Hello and welcome to another post in my new blog, The Way I See It, focusing on my Life Lenses in one form or another.
In this post, I will share with you my Music Life Lens with my first year playing the piano, along with a bit of musical history for context. You will also find a video below of my playing my song, Receiving Grace, which I wrote and then composed for the piano.
I am so excited to share with you about my piano journey. But first things first.
I’ve always enjoyed music from a young age, and loved to sing in my adolescence and performed vocally for several years. You can read about that here on my Music Page.
One of my greatest dreams was to be able to write and compose music and then play that music on an instrument as I sang.
When I was a child, I wrote a few songs. When I reached my 30s, I had a spiritual experience and received lyrics and melody for 12 songs that emphasized where I was in my spiritual journey at the time. This was a very exciting breakthrough for me, but it didn’t stay with me, which was disappointing. But I guess I just wasn’t ready for what I had always wanted musically; I was deep into homeschooling my two young daughters at the time.
Fast forward to 4 years ago, I began to write songs with melodies as a result of my spiritual studies from sacred text. I began to be wholly inspired to write lyrics that came to me by Spirit much to my delight. I began to record these songs on audio just to have the melodies at the ready. After about three years of song writing, learning much through that ongoing experience, gaining knowledge and writing more structured songs in the process, I began to consider learning to play an instrument to accompany myself.
Years ago, I attempted guitar, but it didn’t suit me, since I have small hands. So I decided that piano would probably be a better choice for me.
So, with a little research, I found a piano app to put on my iPad and see what I could do.
Yes, I was working with a very small screen, only wide enough for melody, but it was a the perfect place for me to start. Just finding my way on the keyboard was exciting.
So I pulled a song from many I wrote and decided to try my hand at finding the melody by ear. Happily, I was able to play the melody after many sessions (with lots of stops and starts along the way).
This was a super exciting development for me musically; after a couple of months of executing right hand melody of two songs composed for piano, I decided to research getting a digital piano. After many months, I chose one that seemed good, a newer model just having come out: Yamaha PSR 373 with all the bells and whistles I could hope for. And it was on sale.
My piano arrived one year ago on my mother’s birthday! (3/1/21) I was so excited to finally have a real digital piano in my space and was eager to try it out. From the beginning I decided I wanted to learn the keys of the piano without putting stickers on the keys for reference. I wanted to learn intuitively where the keys were located with each octave rather than relying on a visual. It took some time, but I made steady progress. I made it a point to play daily since I was enjoying myself so much. I kept adding new melodies to play by ear. In time, I had 30+ songs in my book!
I chose not to wait til I memorized each melody. I figured I could pick and choose which songs I wanted to practice with and play each day. When I first started out, I often had to restart the song since I would make many errors at first. This was a musical instrument, after all, and it didn’t necessarily come easy; but I knew I was in the right place since I loved it so much.
Over the months, I decided to look up a piano teacher on YouTube who came recommended to me, Lisa from Pianote. She made everything make sense to me from the beginning, and I learned a lot from her, especially concerning chords and the various ways to incorporate them into melodies. I’ve tried varying approaches with several of my songs, whether one note, two note or three note chords in left hand, along with some two and three note chords in the right hand.
Of course, I started out just playing the melody of most of my songs with one and 2 keys; but with watching tutorials, and applying the information with my own music, I began to add more and more to my playing.
Some songs I’ve written are more like spiritual choruses while others have two verses and a chorus and some have two versus with a bridge and chorus. It really is a matter of what comes to me through Spirit as I write. Each song to me is a Gift. And to be able to hear the melodies on an instrument is absolutely thrilling.
Playing the melodies with chords is the foundational practice I have developed at this point. Being able to play the piano and sing my melodies at the same time for me is an accomplishment, since it is quite the challenge! And It’s by no means perfect; I am a true novice, an Aspiring Musician in the making. I have a long way to go. But I am encouraged that I can play by ear, and hear my songs and sing them, often, multiple times per day. It is a delight for me to have this as part of my Spiritual practice on a daily basis.
