The Greatest Showman (Easy and Big Note Piano)

As a quick follow-up to my last post, I’ve written some simplified arrangements of a few songs from “The Greatest Showman” that are available exclusively on Sheet Music Plus.

Big Note/5 Finger:

Easy Piano:

 

Greatest Showman Big Note 5 Finger Piano

Several of my piano students are “The Greatest Showman” fans, and so am I, so this has been a fun little project. I plan to add to the list this week, including some harder arrangements of the same songs. I’ll update this blog as more come available.

Other New Releases:

I also can’t remember when I last updated this blog on my new music, so here are a few other new releases of mine:

 

Enjoy!

 

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My first (sort of) Music Video, Plus Some Basement Photos

Hey! How’s everyone doing?

I’ve been MIA since March Book Madness. Sorry. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. I’ve been painting, mudding, taping, sanding, mudding some more, painting some more, and then touching everything up in an effort to finish our basement. We got carpet last Friday, so it’s finally done!

Our six year project is finished.

YAY!!!

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With the basement done and finished, I decided to finish another project I’ve wanted to do for many years: record my music. Sadly, I think the new carpet is what inspired me, because my living room has never looked so nice. Might as well document it before it gets trashed, right? :)

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Here are the first two videos

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My hymn arrangement of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” 

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The second is a short little etude I wrote a few years ago.

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I’ll keep posting as I have time to record.

As part of this little experiment, I’m offering my music FREE for a limited time. Just email me and let me know what you’d like. There’s only one song I can’t offer for free (For There’s A Savior Born), but all the others are up for grabs, so drop me a note here.

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Okay. Here are the pics:

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A fun way to decorate the kids’ toy room – Each kid picked a color and painted their hand prints on the wall. They kids loved doing it, and I’m sure the room will be a favorite as they outgrow their own hand prints.

 

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We only painted two of the walls in the toy room because we didn’t want it to be too busy.
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To paint the flowers, we started with the oldest kid and had them do the outside ring. After it dried, we did the ring next, slowly moving to the center. It turned out great!
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My teen son told me he wanted navy blue and neon green stripes for his room. I was skeptical, but it turned out awesome. One wall has the stripes, then one is blue, one is green, and the last is white. I’m so glad I gave into his crazy idea. :)
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This family room looks boring after the other pictures, but this is what most of the basement looks like. I’m so thrilled. You should have seen it before…
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New carpet. Yay!!!


Josh Wright Concert, Classical Pianist

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I wasn’t planning to post today, but I had to drop a quick note about the concert/fireside I went to last night by Josh Wright, classical pianist.

Wow.

I’ve been blessed to know many talented people in my life. I’ve known people who can create things out of nothing and turn the seemingly boring into a masterpiece. They’re crazy talented. And then…

There’s the next level up.

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I’ve been drawn to music since I was little

My mom is a composer and hymn arranger, as well as a piano teacher. My dad is a huge classical music fan and knows the classics better than most. Since the time I was born — in the womb even — I was exposed to all that music.

I started playing the piano before I can remember. I formally started lessons at five. I can play most songs. I sight-read fairly well. I love playing classical music best. I’ve taught piano for twenty years now. I write music, both religious and classical-style piano. I have perfect pitch and so does my husband. I feel somewhat confident in my musical abilities.

Until I go to a concert like that.

Wow.

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In an hour’s time, Josh Wright played — and this is just a guess — twenty million notes

At least it seemed like it.

He was all over that piano, but he played effortlessly. I’ve been to other classical piano concerts and was almost tensed up because I could feel their strain to get it right. But Josh’s music was peaceful and soothing. My favorites were his arrangements that combined classical songs with other familiar songs, like the hymns.

I appreciate Josh’s abilities so much more because I’ve attempted to play a few of the classical pieces he played. I get about three measures in before I’m whipped.

Kind of like when you watch the Olympic figure skaters, and you think to yourself, “Man, I haven’t been skating in a while. I should go.” And then you take that first step on the ice. That’s when you appreciate the magnitude of their talent.

