Turmoil in Minor Mode

[Note: as a music major, I am kind of using the lingo.  However, I think that you’ll understand this post even if you don’t know the jargon.]

Sometimes I feel dissonance.  Real bad.  I feel like something is wrong, but I can’t identify it!  The dissonance gets worse.  The minor chord turns into a seventh.  The half diminished turns into a fully diminished chord.  I stop.  I throw my hands up and cry out to my Jesus.  Even if he can’t resolve it fully, he will change the key or at least insert a chord that has more consonance to it.  But my problem is that I keep playing around with the minor keys.  “It’s my fault this isn’t going as it should!” [dissonance]  “I’m not doing enough for the Lord!” [dissonance]  “I have failed you, Jesus; I can’t do it!”  [dissonance]

Here comes my Savior with the major chords.  Ephesians 2:8-9,  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” [consonance]  Colossians 1:22, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”  [consonance] 1 Corinthians 10:13, “ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” [consonance]


This week, I have been learning to fight lies with scripture.  I mean, I knew this, but I didn’t KNOW this.  It’s a really tough battle to fight, and I feel almost like the losing team is trying to go out with a bang so I won’t forget.  All week, the lies have been constantly in my head, but I try to capture each thought and get rid of it.  I replace the lies in my head with the truth of scripture.  I knew this would work, but I didn’t KNOW it.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  God is strong and mighty, his words are powerful and effective!  This I have been learning this week, and it has been simply amazing to see Christ’s hand so at work in my life.  My eyes have also been opened to the work God is doing on my campus.  This morning in class, one of my profs mentioned he’s so disorganized because of a family emergency concerning his father’s health.  One of the girls in my class asked if she could pray with him.  So she did, right there, before class even started.  It’s the little things that God’s doing.  It’s even the random conversations about church, it’s the random realizations of truth throughout the day.  God is just awesome.  I may be listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack as a background to writing this post right now, but God’s music is surrounding me even when my ears aren’t perceiving.

Smiling among the major V-I chords, Anna 🙂

Have you ever tried combating lies with scripture?  Tell me about it!

A Fascination: Music

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of sound.  For giving mankind the creativity and the ear for music, so beautiful!  ‘Cuz it is.  Anyone who’s talked to me ever knows of my…obsession.  Sound, in general fascinates me.  It’s so thrilling!  It makes me smile lots. Music goes deeper than words.  It creates feeling.  It is an art; it has its own language; it has its own math and architecture.  That alone fascinates me.

I am the type of person who will start singing for no rhyme or reason.  Or hearing a line of somebody’s will remind me of a song that I’ll have to start singing, at least in my head.  I continually have what appears to be a playlist in my head and I can shuffle from song to song.  Sometimes, I have a song stuck in my head I don’t want there, but I’ll find a new one and start singing it.  I was getting sleepy in a car driving from Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis, MN, so I sang at the top of my lungs for two hours.  I sang with whatever melody was in my head, though I kept trying to change it.  I guess I’m just weird like that.

When studying the works of great composers, from Beethoven and JS Bach to Holst and Grainger, I stand in awe.  They know what to do with melodies and include every bit of manipulation of them, making the piece sound amazing.  I have tried my hand at it, sure, but I’m not very good at writing like they do (can ANYONE write like they do?  It’s hard!).  And then I think about The Great Composer and how much more He can do with something as simple as a melody.  (THAT makes me smile!)  But, it’s fun to twist a melody around, play it backwards and upside down!  =)  That’s where all the music math and its own language come out.  I’m still learning the language of music, and how to speak it, but like I said, I’m learning.

I love listening to pieces with no words; the feelings inspired by them are simply awesome.  It is super fun to write or do other work while listening to Holst’s The Planets, because it’s like epic background music.  Sometimes, what I’m writing corresponds with the music perfectly.  But then it won’t totally make sense without the music.  I’ve tried to do homework to a non-words playlist of music I like, so I won’t be tempted to sing along.  However, that does not work, as I just want to sit and listen instead.

