Posts Tagged ‘piano’

Today is all about options again – I’m going to give you two items at a time, and you have to choose either the option that best describes you or which you prefer:

  1. Gas fire or log burner
  2. Digital or analogue
  3. Living room or lounge
  4. Piano or keyboard
  5. Jumper or cardigan
  6. DVD or Blueray
  7. Morning or night
  8. Urban or rural
  9. Carpet or wooden flooring
  10. Crisps or peanuts

A variety of questions, some about your personality, some about your preferences. Whatever your answers, together they define who you are.

In case you’re wondering here’s my answerslogo_your_preferences_final

  1. Gas fire
  2. Digital
  3. Living room
  4. Piano
  5. Jumper
  6. Blueray
  7. Night
  8. Urban
  9. Carpet
  10. Crisps

I always think the word obedience sounds very strict suggesting if we don’t obey there will be severe consequences. That sounds scary doesn’t it? However when it comes to obeying God’s will for our lives, there’s no need to be scared because obeying Him simply means following Him and giving Him your heart.

A number of years ago when I was songster accompanist at Rutherglen Salvation Army, there was a song called Obedience which became very special to me:

Lord I hear you knocking
Hear your voice appealing
Open the door of your heart
Let me enter in and
Take a centre of your life
Controlling every part

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment you must start

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Lord I know you’re prompting
Know your spirit surging
Be my desire for today
Make my will your choice and
Meet no other voice
That calls to walk another way

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment to obey

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Lord I know your presence
Be your call to service
Be what you want me to be
Serve and to your brothers
Give your life for others
As I do at Calvary

Come follow me on the way of the cross
This is the moment to be free

Chorus:
Lord I respond to your claims on my life
With obedience to that you will ask
Lord, knowing you in the way of the cross
This will be my task

Your cross, my task

I hope you enjoy the following video of Chelmsford Citadel songsters singing Obedience, and I hope you are blessed by the message:

 

I’ve done a few Word Associations with you over the last while, and today, it’s time for another one. So as usual I’m going to throw some words at you  and I want you to note down the first word that comes into your mind when you read each word.

So here goes…

  1. wordsCake
  2. Wedding
  3. Song book
  4. Irn Bru
  5. Bulb
  6. Suitcase
  7. Keyboard
  8. Box
  9. Kitten
  10. Passport

So how did you get on with those words? Did you find it easy? Did your answers surprise you or were they just as you expected?

Well here’s my responses to my questions:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Outfit
  3. Singing
  4. Thirsty
  5. Tulips
  6. Holidays!
  7. Piano
  8. Delivery
  9. Cute
  10. Holidays!

Were any of your answers the same as mine? Did any of my answers confuse you? Did any of your own answers confuse you?

I’ve said in previous word association posts that I find I get a bit stressed when I’m doing them as I put a lot of pressure on myself not to over think my answers! Are you relaxed when you do them or do you find it stressful too?

I still believe that when we respond with the first words that come into our minds, our answers tell us a lot about our emotional state, and what’s important to us at that particular point in time.

Bearing all this in mind, review your answers, does my theory hold true?

By the way, if you want me to explain any of my answers, just ask!

A number of years ago when I was Songster accompanist and then later when I was Songster Leader at Rutherglen Salvation Army, one of my favourite songs was an arrangement of the following song by Herbert Howard Booth from our songbook:

kneel at crossI bring my heart to Jesus, with its fears,
With its hopes and feelings, and its tears;
Him it seeks, and finding it is blest;
Him it loves, and loving, is at rest.
Walking with my Saviour, heart in heart,
None can part.
 
I bring my life to Jesus, with its care,
And before his footstool, leave it there;
Faded are its treasures, poor and dim;
It is not worth living without him,
More than life is Jesus, love and peace,
Ne’er to cease.
 
I bring my sins to Jesus, as I pray
That his blood will wash them all away;
While I seek for favour at his feet,
And with tears his promise still repeat,
He doth tell me plainly: Jesus lives
And forgives.
 
I bring my all to Jesus; he hath seen
How my soul desireth to be clean.
Nothing from his alter I withhold
When his cross of suffering I behold;
And the fire descending brings to me
Liberty.

It was not just the beautiful musical arrangement of the song I liked but also the words, particularly the second verse where it talks about us bringing our whole life before God because He loves us, and has promised to love us forever. And because of that we need to let Him help us make our lives worthwhile.