Take this song…

I can play the first few measures. You know, all the easy octaves. :) But after that it’s over my head, or fingers, or whatever.

Crazy Liszt.

My kids loved the concert, too. (Hopefully I won’t have to beg them to practice this week.) My daughter nailed it when she said he plays with so much expression, but he doesn’t overplay. Their favorite song was the Water Song by Ravel.

Now we’re all jazzed and ready to up our musical abilities.

We’re ready to walk out onto that ice.

What’s even better is Josh is a super nice guy. Same with his wife, Lindsey, who is also a classical pianist and treated us with some beautiful Chopin. Both of them were down-to-earth and humble. Josh didn’t shy away from the spiritual either and spent some time talking about his LDS mission.

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Get the CD

So, although I hadn’t planned a post today, I had to tell you to get Josh Wright’s CD if you don’t have it already. It’s beautiful. It hit #1 on Billboards Classical Music chart in just two weeks. His music takes classical music and adds the religious to it, my two favorite genres. I’ll be listening to it all day as I write my novel and work on my seminary lesson.

Good stuff!

(Also, you can pre-order his next CD, My Favorite Things. You can buy his sheet music, too, if you’re feeling daring. I know I am. Check it all out here. Or find his website here.)

Thank you, Josh, for sharing your talent!!!

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Speaking of super-talented people, come back tomorrow for more MARCH BOOK MADNESS, with Whitney-Award nominee, A. L. Sowards.

See you then!

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PS) You know that little notice in the front of books about how all characters are fictional and any likeness to real people is just a crazy coincidence. Yeah. I wrote Sadie a LONG time ago. Don’t think I’m creepy. Apparently people named Josh just really love to play classical music. :)

A Lifetime of Music (and more pictures)

(reminiscing)

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Quick note:

Sadie is 50% off for Deseret Book’s Summer Sale. It’s also back in the top ten. Yahoo!

Buy one for yourself, a daughter, or a friend. Just get it before the sale ends. Details here.

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Music

After last weekend’s trip to Utah, my family sent me home with a bunch of pictures from my childhood. It’s been fun reminiscing, but my poor kids are struggling with the fact that I was once as young and dorky as they are – well, maybe they believe the dorky part, but not so much the young part. :)

A common thread I noticed in the pictures was music, music, and more music. It’s been such a huge part of my life. Since most of my music is on Musicaneo’s website, I wrote a post over there called A Lifetime of Music.”

You can read it at the link here.

To get you excited, here’s a small sampling of the pictures. Sorry in advance about the hair.

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Starting Young

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So go check out my post on musicaneo and let me know what you think.

Have a great one!

Video Blog: Prelude in C# minor by Rachmaninoff

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Hey everyone. How’s your April going? Mine has been fantastic! This past weekend I played a piano solo at a baptism, organ for a funeral, directed two choir numbers for our Easter service, and played more piano for a children’s class. It was a musical weekend for me which is always a good thing. It’s funny because people who know me as an author are surprised to find out how much I love music. But people who have known me my whole life know me as the crazy music lady and are shocked to find out I love writing now as well.

Because I was in a musical mood, when I had a free hour Saturday, instead of jumping on the computer, I headed to the piano and started jamming out (if classical music can be considered jamming). One of my favorite ‘jam’ songs is Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C# minor. I love this song so much that when my main character in SADIE needed a ‘jam’ song, this had to be the one.

The background is that Sadie is at a New Year’s Eve party she’s not particularly happy about, and she wanders the halls for a few minutes to take a break. As she does, she hears this song being played by her friend, Josh, on a black baby grand he found in a darkened dining hall. I did my best to describe this powerful and moving prelude, and a few readers have asked me what it sounds like in real life. Plus, that scene happens to be one of my favorites in the book. So…

I decided to try something different today. I took a big leap and made a video blog. Yeah, scary. Since this is a new thing for me and I’m kind of nervous about it (as shown in my excessive blinking) there is no making fun of it, no poking fun at my non-concert-pianist playing abilities, or my sad attempt at humor. That’s the rules. If you’re willing to abide by those rules, you can check out my first video blog. Ever.