When I go to a movie, I notice…the music.  Among other things, of course.  The friend who went to go and see the movie with me and I will be talking about the movie, and all of a sudden, I’ll be like, “Did you hear the music in that scene?  It added so much!” usually followed by blank stares, unfortunately.  Once, I did see a movie with a fellow music major and we spent the remainder of the day discussing how perfect the music was for it.  Next time you see the Avengers, for instance, listen to the music during the final battle scene in Manhattan.  (It’s epic.)

In all my unashamed music nerdness with some of my friends who are like me in that way, we found this:

You Know You’re a Music Major When…

… you begin conducting with a piece of uncooked spaghetti.

… the number of credits you’ve earned is higher than the number you get when you add up the ages of everyone in your immediate family — and you’re still not close to graduating!

… the fire alarm in your dorm goes off and you pass the time spent waiting outside trying to figure out what pitch it was — and as soon as you get back in your room you use a keyboard to check and see if you were right.

… you find yourself conducting in public places.

… people in your dorm refer to you as “that guy/girl who’s always running out of here dressed entirely in black.”

… you spend more time in the Music Department than you do in your dorm/apartment.

… you can describe two differences between opera and oratorio, using the word “whereas.”

… it’s 9:30 p.m. and you’re still in class.

… you can play more instruments than the average person can name.

… you and your friends spend several minutes banging on a restaurant table, trying to conduct three against four.

… you have extended discussions analyzing the effectiveness of the music in Disney’s animated features, as well as instrumentation and trends from one movie to the next.

… you try to figure out what song is printed on the cute music napkins, mugs, sweatshirts, etc. you see in stores.

… you consider 15 credits in one semester “taking a break.”

… watched a movie just to listen to the music.

… you see some musicians more then your friends.

We found more, too.  It’s great, cuz it’s super true.  I didn’t include all of them, of course, just the ones that apply to me.  I got them from here.

Anyway, this has turned out to be a longer post than I thought.  I could go on and on about how great music is, but if you haven’t understood some of the things in this post, I understand that me going on wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense, either.

“Thank you, Lord, for music.  For privileging us with sound and communication beyond what we can understand.  It’s so cool!”


Anna =)^2

Excited(!) About Jesus!

If someone who I have never watched a movie with before, watches a movie with me, they may notice a few things.  I squeal, and scream a little inside sometimes, which makes noise, too.  I have a tendency to make comments throughout movies.  Also, I laugh at instances that may not seem all that funny to the other viewer of said movie.  Some people have said that I’m funny, but I think that inside, some people eventually find it annoying (cuz this happens a lot).  Only my sister has bothered to tell me so, but I still try to contain my…excitement?  Adrenaline?  Whatever it is.  This gets worse when I’m watching a movie I’ve never seen before, but even with a movie I have…I get real anticipatory of a scene coming up and might start laughing at it before it’s even on the screen.  I also get this way when I’m reading; however, nobody knows what’s going on, so I guess it’s a little weird.

I get that excited about non-fiction, real life stuff, too.  It just doesn’t happen as often.  Sometimes I’ll be on the 4-Wheeler chasing or being chased by the ranger in the yard, sometimes it’s when I’m on the jet ski or even when I’m simply planning an adventure.  I don’t always get that excited about fiction when I’m writing it, but when the idea comes to my head, yes, I’m laughing out loud.  (If you’ve been getting the sense from reading this so far that I’m a little bit different, I probably am.)  But, another thing that can get me this excited is JESUS.  And on Sunday, when we went to an African American church in Milwaukee, I found people who I could relate to in this over-excited, showing it in a that’s-different kind of way.  They didn’t even try to sustain their squeals of excitement—they let those squeals become shouts.  Nobody cared when comments were made throughout the service (they all were doing so)!  Have you ever seen the movie “Rack, Shack, and Benny”?  It’s a Veggietales movie.  Well, at the very end, they’re all singin a song and praising Jesus called “Stand Up.”  (Unfortunately, there weren’t any good quality versions of that song on YouTube, or you’d be watching it now.)  A scene is shown of the outside of the building, jamming out to the music.  Well, that’s how this church would look if it were shown from the outside in an animated movie.  There was dancin and there was shouting; there was clapping and there was stompin.  It was great.  And nobody was getting annoyed at the dancers and the shouters, the clappers and the stompers, because it’s NORMALCY.  I could feel the floors shaking, for there were people stomping their feet in front of me and behind me.  All this to the of the four-part gospel voices as they led the room in singing, “I give you ALL THE GLORY!”  God is so awesome!

