Dee's Blog
Thu 12/27/2007
Music for the New Year
Topic: music
Thanks to my precious virtual assistant Renae and my good friends Dave and Bette Rod, music--lots of music--is now available in several places on my site. Including at the top of In addition to the Rally Song, you’ll find much more on Bette’s CD if you check out the links from the Rally Song.

You may want to purchase Bette’s CD. It has been a huge blessing to me in my work and personal life, as well as to many I know.

For the next few days, as I take a break, may I suggest that you take one of Bette's songs each day as you prepare for a new year.

I'll catch you again on January 3.  May you continue to have meaningful holidays.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thu 12/13/2007 2:39 PM CST
Thu 10/11/2007
Learning to Appreciate the Discords
Topic: music

Each of us IS a silent music-maker. The music is made in our hearts. We determine how we want to make the music sound, though. Notice, it’s not the events and people who have impacted our lives that decide. Oh, the music can have minor chords--that’s for sure! Most complicated music does.

Minor chords may represent things we don't like in ourselves.  Or things we don't like in the world.  Either or both.  Perhaps some of the things we think aren't acceptable in ourselves are things we need to learn to actually appreciate.  Boundaries are often one of those things.  The more we learn to set boundaries with people or institutions that have been viewed as having a major right to control our lives, the more we are likely to appreciate the minor chords.  OR those that used to sound unpleasant. 

Some of the notes we hear will not sound just right for the circumstances we are experiencing. Nor for the beliefs that we have about life or various issues. They will clash with how we believe things “should” sound. In music, we call that a “purposeful discord.” Students of music actually have to let the ear mature to allow some discordant sounds to be incorporated into musical rightness.

The music-maker chooses to include the unpleasant sound in the music so that people can hear it and notice how it stands out against the tones that are otherwise beautiful.  Chooses to include it, rather than keep it out of the music.  That sometimes freaks out some of my inexperienced students the first few times they encounter a purposeful discord.  They are just sure that they've made a mistake.  Or perhaps that the writer or publisher of the music did.

Ironically, without noticing the discord, we aren’t able to even realize when we’ve found beautiful music. It’s the same in life. Sometimes by experiencing the most bizarre--though it would have been preferable not to have had that experience--we find that we are awakened and able to see things that we might never have noticed without that experience.

What are the sounds or feelings you want to experience more? How is your life arranged when you feel or hear the more “beautiful chords?” What (notice, I didn’t say “who”) is keeping you from hearing the major chords in your life, the ones that resonate with a beauty that works for you?

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 10/10/2007 8:26 AM CDT
Wed 10/10/2007
Inspiration from Spiritual Song
Topic: music

Some of you were robbed of the joy of many hymns you once treasured. These may not work for you anymore--either because of the triggers or because you no longer have a belief system that embraces the words of some hymns.

It’s important to find new songs that inspire you.

One such song, for me, is “The Summons” by John Bell. It has a soothing Scottish melody. Yet it’s the words, filled with tons of questions, that challenge me.

Today I leave you with one of the questions. We’ll pick up on this question next time. Will you love the “you” you hide? That’s what it asks. This one question raises many other little questions. Sleep on it please.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 10/10/2007 8:20 AM CDT
Tue 10/09/2007
A Song of Your Own
Topic: music

It takes much creativity to make music that is rich and unique. As an optimist, I am convinced that each of my students can work out ways to do that, though. They do it literally whenever they compose a song of their own. That’s something that seems to be hard for many who want to have all the rules in place, to find all the directions written out. They resist improvising.

As I explained yesterday, people who are just reading somebody else’s music are playing music, but not really making music. Same is true for those who choose to live by others’ standards without fine-tuning the choices in order to create something unique.

Some of the most inspirational students I have are those that have faced tremendous personal heartaches and losses that I cannot even imagine. It is music that keeps them going.

One is a teenage girl who has lost both her mother and grandmother to cancer in the last two years. She is being raised by an elderly and sickly grandfather.

Another is an 88-year-old who was forced to quit lessons earlier this year when he could no longer even sit in his wheel chair at the piano that sits at the head of his bed, in a nursing home. Yet he still makes music in his head. It shines from his eyes as he speaks, with delight, of the past joys in spite of much suffering and loss. He even lived and fought through World War II, has outlived all of his siblings and survived cancer twice, as well as open-heart surgery.

Like these survivors, I believe that you readers, whether survivors, family members, advocates, or professionals who are struggling to come to grips with new realities--all of you can creatively find ways to cope and grow. To bloom where you are planted. Your souls may feel dead, but they are NOT dead. Hold on to that fact.



Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Mon 10/08/2007
Making Music
Topic: music

Each of us is a silent music-maker. Not long ago, I found a large, purple plaque, in a thrift store, with just those words.   

That was my philosophy, even as a little girl. Perhaps intuitively. It still is, though there have been many times when I would have scoffed at that idea. So I bought the most affordable masterpiece and hung it beside the front door of this apartment, where I write and teach piano.

It’s a door where visitors often enter. Mostly students and their families, but often survivors and advocates, as well as members of my own family. I want them, young and old, to notice these words. To be reminded that they are responsible for making music, no matter what life brings to them. Just as I am.

Today, as you go about your routine, listen to the music that is playing in your heart. Listen closely. Even if it doesn’t sound like music at first.  Embrace it as a work of art, a work still in progress.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:22 AM CDT
Updated: Tue 10/09/2007 7:27 AM CDT

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