Here’s the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army singing this wonderful arrangement of I Bring Them To Jesus:

God doesn’t care about our past and the wrongs we may have done then, He cares about us now and more than that He cares about our future, so let Him be your everything, and bring your all before Him today.

At the start of this year, I shared with you my aims for this year (Welcome to 2012) – not my new year resolutions, but what I aim to achieve this year. Then at the end of each month this year, I’ve given you an update on how I’m doing. So here’s my latest update for October…

  • Eat healthier
    • An improvement this month on the last couple of months, as not only have I’ve done reasonably ok with this one when I’ve been working, but also done not too badly the rest of the time too!
    • Been drinking a lot of water at work, but haven’t managed to eat quite as much fruit in the last month.
    • For some of this month I was still going to the hospital to visit Dad, so had to have a few quick/ready meals for dinner as I was so tired by the time I got home from the hospital.
    • Fortunately Dad’s now out of hospital so for the last couple of weeks my eating has been much healthier at home!
  • Lose some weight
    • Small loss this month for the first time in a couple of months – it was only a pound, but at least I’m back to losing some weight again!
    • Hopefully now I don’t have hospital visiting to do every day, I can get back on track with my healthy eating both at work and at home.
  • Spend more time reading my bible
    • Yet more excuses this month I’m afraid!
    • I’m still  struggling to find the time and energy to sit down and spend any quality time reading my bible.
    • I’ve said this for the last few months, but maybe next month I’ll manage it!
  • Don’t let pain rule my life
    • My pain levels have continued to be quite high this month, but I’m still just trying to get on with things as best I can.
    • Again I feel as though I’m making excuses, but I’m simply just saying how things are because of 12 weeks of hospital visiting I was doing while Dad was in hospital, and although he’s now out of hospital it’s taking me a while to try to get some energy back, soit’s hardly surprising my pain levels have remained high.
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
    • Not managed this yet as there’s been too many more important things to deal with in my life in this last month again.
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
    • A repeat of last few months again as I managed to spend some quiet time with God, however still spending much of it crying.
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
    • Continuing to make no progress with this one!
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
    • Again, no progress on this one!
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
    • Still failing miserably at this one due to all the things going on in my life just now.
  • More patience and understanding of others
    • Still finding this incredibly difficult!
    • I keep telling myself I must not get impatient with others, but when it comes to it, I fail miserably…much more praying for patience is required!
  • Stop procrastinating
    • Still doing ok with this most of the time, but ye, I do still have my moments!

So that’s my honest answers to how I’m getting on with my aims for 2012 – To summarise my progress to date…it’s stalled a bit in the last few months, but overall, given recent circumstances, I’m reasonably happy with my progress even though I could do so much better!

There’s still plenty of months to go in 2012, so I’ve still got time to achieve them all before the end of this year!

How about you, are you succeeding with your aims for 2012 so far?

Whatever your aims for this year, I pray you may be making progress in your aims for 2012, and that come the end of the year you will have achieved all God had planned for you this year!

At the start of this year, I shared with you my aims for this year (Welcome to 2012) – not my new year resolutions, but what I aim to achieve this year. Then at the end of each month I’ve given you my monthly update on how I’m doing. So now it’s time for my May update:

  • Eat healthier
    • Not been the best of months between one thing and another…I was on holiday from work for just over a week and look Mum out for lunch, dinner or coffee every day…then I’ve been out for several meals with colleagues/friends from work due to some people taking on new roles or retiring.
  • Lose some weight
    • Not the best month as I have put back on a couple of pounds, mind you give all the eating out I’ve been doing, it’s not really any great surprise.
    • On the plus side, over the last month several people have commented that it was noticeable that I’ve lost weight, so that has to be a good sign!
    • because of the great warm weather we’ve had in the last week or so, I’ve been wearing my summer clothes again,and it was great to find they were no longer tight/too small for me, and were in fact, if anything, a little bit too big for me now!
  • Spend more time reading my bible
    • Been a slightly less successful month on this aim too this month.
  • Don’t let painrule my life
    • Still suffering a lot with pain these days, and sometimes it’s almost unbearable, but I’m still managing to force myself to keep going and not give into it, even though it maybe means my pain levels remain higher for longer
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
    • My target time for getting back to trying to play tennis again was Easter, and so for the last few weeks I’ve thought about going round to my tennis club if some of my friends were there…but none of them have been!
    • I know that just sounds like an excuse, but it is difficult to try and play tennis by yourself!
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
    • Been another reasonably successful month with this, as I’ve made a point of trying to spend a minimum of 10 minutes “quiet-time” with God most days
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
    • Continuing not to make any progress with this one!
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
    • Again, no progress on this one yet!
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
    • Been doing a bit more housework in the last couple of weeks, although there’s still loads of room for improvement, particularly in tackling the ironing mountain
  • More patience and understanding of others
    • I’ve said it before, but I must say it again, this is definitely one of my most challenging aims, as I definitely still need to be more patient!
    • More prayer for patience is still required!
  • Stop procrastinating
    • Continuing to do much better with this