*A side note from a music nerd: I love gospel harmonies.   The worship was AWESOME.  They keyboardist was in charge, directing cues to the singers even as he was playing.  He was  just awesome, playing the “twinklies” during the times that the pastor and other people went to the front to speak, etc.  There was a drumset playing at the same time as a percussion setup across the room consisting of bongos and congas, wind chimes, and a cymbal.  There was also a trumpet playing, and the instruments alone were quite epic.  Then you add ten very strong voices, and WHOA!  It was great!  I loved it!  I loved listening to it and singing along with the third line of the thick, thick chords.  The voices by themselves were epic.  Have you ever heard one of them sing by themselves?  What voices!  Alright.  And now, back to the blog you clicked on to read.*

I absolutely loved the enthusiasm.  It was getting me excited about Jesus, too!  I truly want to get that excited about Jesus all the time!  And why should we not all be this excited about Jesus all the time?

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20

Jesus is all and does all good.  He is God, who loves and has compassion for every person.  He grants us mercy and gives us the gift of grace.  And, on top of all of this, he longs to have a personal and intimate relationship with each and every one of us.  If, on a scale from 1-10, you were to rate how much God desires a personal relationship with you?  It’d be a 10!  What would you rate your desire to know this being in a personal way?  Do you know him already?  Then let’s get excited!

Smiling with extra excitement,Anna =)^2

A Music Nerd (me) at Christmas and Bananagrams

I’m a music nerd.  It’s okay; I know it (and am proud of it)!  Usually for Christmas and my birthday, I ask for some high-tech or simply awesome something for my playing (instrumental playing, not messing around playing….much).  Last year for Christmas, I got a Dr. Beat metronome.  And it’s really fun to mess around with.  To see how fast the voice can say, “one-two-three-four” or the different tones that ding or click at you.  And you have NO IDEA how much it has helped me with my practice!  It can sub-divide into eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and triplets!

But THIS year (insert chuckle), oh boy!  SO EXCITED.  I got a xylophone book, a marimba book, two shakers, and three small frame drums!!!  AND I NOW HAVE PRINT MUSIC ON MY COMPUTER!  I totally don’t mean to brag or anything, but my music nerd-ness is quite content and happy to be messing around with stuff and playing with it for the next while.

Oh, and I was using music terms while playing Bananagrams with Christina and Dad last night, I used terms like “MIDI” (a keyboard that hooks up to computer and does technical stuff); “semiquaver” (an eighth note…I only had one ‘m’ so I couldn’t make it any smaller), and “zither” (a Chinese keyboard instrument).  Christina asked why she couldn’t just use Spanish, but I told her, these words are English.  We told Viktoria last year she had to use English while playing, so it’s fair.  Oh, and Dad didn’t know what “oboe” was.  It’s a double reed instrument, in case any of you were also wondering.  So if you have a lot of vowels and a ‘b,’ there ya go.  The funniest part of Bananagrams last night was that dad had mom spell out the word “philanthropist,” and he was determined to spell out that word.  So he spelled it out, leaving blanks where letters he didn’t have went.  He eventually did spell it.  =)

Anyway, our Christmases are just beginning.  This afternoon, the Hansons will be here, and we’ll celebrate Christmas with them tomorrow.  On Wednesday, I’m leaving for TCX!  So excited.  But on Thursday, the Bredlow side will get here and they’ll leave the day and day after I get home (Sunday).  =)

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope your Christmas break is fun and family-filled as ours!  (And, if you are playing Bananagrams with some people and you want to use unique music terms to throw ‘em off, just let me know.  I got cha back.)

Anna =)^2