Archive | January 2014

Schedules, Lessons and Rehearsals, Oh My!

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My spirits have been great this week and my increased productivity has made me feel more content with myself. The process of getting into a daily routine will lead to some wonderful results if I continue to work on it. I started to plan out my days the night before and I may not get every single thing on the schedule done, but it does give me a framework of what needs to be done each day. The schedule has given me the incentive to start my day earlier so that I can accomplish more tasks.

I had a huge milestone last Friday by getting up at 6 am. I have tried within the last couple of months to get up at that time, but it was really a huge struggle. This week I have gotten up around 6 am and read my bible. I fell asleep reading it a few times, so I realized that sitting in a chair is necessary when reading the bible to stay awake. However, I was not successful at exercising regularly this week and it is another work in progress for me. Making a change is not easy and making several of them simultaneously takes time and patience to make those changes permanent and consistent.

I created a beautiful brochure that fits the Beautiful Melodies business and looks professional. The brochures are going to be given to schools, churches, wedding planners and wedding venues in the Mid-South. I contacted all of the Memphis Independent schools in the area and let them know that I was starting a business for voice lessons and asked them if they would be interested in offering my vocal program at their afterschool enrichment programs or during their summer camps. Most of the schools told me to e-mail and drop off my resume and more information about my business. I have e-mailed some of the schools and I attached my resume, my brochure and a reference letter written by a St. Georges parent. I plan to stop by some of the schools this week as well. I wanted to stop by the schools earlier this week, but I worked at St. Georges from 10 am to 4:30 pm the last couple of days to teach the children the music for the play during their recess and afterschool. I love working with the children for the play because it is fun and I work more hours which is always wonderful.

Furthermore, I have two voice students now and I am really excited about this, but it is still a learning process for me as well. I have taken voice for four years and I have a degree in music, but teaching voice is a different ballgame. The Voice Lessons for Little Singers book has helped so much because it focuses on ear training, technique and it has little songs for students to learn how to sing intervals. Sometimes I use simple techniques that my voice teacher taught me in voice lessons as well, like hula hooping. It is funny, but pretending to hula hoop actually does make you sing better. It engages muscles in your core that you might not feel if you are standing still and I do notice a difference in their sound when they do it, so it works. I try to make lessons fun and stay energized because they are children and I want it to be fun for them.

Recently, I began doing some research on voice lessons and I have read that there is some controversy about teaching children private voice.  I think some voice teachers are controversial because they try to teach children opera or bel canto technique and that is not my intention at all. I did not learn to sing classically until I was eighteen and my big voice didn’t come until I was in my late teens. I wouldn’t encourage children to sing opera. Children have a naturally beautiful voice most of the time, so I just want to enhance the gift they already have by teaching them how to sing correctly, how to read music and how to be confident as a performer. I had a lesson today with one of my students for the first time since December and I was in awe of how much she has improved. She sounded beautiful and I was very proud of her.

Children’s choirs are great for children to learn about singing, but with some students like my first voice student, I think sometimes they need individual attention for singing. She is very shy and I think individual attention will help her confidence so much more than only being in a group setting when singing. In group settings, introverts tend to get overlooked most of the time because they do not talk as much as others and this happens in the real world, not just in elementary school. It is not a great feeling to feel ignored or overlooked and I know this based on my personal experience. However, I know people do not try to do it on purpose and it is just a natural tendency in society to pay more attention to extroverts. Sometimes it feels like the world thinks everyone should be extroverted and people do not always know how to interact with quiet or reserved people. As I have gotten older, I understand this more and want to do a better job of reaching out to introverted people.

It may seem that a quiet person does not seem to care if you talk to them, but it might mean the world to them, even if they don’t show it in the way you think most people would show it. According to my voice student’s mother, her daughter really loves lessons, is singing more at home, showed more presence at her Christmas choir performance, and talks about me all the time. It surprised me because she is really shy and I didn’t think I was making an impact on her because I only had two voice lessons with her. However, people have misread my facial expressions and body language many times so you just never know what quiet students are really thinking. Introverts are some of the most interesting people and probably the most misunderstood by others at times, but I will save that topic for another post. I am glad my student is enjoying lessons and it will be beautiful to watch her grow throughout this process. Have a blessed day and I hope you enjoyed reading!

 

Balancing It All

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My goal is to blog once a week and I missed last week and I apologize. I have not been feeling my best lately and this took me back to my college days when I had too much going on and how it affected me mentally. I am very ambitious and I want to accomplish so many goals. But I am going to have to take time to take care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally while pursing my goals and dreams. I keep trying to make healthy habits a priority, but get caught up in life and put them on the back burner.

