Practice for Passion with Musings from Music Masters – RM Chaffee @gifts_music #NewRelease #Music

I am so happy to turn my blog over to an amazing woman and artist, Becky Chaffee. Her book is different and a valuable tool with profound insight for a budding or a seasoned musician.

Welcome, Becky.

Thank you, Jan. I appreciate your hospitality.

There are so Many Reasons to Play a Musical Instrument.

It’s not only fun to play an instrument, but for both young and old, it’s healthy! To inspire you to practice, I created a fun, witty book with practice stories and tips from great musicians, Passion For Practice With Musings From Music Masters.

Playing an instrument uses more of your brain than any other art and more than playing a sport according to Ted Talk, “How Playing A Musical Instrument Benefits Your Brain”, by Dr. Anita Collins. It creates fresh neuron connections in your brain. Talking about connections, playing is a very social activity which is also healthy and fun! I joined a music club, but you can also join a community band or orchestra or play duets to make new friends.

If you learned an instrument in grade school, take some lessons again from a teacher if you need help getting started again. The better you are, the more fun you’ll have. The regular practicing can be rough, but “Passion For Practice…” helps you to practice smarter, making it more of a fun challenge than rote practicing.

I have listened to about 20 years of music lessons from fine teachers (between my kids and myself) on violin, piano, flute, and guitar in both classical and jazz genres. The lessons expressed practice concepts in so many different ways that I thought it would be fun to express these lessons in paintings.

On the back cover of the book are testimonials from Ransom Wilson, Yale Flute Professor, and Steven Greenman, International Klezmer Violinist:

“A delightful and valuable resource for musicians of all ages and abilities, Passion for Practice offers instructive strategies for practicing effectively. Chaffee’s book promotes a positive message that resonates with the reader while encouraging patience, self-discipline, creative problem-solving, and self-reliance. Her wonderful illustrations add a vibrant display of color and imagery to reinforce each lesson. A clever use of wordplay presents analogies to solutions for musical and technical issues…augmented with insightful comments, stories, and advice from professional musicians and educators… an entertaining, supportive, and informative approach to learning music.”

— Steven Greenman, Violinist-Educator-Composer, Internationally Renowned Klezmer Violinist

“Ms. Chaffee’s creative book reminds people who grew up learning music that they can successfully pick up their instrument again. Whether playing by yourself or in a group, you have to practice to be proficient enough to enjoy playing. If you practice smarter, you will set yourself up for a fun challenge and have a rewarding experience. This book offers ideas for improving your practice sessions. Amazing practice tips and stories from very accomplished musicians included in the book will remind you of others out there practicing too and give you an understanding of what some of them went through to get to their playing level.”

–Ransom Wilson, Professor of Flute, Yale School of Music

You might also enjoy Have Fun With Your Music by Becky Chaffee, a book to encourage young musicians to make practicing their own.

PURCHASE LINK – PASSION FOR PRACTICE With Musings from Music Masters

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Becky Chaffee grew up in a musical household and raised two musical children. She has degrees in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and Cornell University. She enjoys playing flute for her music club. Through her music gifts company, MusicTeacherGifts.com, Becky raises funds for music education and has distributed $1,000s to youth. Much of the artwork in her books is presented on note cards, prints, and Tee shirts that sell in music stores and symphony gift shops such as the Brevard Music Center, Nashville, and San Francisco Symphony Gift Shops, SW Strings…

Follow Becky:

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Welcome to #RRBC’s February “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour for #RRBCAuthor @kirazian! #RRBC_Org @Tweets4RWISA @RRBC_RWISA #RRBCSA #RWISA

I am thrilled to host the February RRBC Spotlight Author today, Lisa Kirazian!

AN ODE TO RRBC

It’s an honor to write this guest post — and to be RRBC’s Spotlight Author for February!

My membership in RRBC began when I published Bravura six years ago, so I feel its journey and my own are forever connected. I am in no way a great member, like so many of you are. But I am proud to be a member and participate as much as I can. Along the way many of you have inspired me too.

The model of an international, online book club is pretty unusual — I do not know of any other like it. I know of casual book clubs online, sure. But none with the array of memberships benefits (and requirements), submission opportunities, conferences, workshops and radio shows like RRBC has! Whew!

Now with the COVID-inspired demand for Zoom meetings and online performances/readings from authors, theaters, and musicians alike, the RRBC model seems even more ahead of its time. We as members of RRBC have been fortunate to already have been doing all the online gatherings that people around the world had to get used to this past year, many for the first time.