Tomorrow I’m participating in the 3rd Annual LDS Writer Blogfest. See you then!

(Any other classical music nerds out there? Which songs/composers do you love? Any Rachmaninoff fans?)

It’s All Relative

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I had planned on doing a different post today. It’s mostly written, but it still needs some work. And I wasn’t in the mood to work. I’m in the mood to play. Because…

It’s 39° in Michigan.

It’s January 6th.

It’s not supposed to be 39° in Michigan on January 6th.

It’s supposed to be 9°. On a warm day. If the sun’s out. If we’re lucky. But it’s 39° and the skiff of snow from earlier this week (see my pretty picture here) has melted.

So what do Michiganders do when it’s 39° and there’s no snow on the ground? We go to the park. Because in Michigan, it could be 39° in June. It’s all relative.

If we were Floridians, we’d pull our jackets out at 70°, put our coats on at 60° and crank up the heat. And when it rarely hits 50°, we’d pull out the whole works–gloves, mittens, thermal underwear, handwarmers. But 39° in Florida? Forget it. Whole towns shut down. People run to the grocery store and stock up on food and water. (This might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.)

But I don’t live in Florida. I live in Michigan.

My daughter without a coat. Notice the frozen pond in the background.

So I’m sitting on an old wooden bench, watching my three youngest swing, slide, and bask in the rare winter sun. It’s awesome! They only have half days on Friday anyway and so it took very little cajoling on their part to get me to agree. I simply looked at the temperature, the lack of snow, the bright sun and thought, “Why not?”

Because 39° is all relative.

As I look around this park, I see that half the kids aren’t wearing coats. At least four are in short-sleeved shirts–including my own son (see PPS below). I think the temperature has risen a few more degrees since I’ve started hand-writing this post, but still. Mid-40s is hardly short-sleeve shirt weather. Yet I love it. They love it. We’re all in heaven!

But as I’m sitting here, this question just hit me:

When moments come into my life that are the metaphorical equivalent of 39°, do I treat them like a Michigander or a *Floridian? Do I say, “Man, my life stinks. I hate this. Why can’t it just be warmer for once? Easier for once? Perfect for once?”

Or…

Do I possibly say, “Oh well. It’s all relative. Today is a beautiful day and from my experience–and those of others–I know it can be a lot worse. In fact, I can guarantee it’s going to get worse before it gets better, so I should enjoy the moment for what it is.”

I wish I acted more Michigander than *Floridian at least half the time. I’m not sure that I do. But I think we all know someone like that. You know the type. They could be in the hospital, out of a job, destitute and starving, and they still smile and say that life is good. I want to be one of those people. I want to learn that kind of happiness because really, things can always be worse. A lot worse.

So…I have a good life. A great life! Any problems I might have are small because it’s all relative.

And now that I’m done typing this post, it’s up to a whopping 47° which means it’s time to take the kids out for a bike ride.

Enjoy the nice weather!


PS–What about you? Are you a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person? Are you more Michigander in your outlook on life or *Floridian?

PPS (or is it PSS?)–I realize this post is ironic considering what I wrote about earlier this week (if you missed it, read it here). But really, that earlier post just proves my point. It’s WAY too cold in Michigan. I was freezing my tail off in those stupid shorts. Global warming hurry up! (Oh geez, no hate mail please. I was just kidding.)

PPPS (or PSSS–except that looks ridiculous)–I’m taking the weekend off from posting, so I’ll be back here Monday when I’ll be talking about the top 10 things I’ve learned as a writer. Until then, enjoy the nice weather!



*DISCLAIMER: The party writing this post has nothing against the people from Florida. Well, maybe she does, but it’s just because she envies their weather. It’s nothing personal. Plus, she just really loves the word “Floridian.” It’s very fun to say. And type.