For my spiritual development, I have been trying to read the bible daily. I did read the New Testament all the way through from August until October of last year thanks to Connect Church. This was a big stride for me, but since November, I have not been reading the Bible enough and it really does need to be a number one priority in my life. The goal is to wake up every day and read it because if I do not do it first thing in the morning, I will not do it all and I know this for a fact. I know reading the Bible will make everything else better and further my relationship with the Lord. My church attendance has been pretty consistent within the last couple of years and I realize that this does feed you spiritually weekly, but reading the bible everyday feds you spiritually daily. Also, I would like to journal more consistently. I have so many thoughts and sometimes my thoughts can really consume me, so getting it down on paper would help relieve some stress on my brain as well.

For my physical development, I have been trying to exercise with Jillian Michaels daily for months. I was introduced to her videos by Crystin Gilmore and both Jillian and Crystin are in great shape and take exercise pretty seriously. When I do exercise with Jillian, I get a great workout and I have the stamina to get through it. It is just one of those things that can be easy to skip every day. Ideally, I want to get up, read the bible, pray, exercise and start my day. If I could make this a consistent habit, it would influence my life in many ways.

For as long as I can remember, my biggest issue in getting things accomplished has been my thoughts. My thoughts can really take me to another place sometimes and it can be hard to come back to my tasks. It makes it hard to concentrate and be as productive as I could be. When I do read the Bible some mornings, it takes me longer than I anticipate because I have so many thoughts and questions. But then I realize what time it is and I have to get my day started so I skip the exercise. I do not turn on my television in my room anymore to stay focused, but I get distracted by thoughts. This used to happen when I would study for school. It would take me hours to complete assignments because I would get so distracted with my thoughts. It’s tricky because I have always taken on heavy loads and gotten things done, but it can put a strain on me because of how long it takes me to get all those tasks done. For most of high school and college, I didn’t socialize as much because I wanted to get all of my work done and I knew it would take me longer than most people. In some ways I have had to isolate myself in order to complete everything at my optimum level and this is not always a positive thing. I am not anti-social, but I think people assumed I loved school more than people because I spent so much time studying. In reality, I spent so much time studying because I needed to get my work done and I wanted to make honor roll and dean’s list, so if I had to spend hours upon hours working on assignments because of my concentration problems, that is what I would do.

Currently, I am in rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar at Theatre Memphis, teaching music for Aristocats Kids, working at aftercare, and preparing lessons for my voice students at St. Georges Independent School, working my coffee business and marketing Beautiful Melodies to the community. I also auditioned for two musicals and was cast in Once on this Island at Hatiloo Theatre, the opening show for next season at their new location.

For Beautiful Melodies, my goal is to make at least 20 calls a day to churches, wedding venues, wedding planners and schools to market my services. Furthermore, I am creating an 8 week vocal program where I would be giving voice lessons to students for seven weeks and the students would sing a solo at a recital on the eighth week of the program. I would love to get this program up and running at multiple schools for their summer camps and fall and spring after-school enrichment programs.

I have quite a bit on my plate and I have to plan out my days every night so that I do not get overwhelmed. I want to get all of these things done in a timely and organized manner, but sometimes it is a challenge. I do get things done, but not as much as I would like to sometimes and this can be disappointing. Now I know there are several people who take on many tasks and get it all done and still have free time, so I know it is possible to take on the world and survive. But after getting distressed last week, one of my friends reminded me that for some people it isn’t as easy to take on too much because it can have unhealthy consequences for that individual. My overall health must be a priority so I can be here to enjoy the fruits of my labor for years to come. I want to support myself financially doing what I love and helping people in the process. However, I have to be in one piece mentally, physically, and emotionally to make an impact and serve others effectively.

Have a healthy and productive day everyone!

Key to Success in Starting a Business

“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.”

Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur & Motivational Speaker (1930-2009)

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I realized recently with the help of Jim Rohn that in order for things to change, I have to change. Working on personal development is the most important step when starting a new business. It takes self-discipline, courage, persistence, time management, belief in yourself, and a willingness to succeed no matter what the cost to get a business off the ground. Since these traits do not always come naturally to most people including myself, time must be invested in helping yourself develop the skills necessary to become better. You have to develop yourself mentally, physically and spiritually to be your best. This includes reading books and listening to audio recordings by successful people consistently, making time for spiritual growth, limiting your time with negative people and surrounding yourself with positive people. Most importantly you have to be open to change and be teachable. I am starting this blog to chronicle my journey of starting my own businesses to help other people see that there are many opportunities in this world, but sometimes you have to create them.  Have a Blessed Day!