For those not familiar with RRBC, there are many ways to get involved: reading others’ work, reviewing others work, supporting other writers on social media, being inspired by the accomplishments of others, participating in the workshops and conferences, listening to the radio shows. There are also many ways membership is extremely helpful too: getting your work read, reviewed, marketed; pursuing educational growth; being eligible for award and contest opportunities; getting published in anthologies; and drum roll, improving as a writer!

More than anything, I’ve realized that RRBC’s requirement to review others’ work is essential. We are often self-absorbed as writers — but getting out of ourselves long enough to immerse ourselves in the writing worlds of others only helps us as writers — and people. It helps us see how other writers deal with the same challenges we face, and how their approach differs from ours. It also reminds us we are not alone! Although I am sometimes late in posting my reviews because of my life’s craziness, the desire to engage with others through their work has grown since being with RRBC, and I am very grateful for that and have learned much from the experience.

To borrow from JFK: Ask not what RRBC can do for you — ask what you can do for RRBC. Why? Because when you give, you receive and grow and are encouraged so, so, so much more!

If you aren’t a member of RRBC, I encourage you to consider it today. For more on RRBC, click here: https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/

Thank you, RRBC, Nonnie and the entire team, for all the ways you have encouraged me — and especially for this honor to be the Spotlight Author this month!

Onward!

—-

Author Bio

Lisa Kirazian writes fiction, plays, screenplays, and also directs for stage and screen. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Performing Arts Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune and many other publications. She is in demand as a speaker and has been a guest on KPBS Public Radio and at various conferences. Lisa is a graduate of Stanford University.

Several of her screenplays have placed in major competitions and festivals. Twelve of her stage plays have been produced across the U.S. and have won numerous awards, including a few publications. She also directed and wrote the adapted screenplay of the short film, “Reflection Day.”

Her novels include BRAVURA, APPASSIONATO, and now CADENZA, the three books of “The Music We Made” series, following three generations in the Driscoll family of musicians and inspired by her experience as a violinist. The series is also being developed for television.

Lisa lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters and is involved in the Armenian community locally, nationally and abroad.

Book Summary:

In CADENZA, the final book of “The Music We Made” series, the young tenor Brian Martin finds himself on the cusp of superstardom and marriage, until he is compelled to leave behind his distinguished musical family, and his fiancé, in London, to visit the U.S. to see where his famous late grandmother, Maggie Crawford, the only other opera singer in the family, grew up. His journey takes him to Marshall, Minnesota, and Maggie’s hometown high school, where he meets the music teacher, Laura Jones, who helps him with his family history in more ways than he could have imagined.

Twitter: @kirazian and @TheMusicWeMade

Facebook: TheMusicWeMade

Website: https://www.lisakirazian.com

Blog: https://lisakirazian.wordpress.com/
Instagram: @lisakirazian

Cadenza on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08QDLVSKL/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_0RSS8DZMN3R1SYCXG1TQ

Flowers And Stone – Book Review

I want to offer a HUGE “Thank You” to Rox Burkey for this incredibly poignant review of “Flowers and Stone!”

Honestly, I have known this author for a long time. I’ve listened to her play guitar, heard the sadness when she shared some details of her life and love of Rick Sikes, and cheered loudly at her achievements and awards. I had only read a few of her poems and a short story, until she suggested I consider Flowers and Stone.  

After book one of this first series, I am truly hooked on her writing. In this debut novel, Jan Sikes creates the scenes in a way that makes you feel you are a part of the story. I could hear the music, see characters with their smiles and tears, and more than once had to dry my eyes as emotions coursed through me at different places in this story.

This complex love story centers around Luke Stone and Darlina Flowers, an unlikely couple at first glance. Luke, an experienced musician and older man, and Darlina a young inexperienced woman, learn many lessons from each other. I like how Luke, smitten early on for this special girl, goes to extraordinary lengths to find out if he should be serious. Ms. Sikes details the steps leading up to this meeting, though this meeting touched a chord of sweetness in my heart and kept me until the end of this book.

“             The bell rang, announcing someone’s arrival.  She half turned. “May I…” She paused in mid-question, shocked to see Luke standing there with the trademark crooked grin on his face. “…Help you?” she finished.

               “That is exactly what I’ve been asking myself,” Luke replied.

               “What are you doing here?”

               “I came to see if you were for real or a figment of my imagination.”

