“Okay, guys, line up,” coach Johnson bellowed. “ You - Smith - at the head of the line, start the count by shouting out ‘one.’ Then Williams, you’re ‘two’ and so on down the line. Even numbers will be shirts and will cover this goal. Odd numbers will be skins.”
“Three, four, five…” the boys ahead of me counted.
My piano teacher said, “Music communicates in many ways. What if you composed a melody where your music goes down the scale from higher to lower notes? In most of your songs, melodies ascend.”
How could I do this? That evening I struggled to compose a descending melody. Without a point of reference, or awareness of an example, it’s difficult to create new music.
This morning I heard a descending melody on the radio. I never heard the descending melody in the song until my piano teacher asked her question. When we pause and pay attention to what we experience, we raise our awareness in the present moment. If we increase awareness in one part of life, we elevate attention in other parts as well.
Gabe sought passion in his work yet; he didn’t have words to describe what he really wanted. A part-time musician and accountant, he felt stuck in his career. “I’m just an accountant. I don’t see anything special in my work,” Gabe lamented. “Be yourself, I suggested. “Passion, and the life you want, will find you.”
“Life is like music,” Sam observed.
I coach Sam, a healthcare clinic manager on staffing issues. His comment perked my interest. “Say more, Sam.”
“Here’s what I mean,” Sam explained. “All notes need to be heard. For example, I often compose piano music in the key of C major. If my melody includes an F major chord and I want to finish my song, I usually take my music directly to a C major chord. This transition is the quickest way to finish my tune because I hear two compatible major chords that suggest completion.”
I’m a starter. When I read, I place a bookmark where I’ve left off. “I’ll finish later,” I tell myself. Sometimes I do. Often I don’t. Bookmarks wag from my unfinished reading like my first grade teacher’s tongue when she admonished, “Tisk, tisk, Richard, put some gasoline in your tank.” I wish I had my current wisdom back then to tell Mrs. Higgins, “I love the rush of a new idea. My work will be completed in it’s own time.”
About the Author
Richard Wilberg is a coach, musician, photographer, and former business leader who lives in Madison, Wisconsin.