So that’s my honest answers to how I’m getting on with my aims for 2012 – To summarise my progress to date…it’s continuing to go OK as, in general, I’m still heading in the right direction with most of my aims. However there are still some which I haven’t made any progress on to-date, so there’s still room for improvement in the coming months.

How about you, are you succeeding with your aims for 2012 so far?

Whatever your aims for this year, I pray you may be making progress in your aims for 2012, and that come the end of the year you will have achieved all God had planned for you this year!

When you’re learning to play a musical instrument of any kind, one of the first things you get taught after you first learn the notes, is scales!

I must be honest and say I always hated practicing scales on any of the instruments I’ve been taught to play…piano, clarinet and trombone. Therefore when one of my friends posted this YouTube video on Facebook I immediately Liked it and wished it had been as interesting as this when I was learning scales…enjoy….

Welcome to 2012! I hope it’s a guid’un for you and yours.

Personally I’m quite pleased to see the back of 2011, as it wasn’t the best year for me or my family.

So what about 2012, what am I hoping to achieve this year?

I say “what am I hoping to achieve this year” rather than what are my resolutions” because personally I think whenever we use the phrase “new year’s resolutions“, they are doomed to failure before we’ve even finished making them up!

As 2011 wasn’t the best year for me, some of my aims for this new year will hopefully help me to make this year a better one for me and my family. So here’s my list of aims for 2012, in no particular order:

  • Eat healthier
  • Lose some weight
  • Spend more time reading my bible
  • Don’t let pain rule my life
  • Get back to playing tennis as stopped playing in 2003 when I first wasn’t well
  • Put aside a minimum of 5 minutes each day to spend some quiet-time with God
  • Get back to playing the piano regularly as it’s been a while
  • Go on holiday – we’ve not been away anywhere since 2002
  • Keep on top of the housework (especially the ironing mountain!)
  • More patience and understanding of others
  • Stop procrastinating

Come the end od 2012, I wonder how many of these aims I’ll be able to say, “yes I’ve achieved this”, only the next 364 days will tell!

Whatever your aims for 2012, or your new year’s resolutions, I pray your year may be one in which you experience God’s love for you and your friends and family, whatever 2012 may hold for you.

Have a great 2012! God bless. 

Imagine a man who…

  • Graduated from university with a first class honours degree.
  • Worked for Rolls Royce.
  • Became a further education lecturer, teaching mathematics and science.
  • Served on his local council as a councillor for many years.
  • Played several musical instruments and was well known in the jazz and big band scene.
  • Composed and arranged music for bands/groups/ensembles/individuals.
  • Avid football fan.

Now imagine another man – This man…

  • Spends most of his time in bed.
  • When up, struggles to stay awake.
  • Is dizzy whenever he stands up.
  • Rarely goes out the house.
  • Doesn’t recognise people or places he knows well.
  • Struggles to remember what he’s been told just a few minutes earlier.
  • Has difficultly distinguishing between reality and fiction. i.e. He’s adamant about some things which we know are not real.
  • Has lost some of the ability to perform everyday tasks.
  • 

So who are these men I’ve described? Well both are the same man, and that man is my Dad!

The first man I described was my Dad prior to the onset of vascular dementia, while the second is a current description of him.

Dementia is one of those illnesses which I think unless you’re directly affected by it, will think it’s just a big word for someone who’s forgetful…if only!

Life has been drastically changed in the last year for both my Mum and my Dad, as my Dad’s dementia has quickly progressed to it’s current state. Mum now has help Dad with most things as well as explain the same things over and over again to him.

