Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slowing Down and a Light Touch = Making Beautiful Music

Last night I had my first Mandolin lesson and I have to say that Jon Knudson is a great teacher.  I'm so lucky to have such a talented, generous and gifted friend.  We went through strumming patterns, string names, scales, chords and bluegrass style. One of the things that I thought about on the way home was the fact that music is a great metaphor for my life...maybe yours too?

When I was growing up, I took piano lessons from the time I was in the third grade until my junior year of high school.  I can remember my dad asking me if the word, "crap," was written into the music because, while practicing, it would jump out of my mouth every time I made a mistake.  Most of the time I made those mistakes because I was in a hurry.

Last night, I learned how to make a percussive sound on the strings without playing any tones.  (I always wanted to know how to do that!)  I realized that by pushing down harder on the strings, I was actually working against my goal and I would get an awful sounding chord.  But if I lightly touched the strings and strummed, I would get that snare-like, percussive sound I was going for.

Both of these lessons ironically apply to my life.  Because of all that I am trying to accomplish with finishing my masters, getting the building renovated, starting the non-profit and still having time for my family and friends, I find myself pushing and forcing, in order to fit it all in.  I understand the importance of working with people and getting to know them is mandatory.  I want to know the character of those that I will bring into my project. I also know that I can accomplish more for the people I want to serve if I work with other organizations, so it's imperative that I start to form those relationships now. It's all for the good of people, but I'm also realizing that if I don't take care of myself, I won't have anything to give.  And if I don't slow down, what I have to give won't be of much quality anyway.

This applies to school, work and even to those that I love.  It's easy to get caught up in pushing and pushing to make things happen, but people don't want to be pushed.  I know I don't.  So it's back to finding the balance between making things happen and letting people do their thing.  And I feel that if I slow down and if I have a light touch with others, it will make all the difference.  Thanks, music, for being such a great teacher.

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