I also discovered that playing a musical instrument is actually good for the immune system; so when I play, I’m actually benefiting my body; not to mention, using and creating new neural pathways in my brain. Yes! So exciting.
Thank you so much for being a part of my Musical journey and for showing interest in my piano discovery process. I’m having so much fun and am being inspired daily to play my songs, which lifts my Spirit and leaves me feeling vibrationally aligned as I honor the gifts I am given. That’s why I wanted to share my journey with you.
Thanks for celebrating my One Year Anniversary with the piano. I have recorded one of my songs titled, Receiving Grace, which, when you watch/listen, I hope you are inspired and lifted in your Spirit too.
Music is a heavenly experience for me; at least, that’s The Way I see It. How do You See It?
Remember, The Way You See It Matters.
Below are the lyrics to my song, Receiving Grace, originally written in 2019. It's a good example of what I mean by a chorus. Hope you enjoy.
Written and Composed by Dawn Herring
It is possible
To see the light again
Even when in darkness
The way can seems so dim
I pray for light and kindness
As I search for truth once more
And recognizing freedom
Through the open door
Help me see the journey
With each step I take
Knowing I am not alone
Make no mistake
I trust in all provision
As I know to seek your face
Remembering your promise
Copyright 2022 Song Lyrics and Melody by Dawn Herring
I thought the perfect place to start this new blog (aside from the introduction) is to focus on my Family Life Lens as a Daughter.
My mother's 80th birthday was a Momentous Occasion with which I celebrated with great JOY and Delight!
I had a great time celebrating at her surprise birthday party hosted by my sister and her family. Loved seeing the surprise on Mom's face and how happy she was to see me. :)
I also enjoyed some time with her with my grandson at my side on her special day. We talked about all sorts of things. But the highlight for me was sharing a surprise with her: I wrote her a song called Gentle Hands*, composed it for the piano and then I played and sang it for her on her special day. That was the one thing I greatly anticipated and she loved it.
Time always goes by so speedily when we are with those we love. And I so appreciate those minutes/hours with my Mom, Erma Bel-Tempo, because life is fleeting at best, and there is no guarantee of tomorrow.
So, here's to you, my dear MOM.
(The following is a tribute I posted on Facebook that I would like to share here. It really showcases the many facets of Mom in this life and how she has "Given it All.")
This day marks a momentous occasion that I am celebrating! My dear mother Erma Bel-Tempo is turning the big 8-0 today!
Yes, eight decades of living as wife to Daniel Bel-Tempo, mom to me and my sister Denise, as well as grandma to my two daughters and my sister’s two daughters and great grandma to my grandson!!
She has always been the hostess with the mostess, homemaker extraordinaire with a very strong creative bend making the house decorated for every occasion imaginable for years and years and years!
She was always there after school for conversation and had mending hands not just with a needle and thread (and her trusty sewing machine!) but also when needing assistance when ill or struggling with some thing or another!
Mom has been a faithful wife to my dad for 60 years and still has quick wit and loves watching animal shows that warm her heart and make her laugh. The owl is her mascot!
She’s taken care of four different cats in her lifetime all of which were named Puffy.
Mom, you are an extraordinary woman with a true heart!!
May God bless you with joy, peace, strength, calm, healing, resilience and comfort in your golden years!!
We love you from the bottom of our hearts!!
Happy happy 80th birthday!!
And that's The Way I See It. And It's beautiful.
P.S. Below you will find a video where I share the song I wrote, Gentle Hands, and play it on the piano. Also, below are the *lyrics to the song (Copyright 2022 by Dawn Herring).
by Dawn Herring
Gentle hands that mend
Always to attend
Ready and prepared
From the start
Listen to the heart
It’s where you always start
Moving on impulse
You reach out
Without a doubt
Heart to heart
May you receive
All that you give
Leaving to recall
How you gave it all
I'm Dawn Herring. Here is a space where I share The Way I See It from my many Life Lenses of Art, Music, Journal Keeping, Autism, Mental Health, being Full Time Grandma of Special Needs Grandson, and many other POVs that are relevant and helpful. Prepare for a full spectrum of experience, with an invitation for you to share your POV because The Way You See It Matters too.