Wednesday, December 29, 2010


One of my absolute favorite tunes to play on my penny whistle is the Kingsfold tune. There have been many songs written to this tune including many beautiful hymns. I was just shown another hymn set to this tune by my mom. You can click on the link below to read the lyrics and listen to the song. The words are truly incredible!

I Once Was Ignorant of Grace

To read a short informative history on the tune go the below link.

Kingsfold is also the tune to one of my favorite Christmas carols, "O Sing A Song Of Bethlehem." This song tells the story of Jesus' life here on earth. I love singing it and playing it on the piano and the penny whistle. In November I was able to play it with a few other friends and my brother for the prelude at our church. It sounded even more beautiful when played with other instruments. It was also my first time playing my penny whistle in front of anyone other than my family, so it was a very neat experience.

"O Sing A Song Of Bethlehem"
By: Louis F. Benson
O sing a song of Bethlehem, of shepherds watching there,
And of the news that came to them from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today;
Of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth the angels sing alway.

O sing a song of Nazareth, of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers’ breath, and of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth in every heart may grow;
Now spreads the fame of His dear name on all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee, of lake and woods and hill,
Of Him who walked upon the sea and bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee, dark seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Master’s Word, falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary, its glory and dismay,
Of Him who hung upon the tree, and took our sins away.
For He who died on Calvary is risen from the grave,
And Christ, our Lord, by Heaven adored, is mighty now to save.

In Christ and For His Kingdom,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Julius Rontgen

Born: May 9, 1855
Leipzig, Germany
Died: September 13, 1932
Utrecht, Holland
Famous For: Composer and Pianist

Julius Rontgen was born on May 9, 1855, to Engelbert Rontgen and Pauline Klengel, in Leipzig, Germany. His father, a violinist, was Dutch, and his mother, a pianist, was German. From a very young age, Rontgen was good at composing and was taught by some of the best teachers. When he was fourteen years old, he was able to play some of his music for the famous composer, Franz Liszt. When he was twenty-two, Rontgen moved to Amsterdam, where he took a job as a piano teacher. He was an excellent pianist and became very close friends with Johannes Brahms, another famous composer of the time. Rontgen was able to play some of Brahms’ works for him during a concert in Holland. Julius Rontgen composed many songs in a wide variety of styles. He did much composing with old folk songs. Rontgen became well known and was a film composer. His love for folk songs shows through in many of his compositions. On his seventy-fifth birthday, he was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburg.
Rontgen died on September 13, 1932, having lived a life full of music. It is said that, “His vast body of work (around 650 compositions) encompasses symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs, choruses and operas.” (Oron)
If it were not for Rontgen, Brahms, perhaps, may not have been as well known as he is and there would be a great many movies that would not have music. Rontgen lived a full and productive life and even in his old age he still continued to compose.

Adrian Boult - A Great Conductor

Adrian Boult was born on April 8, 1889, to Cedric and Katharine Boult in Chester, England. Throughout his schoolboy days, he often went to concerts of the great musicians of his time. These concerts would have a great impact on him as he was able to watch some of the greatest conductors in the world, at that time, lead their orchestras in music. Boult went to Christ Church college at Oxford where he was an undergraduate in history and then in music.

After Christ Church, he went on to study music at the Leipzig Conservatory. The conductors there were greatly observed by Boult. He learned many things from these men which he would be able to apply to his own conducting. He became a professional conductor in 1914, and made his debut with a few members of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He began conducting for some of the major British orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra. He helped many composers of the time by conducting their works for them. I did not realize what a large impact the conductor has on the orchestra.

Boult quickly became a leading conductor and was very popular amongst the orchestras. He became the director of music at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and remained there for several years. These years were some of the greatest for the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately, during WWII the orchestra lost forty players to active service or for other reasons. Boult stepped down so that the composer Arthur Bliss could take the position. He was quickly offered a job by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which he accepted. Boult loved music and he loved conducting. He was not picky about the composers that he conducted music for. During his time working for the LPO, he traveled to many different countries on tour and made several recordings. In 1959, he stepped down from his position and became LPO’s president and was a guest conductor until he retired. Stepping Down gave him more freedom to record and conduct when and where he wanted to. He died at the age of 93, on February 22, 1983.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

I have been listening to Christmas music practically all day and have still not heard a Christmas song like this one. Way too many of today's Christmas Carols have completely lost the true meaning of Christmas. Thankfully, there are a few that have not.

Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning

I prefer the tune by J. S. Bach. I guess I'm just partial. :-)

In Christ and For HIs Kingdom,

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

My family just got done learning about The Netherlands in school last month. We learned about several famous poeple from The Netherlands, so I thought that I would share what I learned about the ones that are known for their music.

Today's Dutch Person Is.....

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Try saying that one without practicing.) :-)

Born: May 1562,
Deventer, Holland
Died: October 16, 1621
Amsterdam, Holland
Famous For: Composer of the Geneva Psalter, Organist and Composer

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck was born in May of 1562, to Peter Swybbertszdon and Elske Sweeling. His father was a well-known organist and it was he who taught Sweelinck. The other main teacher of Sweelinck was Jacob Buyck, the pastor of Oude Kurk. Buyck taught Sweelinck until he left the church because of conflicts with the Calvinists. Sometime around 1577 Sweelinck became the organ player for the Oude Kurk church. He was an amazing organist and was excellent at improvisation. Sweelinck, for the most part stayed in Amsterdam. He occasionally left to go inspect other organs in nearby cities, but for the most part he just stayed in the city. Sweelinck was the best, most advanced organist before Johann Sebastian Bach. Not only did he compose beautiful organ music, he also did many works for the voice.
Sweelinck was the man who took music from the Renaissance era, into the Baroque era. His music for the organ and for voice was complex, but beautiful in sound and in style. Most likely, Johann Sebastian Bach was greatly influenced by Sweelinck’s music and compositions.
Sweelinck’s life may not seem very exciting because, for the most part, he did not leave Amsterdam. Compared to many famous composers, he lived a very dull life, but quite often, it is the dull life that God quietly uses for great things. Just think, if it wasn’t for Sweelinck, J. S. Bach would not have been the composer he was, and we would not have had such beautiful music for the Geneva Psalter. (Oron)

Works Cited
Oron, Aryeh. "Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (Composer)." Bach Cantatas February 2006.

More soon to come...

In Christ and For His Kingdom,

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Favorite Thanksgiving Song

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
By: Henry Alford

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Songs in the Night -- C. H. Spurgeon

This is one of the most amazing sermons I have ver read! My mom has always liked Charles Spurgeon's writings, so she read this sermon to us for school. All I can say is "WOW!" This is a must read. It goes right along with "Whatsoever Things Are True: Worship."

Songs in the Night -- C. H. Spurgeon

Lord willing, I will be able to post part three sometime soon. Sorry for the delay.

In Christ,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

For Christ's Kingdom!: Music

Here is a great article on music as a whole. It has some great insight.

For Christ's Kingdom!: Music

By the way, I am working on Part 2 of "Whatsoever Things Are True." It should be ready very soon.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright- The Music Loving Architect

In school we have been learning about architecture and different houses. Today we learned about the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. I knew that he was an architect that built interesting houses, but beyond that I didn't know a whole lot about him. I certainly didn't know what a huge impact music had on him and so I got very excited as I kept hearing references to music as we learned about his architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright's father was a very talented musician who struggled to make enough money to provide for his family. (Common occurrence with great musicians of old.) He was so good that he started a music school in Madison, Wisconsin. The school didn't last long, but the impression that music made on Frank would last for a lifetime.
"When Frank designed a prairie house, he remembered the music his father had taught him. The structure in a musical composition is like the structure of a house. When he thought of a house he thought about music. He saw that harmony and the combinations of several melodies in music were the same as the harmony and combinations of colors and building materials used to make a house. He used the dramatic changes that loud and soft sounds and rhythm made in music to make the spaces in his house more interesting." (Thomsen 33)
Frank Lloyd Wright saw the beauty and heard the sounds and music of nature. He worked to make his houses blend and not disturb nature if possible. His architecture of his houses like "Falling Water" depict this well.

Frank and his wife Catherine had six children, so he made sure to include large playrooms in the houses he designed. In the playroom of his own house he wanted there to be a grand piano but didn't want it to take up the play area. So instead of moving the piano to a different room he cut a piano sized hole in the playroom wall. The keyboard side of the piano was in the playroom and the rest of the piano hung out over an open staircase! Talk about efficiency!
Not only did Frank love music, but he instilled that love into his children as well. "On some evenings the family orchestra practiced there [playroom]: Lloyd the cello; John played the violin; Catherine sang; David played the flute; Francis played the piano; and baby Llewellyn played the mandolin." (Thomsen 28)

I thought it was so neat to learn all of these things just from the book "Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids" by Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen. Let's just say that I am much more excited now to read my biography book assignment on Frank Lloyd Wright now. :-) It never ceases to amaze me how God can use music. I would have NEVER guessed that music helped a man like Frank Lloyd Wright. So, with great excitement I must stop writing to go and begin reading that biography and perhaps learn some even more interesting things about him.

In Christ,

Thorne-Thomsen, Kathleen. Frank Lloyd Wright for Kids. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1994. Print

Friday, October 1, 2010

Great Bach Quote

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
Johann Sebastian Bach

The Blessings of Teaching

"A good teacher is like a candle- it consumes itself to light the way for others." Anonymous

This is a quote that my mom shared with me last night. You see, I teach piano lessons. I have for several years now, and often I find myself wondering how it is, that God should choose me to be a teacher. I started teaching my younger sister when I was 11 years old and as the years have gone by God has allowed more and more students to come into my life. Just last night I started teaching two more kids. After their lessons were over I sat reflecting on the day, wondering why it is that God would bless me with the ability to teach and give me the joy of investing into others lives. I can't imagine what it would be like not teaching piano to all the girls and boys that I do. I mean, I love it so much that I greatly dread the day when I won't be able to do it anymore. As I look around and see the different paths that God has others follow I often wonder how God, in His sovereign power, decided that I would be the one He wants to teach these children. I remember times that I thought that I couldn't handle it anymore or that it was to hard, but God brought me through those hard times. Yes, there are days that I feel like that consumed candle, but God is good and He always brings in another candle to light the way for me.

There is just nothing like the joy of seeing a light bulb go on or seeing the beaming smile of a student who just played "The worst song in the whole world" perfectly. These are the joys of a teacher. If I didn't follow God's will for my life, then I would miss out on all of these simple joys that come with teaching.

So, there are days that seem like they will never end and there are nights where you feel like that burnt out candle; but if we are willing to obey God's will then when we "go out" He will send another candle to relight our flame.

Just as a side note, remember to tell your teachers how much you love their teaching. It is the hugest blessing to be told that you just made learning fun!

Earth - The Score

Today for school we watched an amazing movie called "Earth." It was put out by Disneynature. We found out that Answers in Genesis actually said that Disney got it right for once, so we decided to watch it. It was incredible! From scene to scene the movie had us nearly crying for the little gazelle to laughing hysterically at a dancing rainforest bird. The fact is, it was the music that made the movie. I didn't even notice it that much until my sister started screaming as a little gazelle was being chased by a wolf. At that moment I really began to notice how much the music impacted the movie. There was another scene that had a tropical bird doing his little dance trying to get a girl. When the music started, I thought I was beholding a bird doing a cha-cha! I laughed and laughed. Needless to say, the girl was unimpressed but I sure was. :-) Of course the scenes that held laughter were not to be outdone by the scenes that depict the hard life of other animals. One of the scenes depicts the hard journey that African elephants must make in order to reach water. The background music had mostly strings with a main violin playing such a sad song that your heart ached for the little elephants that were lost in the sand storm or that could no longer stand from thirst. Okay, I know that I sound like an environmentalist, "Save the Earth" type of person right now, but really I'm not. I just have a tendency to be easily affected by music and this movie was filled with it. Of course, for every sad or horrific moment there was an equally funny one, like penguins tottering around with excitement, to chimpanzees trying to maneuver through water. Honestly, I've been walking around the house doing the "monkey move" all afternoon. Point being, what made these scenes what they were, was simply the music. I probably would have gotten board if I had tried watching it with the volume turned all the way down. Unfortunately, I could not find the soundtrack, which I would love to get a hold of.

Music has such a big effect that so often we bypass it unknowingly. Think about it. How many movies would you enjoy watching without music? For me, the answer would be none. Music makes things come to life. It adds emotions that we didn't know we had. Why else would my family and I be screaming and some of us crying because a wolf is chasing a gazelle on the other side of the world? I mean honestly, that gazelle has never done anything for us, we have no attachment to it and this kind of thing happens every day. Yet with the help of some music strategically written, we suddenly could care less what is happening around us. For the moment all we want is for that gazelle to "RUN FASTER!!!"

God has given man the amazing ability to write music. If we don't use this gift wisely we ruin something incredible. We can use music for His glory or we can use it for our glory. What I saw today was a prime example of what people can do if they decide to use music the right way.
"Earth" is a great movie. I would highly recommend it, especially to people who love good music. Just be careful, there might be some screaming and crying if you watch it with younger sisters.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Favorite Music Quote

Bach gave us God's word, Mozart gave us God's laughter, Beethoven gave us God's fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words. (found outside of an old Opera House)

There are many times that I pray as I play my music or compose my own songs. Music has words that we ourselves do not seem to have. Thank you God for Music!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Johann Sebatian Bach

Johann Sebastien Bach is one of my favorite composers. His music is fantastic. A few months ago I read a REALLY BIG book about him. It was very informative and I learned alot, but it took me two months to read, which slowed me down on my 201 book goal. The little bit I have written below is just a small fraction of all that you can learn about Bach. I'm quite positive I'll be writing a lot more about him later.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician
Christoph Wolff

Johann S. Bach came from a very musical family. He was born in Eisenach, Germany in 1685, which was the same city where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German. When Bach was ten years old, his parents both died and he went to live with his older brother Johann Christoph, who had been a student of Pachelbel. Johann Sebastian learned from this young age the importance of learning from other’s work to help improve one’s own skills. After Johann Chistoph died, Bach went to be a boy soprano at Luneberg, Germany. There he became very good at the violin and viola and by the time he left at eighteen years old he was a master clavichordist, organist and was very good at composing.
He worked in the court orchestra at Weimar, Germany, playing his violin and viola but he loved the organ. So, he moved to Arnstadt where he wrote organ music. In 1705, Bach walked two hundred miles to hear Dietrich Buxtehude, the greatest organist of the time. His music was never the same. In 1707, he moved to St. Blasius where he married his cousin, Maria Barbara. Two of their sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Carl Philip Emanuel both became well known musicians.
After a year, Bach moved back to Weimar to be the court organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst. Being a strong Christian, he wrote a great many chorale preludes and in his “Little Book for the Organ,” he wrote, “To the glor of God alone in the highest and to further the learning of everyone.” In 1717, Bach went to be the court conductor for the Prince of Cothen. He believed that the main reason for writing music was for the glory of God. While in Cothen, he wrote, “The Well Tempered Clavier.” In 1720, Bach returned home from a trip to find out that his wife had died and had been buried while he was away. He later married Anna Magdelena, a soprano for whom he wrote many great works. She helped him greatly in his work. In all, Bach had twenty children, but sadly only ten lived to adulthood. In 1723, Bach went to Leipzig where he became cantor of the St. Thomas Church. It was here that Bach wrote most of his musical compositions.
Bach died at the age of sixty-five and was mourned greatly. Bach is considered one of the greatest, if not THE greatest composers to have ever lived. In truth, his greatness came from God, whom Bach served with upmost adoration. He set an example that we should recognize and follow. Just like the young Johann Sebastian Bach copied other men’s work and used it to further his musical skills, we should look at his life and use it as an example of a man who followed God with his whole heart.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Farewell Symphony

Wow! What a great day the Lord has made!
I had a piano lesson earlier today with my wonderful teacher. I’ve been working on a song called “Andalucia,” by Ernesto Lecuona. My goodness it is an interesting song. At one moment I think it’s great and the next moment it becomes… well, not my favorite to say the least. I like several of Ernesto Lecuona’s songs like, “Gitanarius” and “Maleguena,” but this song does not like to “work with me.”

Yesterday, I read a very neat book to a couple of my younger sisters. It is a picture book called, “The Farewell Symphony” by: Anna Harwell Celenza. I really enjoyed it and so did my younger sisters. The book is about Joseph Haydn, (the famous composer) and his “farewell symphony.” I love the way it portrays all of the feelings of the musicians in the story. Prince Nicholas, whom Haydn worked for had two different estates and he did not allow his musicians to bring their families with when they went to the “summer” estate. The book is great at showing the aggravation of all the musicians at the Prince for doing this. Haydn, not wanting to upset the prince decided to cleverly put their longing for home into a symphony. The book then describes how the prince felt and what he heard during each movement of the symphony. The descriptions were right on. After reading the book I realized that there was a CD included that had the whole symphony. I listened to it and I couldn’t believe how perfectly the descriptions from the book fit the real music. I LOVED it! Anyway, this is a book that I would definitely recommend to people of all ages. My little sisters thought it was fun and I thought it was neat to read the music descriptions. 5 star book! If you do happen to read the book, make sure you listen to the symphony after you’re done reading. It will make you appreciate the book even more.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I am so excited to begin this blog and share what God is teaching me through His gift of music. Music is one of the most amazing aspects of life, in my opinion. In January of 2010 I quit reading fiction books and am on a mission to read 201 music books. As I have begun this mission I have realized that this is not a short time project. There is so much to explore and learn in the area of music. As a musician and piano teacher I have seen the amazing affects that music can have on people. Some of them are great but others are concerning.
Readers will be leaders they say, and I am a firm believer you can learn almost anything you want to by reading. I am on a mission to learn as much about music as possible so that I can further educate more people in the area of music.
I will be using this blog to share what I have learned and am learning in the books I am reading. As Beethoven said, music can take us to places that no one else could take us. The further educated you are, the further music can take you. I am just beginning to understand this first hand.
If at any time you have any great book or topic suggestions let me know. I am always looking for something new. I pray that God will bless you through what I am learning.