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!!!

  • (Pictures at the bottom)

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!!!


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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. :)

Free Christmas Music!

(giving)

It’s that time of year again.

You know, the time that stores start selling Christmas stuff before we can get our Halloween decorations out of the basement. Drives us crazy, right? I can barely keep up with one upcoming holiday, let alone three.

But…today I’m going to be a hypocrite.

I’m a piano teacher. And a choir director. In both instances, Christmas has to start early. I give my piano students their Christmas songs around the middle of October, and my choir usually starts Christmas stuff the end of September (I say usually because this year we’re WAY behind schedule, but that’s another story). Starting this early is the only way to have perfection–or close to it–by Christmas.

Forgive me if you’re an anti-Christmas-music-in-October kinda person. Maybe you’ll forgive me if I give you something for free.

Here’s the deal. I’ve written a bunch of songs, and I’ve arranged even more than that. Several are for sale on the internet. And several happen to be Christmas-y. :)

So…

For a limited time, I’m offering my music for free. Yep. FREE!

Some is choral. Some vocal solo. Some piano. I’m even giving away my non-Christmas stuff because…well…why not?

This FREE deal will last until the end of October.

That’s October 31st. 

Halloween.

You know. The holiday we’re not ready for? 

So what exactly am I offering?

You can peruse all my available music in depth here, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll list what’s available below. Click on the song title to go to the page with audio samples, a peek inside, and a place to buy the song. Only don’t buy the song! If you do, you missed the point of this post. Instead of buying it, send me an email (listed below) to let me know what you want.

Christmas:

>  Silent Night — SATB  and Vocal Solo​
>  Noel: a Christmas Medley – SATB and Piano Solo
>  For There’s a Savior Born —  SATB.  (This is the only one I’m unable to offer for free. Sorry. It’s on Jackmanmusic.com. But…it’s also my best-seller (and one of Jackman’s bestsellers, too), so if you or a choir you know might be interested, still check it out. )

  

Religious:

>  How Great Thou Art — Vocal Solo (Low, High)  (This is my second highest selling song)
>  A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief — Piano Solo
>  Abide With Me: ’tis Eventide — Piano Solo
>  Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning — Organ/Piano Duet
 

Classical-style Piano:

>  Sonata in A minor — Piano
       I – Allegro
       II – Adagio
       III – Moderato
>  Fugue in C minor — Piano
>  Etude in Eb minor — Piano
>  Prelude in G major — Piano

RECAP: If you want any of these songs for FREE, just email me: rebeccabelliston @ gmail (dot) com.

I’ll email the songs right out to you in .pdf form. In most cases, I can transpose them to another key if needed. Just remember to email me by Halloween.

If you know anyone who might want some free music, please share this post!

Awesome!

You guys are the best. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!–oh wait. Not yet.

Happy Halloween!

Shoot. Almost.

You know what? Just have a great day!!! :)

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Comment here

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!

Cool Book for a Hot Day

(reading)

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Looking for a good book to help you cool down on a hot summer day?

Wish that book could transport you to the beautiful, cold, Montana Mountains? I know just the one. ;)

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I don’t know about where you are, but it is HOT in Michigan right now. Hot and humid. Yikes. And today was the day my kids decided to host their own version of the Olympics in our backyard. Super cute, but crazy hot. I missed the last little bit when I couldn’t take it anymore.

One of the fun comments I’ve received about Sadie is that it makes people cold when they read it. One lady even said she had to grab a blanket to finish the end of it. I loved that it felt so real.

So…

If you’re as hot as I am, and you’re looking for a fun summer read, check out Sadie.

Here’s the book trailer.

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Feeling cooled down yet?

Here’s the synopsis:

Sadie Dawson thinks she has the perfect life until one misunderstanding leads to a brutal event that changes everything. Terrified, she flees her boyfriend’s wrath, two FBI agents, and her perfect life. Lost in a Montana snowstorm and desperate for refuge, she’s rescued by four quirky guys on their annual holiday ski vacation.

As her physical wounds heal, Sadie wonders if she will ever be able to escape the clutches of her wealthy and determined boyfriend. While her heart tells her there is more to a perfect life than diamond necklaces and elegant dinner parties, she doesn’t know who to trust.

And just when her heart settles, she finds herself abandoned by the one person who swore to protect her for a religion she doesn’t understand. Will she have the courage to follow her heart and find the life that is perfect for her?

READ the first two chapters here.

BUY the paperback or ebook any of these places:

And if you’ve read Sadie and missed our earlier online ‘book club’, check it out here.

You can ask me questions about the book, the writing process, editing, if there is a God, or whatever. Ask away:)

Have a great one!

My Arrangement of How Great Thou Art

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My arrangement of “How Great Thou Art is now available. Yes!!!

Sheet Music Available For:

Also available at: Sheet Music Plus | Musicaneo

Accompaniment Tracks: Vocal Solo (High, Med, Low) | Vocal Duet | Instrumental

MP3 (Piano Solo): Download | Youtube | Spotify Amazon Music | Apple Music | iTunes | More

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High Version sung by Jen Petersen:

 

The Story:

I’ve arranged several hymns for people before, but this one has a cool story. With my fiction writing obsession, my music has taken a back seat lately. Which is fine. I love music and writing, and I’ll do whichever I’m in the mood for, because if I force either one, it never turns out great.

Cool thing #1

About a month ago, I was in a musical mood and sat down at my piano and started goofing around. Before I knew it, I was plunking out a piano arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.” Not sure why that hymn since it’s never been on my top-ten favorites list, but okay. I grabbed my manuscript paper and scribbled (literally) all over it. My musical handwriting is worse than my regular handwriting, which is scary enough. But the music was coming faster than I could write. I haven’t written a song that fast in a LONG time.

Low Version sung by Erica Soelberg:

Cool thing #2 came a week later

A man in my ward was asked to sing a solo at the Detroit Mission Home Fireside. He approached me to see if I would accompany him. I said yes and asked him what he wanted to sing.

He said, “I’d love to sing How Great Thou Art, but I don’t want to sing it straight out of the hymnbook. I want to do some kind of an arrangement. Do you know of any?”

Now, at times like this my personality begs me to clam up and say nothing. I HATE my personality. But I went for bold, jumped uncharacteristically out of my comfort zone.

“Actually . . . I’m working on an arrangement right now. It’s mostly finished but it’s for a piano solo. But, it wouldn’t be too hard to switch it over to a vocal solo. What do you think?”

He was nice enough to trust me, so we gave it a try. Not sure how he got through that first rehearsal. I was scribbling and scratching things out as he sang. But he put up with me. He even tolerated the funky timing I added.

Cool thing #3

The song went great at the fireside — Thank you, Scott! I even had someone I don’t know ask for the arrangement afterward, which is the nicest compliment anyone can give. When I told her it was my arrangement she wasn’t completely shocked — another compliment. However, I only had one copy, and it had more scribbles on it. I handed it over anyway, hoping I would remember my last minutes tweaks. I rushed home, made the changes, and had the thought — I should publish it. Might as well, right? It was finished and a whole two people liked it. I’ve had less motivation before. :)

Then came the hard part. Most hymns are so old the copyrights have expired. You can arrange to your heart’s desire and not worry about anything. “How Great Thou Art” is not one of them. In fact, you can’t even copy it out of the hymnbook without permission. That’s okay. I’ve been working with publishers and copyrights for eight years now, so I decided to take the plunge.

Cool thing #4

I did some research, wrote about 10 emails, and now it’s approved for publication. Yay! So that’s the long story for my short announcement. My arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” is available.

Funny how life works.