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Here are some quick updates on things I am working on musically right now.
New instructional DVDs
I am planning on recording at least 25 hours of instructional videos in April and they should start to become available by the end of June. Here are topics that will be covered:
Theory for church pianists (5 hours): All the basics of theory that pianists need to know to understand the rest of the things I will be teaching
Hymn playing/Congregational accompaniment (4 hours): How to play the traditional style of congregational accompaniment that is still used in most traditional churches.
Playing by ear (2 hours): Anyone can learn to play by ear. I will walk through a system that makes it pretty easy.
Transposing (1 hour)
Reharmonization (4 hours): I will go through chord substitutions but will also cover in detail how to come up with completely different harmony for an entire song. We will also discuss how to extend triads to 7th chords and 7th chords to more complicated chords.
Playing lead sheets (1 hour)
Modulations (2 hours)
Arranging (3 hours)
Mood music (1 hour): How to play quietly
Accompanying (1 hour)
Performance (1 hour)
I am working on a guest teacher as well who will be able to teach some other interesting things.
These courses will all be available to purchase separately or as one complete system.
My goal is to record a Christmas CD in July and have it available at the end of September. It will contain both sacred and secular selections. It will be mostly piano with some single instrument accompaniment (woodwinds mostly). I have been having a lot of fun working on it.
I am also hoping to launch SundayMusician.com this year, which will be a resource for church musicians to learn, share, and connect. I have the design done but am not going to launch it until I have the time to do it right. That may not be until after I record my CD.
For those of you that ask how I juggle all of these things with family and running a business, I would have to say that I am not sure I do a great job of that. If I had a choice, I would probably back off on some of my projects so I could focus more. But at present, I have having a hard time figuring out what I can scale back on.
In general though, on a typical day, I work on music about 3 hours, work on my business about six hours, and focus on family about 3 hours. I sleep 8 hours/night and the rest of my day goes to time with my wife, personal study and such things. I wish I had more time to give to everything.
I am different from many men in that I do not really even pretend to be a handyman. I do not have many tools and have no interest in the ones I have. If something needs fixing, I hire someone. I think this approach saves me a lot of time, especially on weekends. Some (including my wife) do not really understand my perspective on this, but I am so busy with other things that I really don’t think I have a choice.
Like anyone else who is getting older, I am ever conscious of the value of time. I tend to value it more than money. You will not find me driving a few extra miles to save a nickel a gallon on gas. In fact, I will not even go to a gas station on the left side of the road to save a few pennies if it means I will have to wait for traffic.
There are pros and cons to this of course. My wife thinks it is a sickness and she may be right. But valuing time over money does tend to make me more productive. I am thankful though that my wife attempts to keep me balanced in this area.