               “For real?”

               Luke’s smile widened, “Yes, for real. You see, I thought maybe I just made you up so had to come and see.”

               Darlina didn’t reply, and Luke quickly continued, I brought you a little something.”

               She stood and walked to the open window that separated her and Luke. “Okay, what did you bring me and more importantly, why? After all, you barely know me.”

               She wondered what kind of strings might be attached to any gift from Luke Stone.

               Luke fished the small box out of his pocked and handed it to her. Their hands briefly touched, and an electrical current passed between them. She looked up at Luke, then down at the box.

               “Open it,” Luke encouraged.

               Darlina gasped as she opened the box to find the delicate gold heart necklace. “Oh, Luke, how beautiful. I’m not sure what to say.”

               “Well, you could say thank you, and you could say that you’ll have dinner with me, just me, and you could say that you’ll give a chance to redeem myself.”

From this point forward I was drawn into the story as these people travel down the road of growing up, growing together, and realizing their differences are key to their magic. In many ways he is a rogue and she is naïve, but in the 70s the music and freedom was what they both wanted and needed. Its easy to recommend this love story to college age and above. There is more to the story and thankfully more books in the series.

About the author

Author Jan Sikes

Multi-Award-Winning author, Jan Sikes, has been called a wordsmith by her peers. Jan openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author, but she had a story to tell.  Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation.

She published four biographical fiction books about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love. True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

Jan also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has published a book of poetry and art and nine short stories.

Author Jan Sikes is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, and the Executive Council at Rave Writers’ Int’l Society of Authors. She is also a member of the Writer’s League of Texas and Authors Marketing Guild.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com
Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks
Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com    

I want to invite you to visit Rox Burkey’s blog site and if it interests you, please follow her! She is an avid book reviewer!

Stories From the Road #1

Road_Sunset

I’m beginning a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.

I hope you enjoy this series, but before we get to the “road” stories, I want to go back a little farther to the beginning.

Rick Sikes got his first guitar when he was twelve years old. He recalls, “My uncle gave me an old Montgomery Ward guitar. The thing was an F-hole guitar and the strings on it were old and rusty. They were more like saw blades than guitar strings when you would run your fingers down them. The neck was warped, but I like that guitar a lot. Some of the strings were two strings tied together. They’d break where you could get up above the nut and tie them back enough to get them wrapped around the key. I loved plunking on that old guitar and trying to sing. I did a lot of it. I was so bad and getting a little braver and louder and finally, my dad asked me if I wouldn’t like to take the guitar down to the barn to the feed room where it was dry. I could go down there and get some practice and sing loud. In other words, he’d had about enough of that damn racket in the house and it was time to take it elsewhere. So, my first real audience was cows.”

Rick Sikes Junior High

(Just an interesting side note. Rick’s family moved to Odessa for a short time and during these years, 1948-1949, Rick attended school with Roy Orbison.)

Now on to the first stage appearance:

“Sometime in the late Forties, at the Coleman City Park, they had a Pavillion where guys would gather to sing and play music on Saturday nights. I would go and listen a lot. Some of the older musicians kept after me to get up and sing with them. So, I finally did. I’ll never forget the first song I sang. All those people were looking at me as I was singing “Your Cheating Heart.” I sang it through. The old guys in the band knew I was scared because my knees were knocking together. They wouldn’t stop and the band played on through the bridge and told me to sing another verse, and another and another. They wouldn’t let me quit. I just kept singing. I came home and stayed awake most of that night because I was a nervous wreck. Then I got to thinking…’Well, if I’m ever going to sing, I’m going to have to get up there and do it. I can’t put it off any longer and I can’t be afraid.’ It took me a few days of kicking it around trying to decide whether I ever wanted to get back up there again. I made up my mind it was what I wanted to do. I copped an attitude that the worse they could do is kill me and they probably wouldn’t want to eat me. So, I got back up there for many, many years afterward. I don’t recall a time during the first minute or two when I walked out on a stage that I didn’t have what I can only call an adrenaline rush. It was a moment of tension until after I got into the first song. By the time I was half through that first song, I was okay…I had it. Five minutes into the gig, I had the audience exactly like I wanted them. They didn’t have me, I had them zeroed in…”

 

Rick and Bobby 1956_1
Rick Sikes on the left and Bobby Sikes on the right – 1956

I hope you’ll come back each week as I share some of the “Stories from the Road” with Rick Sikes and the Rhythm Rebels!

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