It’s sad to see someone you know and love deteriorating before your eyes, especially as there is nothing we can do to prevent it. However I think what makes it even harder for my Mum in particular, is the fact that my Dad was obviously a very clever guy, but this illness has now reduced him to someone who doesn’t even recognise family or friends anymore.

I find it hard when with Dad, so I can only imagine how Mum feels coping with him 24/7 – Mind you at least the doctor agreed a couple of weeks ago to try and get her some help, as personally I felt she was taking on too much as I can’t be there with her and Dad all the time.

Dad’s told Mum a number of times in the last few months that he’s not got long to go – Mum was understandably upset by this, as I was when she told me. However the doctor still tells us that other than his dementia, Dad is very well for his age, so maybe it’s just because Dad doesn’t really know what’s happening to him that he’s saying this.

Last Friday was the 25th March, and on Friday, Dad apparently asked Mum what date it was, and when she answered it was the 25th, Dad started wishing himself “Happy Birthday”…There was only one problem with this…Dad’s birthday is the 25th of April not the 25th of March! So very sad.

In closing I’d just like to ask you to pray for my Dad, and also for my Mum as she cares for him as dementia is more than just someone being a bit forgetful, it’s a debilatating illness that affects not only for the sufferer but also their family and friends.

In addition, please pray for all those around the world suffering from, or caring for someone with demenita, it’s a tough life, and one that everyone concerned needs our prayerful support for.

 

I think my love of music started at a very early age as both my Mum and Dad were always very musically minded.

My Dad is a big fan of jazz/big band music and as a keen musician has played in many bands over the years. He also spends a lot of time arranging/composing music for some of the bands/soloists he knows.

On the other hand, my Mum’s side of the family grew up attending the Salvation Army and as such were heavily involved in both the singing groups and the bands – My grandfather having been the leader of the first singing group (Songsters) at Rutherglen corps!


I remember when I was very young, climbing up on the piano stool beside my Dad while he “tried out” some of his arrangements/compositions – Apparently I was a “great help”!

As soon as I turned seven I started piano lessons and continued this for a number of years, going through the exams up to Grade 8. It wasn’t always easy but thankfully I stuck at it.

Although having been taken along to the Salvation Army at Rutherglen from a very early age, and giving my heart to Jesus at age seven, I never joined the junior band (Young People’s Band) until I was about 11 or 12 as my piano lessons were the same night as the learners class! Even when I did initially join it was to play percussion!!!

After a short while I was given a trombone, a short lesson on how to hold it, blow into it and the various slide positions for the notes and the rest is history as they say! That was my one and only trombone lesson (and yes I know that explains a lot!) – My Dad and one of my cousins both being trombone players, then became the source of the rest of my trombone training.


Between learning the piano and trombone, I also learned to play clarinet, although I did continue to play my clarinet for a number of years, I’m afraid it’s now been a while since I last played it.

After all this while I was still at Rutherglen Salvation Army, age 18, I became a uniform wearing Salvationist – during this time still in the Singing Company (junior choir) and  YP Band (junior band), but also joined the Songsters (senior choir) and Senior Band. Not long after becoming a Salvationist I became pianist for the Singing Company (junior choir), and then also for the Songsters (senior choir). A little later I took on the roll of Deputy Songster Leader and a little later again followed in my grandfather’s footsteps by taking on the roll of Songster Leader for about two and a half years. After a short break from the Songsters I took on roll of Songster pianist for the second time. I also following in my Dad’s footsteps, by composing several songs for the songsters and arranging music for several soloist.

In 2002 I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army where I’m a member of the Senior Band.

So there you go, that’s my musical background! Having had a grounding in music from an early age, I’ve also found music to be a very important part of my life and especially my Christian life. I’ve found over the years in so many situations that a piece of music or a song can say more to me than anything another person can say. Music seems to be able to touch my heart and emotions to a greater extent than anything else, so I do treasure the times when I get to just sit and listen to music.


So what’s my favourite music?

That’s very hard to say, because I often find it depends greatly on how I feel at the time I’m asked! I love a very wide variety of music and style, however it may not surprise you when I list several Christian or Salvation Army songs/pieces of music as my favourites:

Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love)
The Light of the World
Just As I Am

Milestone


I’ve used it before but here’s an video of Lord I come To You which I find inspiring and emotional from the start of the video: