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.