’s a story about how we were given the wrong information about the location of the competition sight which was in Austin, but that’s a story for another time.)   🙂

We are proud of our son and the accomplishments he made in band, and I thought about this when we were watching the Olympics.  People are talented in different areas, and while we can’t do what these amazing athletes can do in the Olympics, there are talents in the areas of music and art that are amazing as well.

Band Memories

Our son has been in band since sixth grade, and now he’s going to be a senior in college. For many years, we heard things like our son saying, “I need new drumsticks” or another band member might say, “I need Vandoren Reeds.”   The high school years were so busy with before school practices, after school practices, football games, parades, and many competitions in the fall.  Once our son was in college, though, things came to a stop.  We got to see a college football game (and enjoyed half time immensely), and now that he’s in a percussion group we’ve gotten to see two or three of his programs.  Great band memories!

Free Online Book for Travel: Pride and Prejudice

For those of you who like to listen to books while traveling, I found a site that has free online audio books.  Looking through their list, I already see one that would be interesting to me, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which is the most famous of her novels.

I read the book several years ago and have the movie on DVD (the long version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle).  It’s such a great story!  (Actually, our daughter and s-i-l gave me the movie years ago for Christmas, and Christi and I stayed up late watching the movie.  It was that good!)  I imagine the audio book would recreate flashbacks of the movie for me, and it’s good to know about this site in case I’m ever in the mood to listen to the book online.


There’s just something about the sound of guitar music that’s so appealing.  That’s one thing that attracted me to my husband when we first met.  He is very talented on the acoustic guitar plus he has a beautiful singing voice.  As of now, he has two guitars, but did have one more which he gave away years ago to someone who needed one.   He’s never had electric guitars such as dean guitars, only acoustic.  There’s something about the sound of his Alvarez acoustic guitar that I really like.  I guess it’s my favorite guitar of all that he’s had.


We are a family of  musicians.  My husband is a musician, and so we’ve had several different instruments in our home since we’ve been married.  We don’t have any Fender PA Speakers but we do have a couple of guitars, a violin, and even a banjo.  My husband doesn’t play the banjo now but did teach beginning banjo lessons years ago.  We also have my piano which I haven’t played in ages.  When our son is home then he has a keyboard and he plays percussion, mainly steel drums, in college.   As you can see, my husband and our son are the real musicians in our family.

Laura Story Wins Grammy Award

I loved the song, “Blessings,” the first time I heard it.  Apparently, people all over the world love this song, too, even in Japan after their last tsunami.   It’s only fitting that Laura Story received a Grammy Award for the “Best Contemporary Christian Music Song.”  Laura says that they “pray that any attention the song ‘Blessings’ receives will be used by God to bring hope to others who are walking hard roads. May God’s faithfulness be seen in this above all things.”

By the way, Laura and her husband are expecting their first child later this year.  That is exciting news, especially after all they’ve been through.  You can listen to the song and read the “Story Behind the Song, Blessings” to find out about this.

If you’d like to know even more, you can read the “Story Behind the Song, Indescribable” which was written by Laura Story and made famous by Chris Tomlin, and you can also hear Laura’s new song being played on the radio.


One great invention that I really appreciate is headphones!  Being a school teacher, we depend on headphones to keep our classroom quiet for learning groups while some students are utilizing the student computers and also the listening center where students listen to a prerecorded story and follow along in a book.  If we didn’t have headphones then we wouldn’t be able to do as much with the students as we do.

Music lovers enjoy having headphones to use while listening to their favorite songs.   Monster headphones are even available that are supposed to “capture the sonic detail” for the listener.   And headphones are great for traveling so everybody in the vehicle doesn’t have to listen to the same music if they don’t want to.  I definitely appreciate headphones!

Taking Music Lessons

We are a family with several musicians.  My husband took violin lessons starting at age eight and then taught himself to play guitar in college.  He actually makes money entertaining playing the guitar and singing, he’s that good.  Our son took lessons (and was in school band for eight years) and plays just about any type of percussion instrument but mainly steel drums now.  He did play the marimba in high school (very well, I might add, to the extent that playing his UIL solo at a college try-out earned him a several thousand dollar scholarship).

If someone was interested in taking lessons but didn’t have much time or wanted to learn at their own pace, there are beginner guitar lessons available online.  Violin lessons would need to be in person, though, because how one holds the instrument is very important as well as technique.  I’ve seen online drum lessons but not online marimba lessons.  Before anyone considers music lessons for themselves or their child, though, they need to remember that the desire to play and the commitment it takes are very important aspects of learning to play an instrument.

Musicians in our Family

My husband is talented when it comes to music!  He plays the guitar and has even played a 12 string guitar before.   Right now, he has two guitars and a banjo tucked away in a closet somewhere that he played occasionally years ago.  Actually, he used the banjo mostly for a few music lessons and mainly taught guitar and violin lessons.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that he plays the violin.  The violin was his first instrument which he started playing when he was eight years old.  In fact, he is still playing on the same violin (the sound is beautiful) and plays in a local orchestra.

Our son is in college and has played in a school band for nine years, and he’s now playing in a steel drum ensemble group.  He is talented, too, and has won UIL State Music Awards in the past.  When he’s home, our son likes to play the piano in our living room (used to be my piano when I was growing up).  One advantage to having musicians in the family is that I get to listen to great music at home and at concerts!

DVD Giveaway: Fireproof

For those of you who haven’t heard, I’m having a giveaway for the Fireproof movie which was the highest grossing independent movie of 2008, grossing over $33,000,000.  That’s awesome for an independent movie!
The movie revolves around Capt. Caleb Holt and his wife.  Caleb lives by the firefighter’s code:  “Never leave your partner behind,” and his job is to rescue others.  However, at home is a different story.  Caleb must face his toughest job ever…to rescue his wife’s heart.  What a beautiful love story!
This giveaway is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents.  Giveaway ends midnight CST, February 28, 2011. 

Here’s where to enter.


There’s something about books that’s appealing to so many people.  As an educator, I enjoying looking through children’s books and have a small collection from my years of teaching.   I especially look for children’s books with wonderful illustrations.  Being a visual learner myself, I think pictures can capture the imagination of a young child and help them to fully enjoy a story and want to look at books on their own.   And I can’t think of a better gift to give children than a book they will enjoy for a long time!