The Measure Of A Man

(“man” meaning “mankind” so this is for you too ladies)

There’s a passage of scripture that I like that goes a little something like this:

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3 (NIV)

…but I like this version of the scripture as well…

“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” -Romans 12:3 (NLT)

In all that you do, remember that no matter how much you achieve, how high you go, or how much recognition you receive for doing a thing well you should always have a real world view of yourself with the understanding that a “real world view” of yourself includes your good AND bad points, high AND low points, pleasant AND distasteful points, so on and so forth. As soon as you start “believing your own hype” and not taking everything else into account, that’s when you need to be on the lookout for Proverbs 16:18 to come to pass:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” -Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

 

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LISTEN: My Online Interview with Sharvette Mitchell

To all of my WordPress.com peeps, I want to let you all know that I did an internet radio interview with Sharvette Mitchell. This interview also featured a student and good friend of mine Will Hall (aka “Chan”) so you definitely want to check it out. The link is located below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mitchell-productions/2013/03/19/jazz-music–chan-jeffrey-carl-thomas-lunsford-authors-1

Chan’s Interview: 0:00 – 20:00
My Interview: 42:18 – 62:40

There is also a music sample on my segment called “Church Groovin'” from the new CD “Standing on the Shoulders: Chapter 4”. Definitely check it out and enjoy!

 

Estimated Time To Arrival

Even though I teach, perform, write, arrange, compose, and have a degree in music, I always tell my students that I am still a student myself. Why? Glad you asked. In my opinion, no matter how far along you get, there’s still something more to learn. I want my students to be in the “work-study program” for music. Basically, you can be to a point where you are working in the field of music, but still studying those things that concern your craft because it’s important in order to grow. Think about it. Music in one of its most basic definitions is based on 12 tones (at least Western music is) yet out of those finite 12 tones we get an infinite number of combinations. Music is just amazing that way. So even though we can learn everything from low A to high C on the piano (or whatever your range is for your specific instrument), there is still more to learn. I encourage you to never stop learning because “wisdom cries in the streets” (Proverbs 1:20) so make sure that your ears and your brain are open.
 
What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.
 

Flashback To The Good Ol’ Band Days

This post is dedicated to all my band people representing “S… C… H… S… (5)… (6)… (7)… 8!” (aka “The Marching Cougars”)
 
A very interesting thing has happened on Facebook. I was recently tagged in a post that involved all of my bandmates from high school. I was in marching band (on trumpet), concert band (on trumpet), jazz band (on keys), and gospel choir (on keys). Even though my high school was (and still is) small, the list of people tagged on this post was pretty extensive. Talk about a flashback to the good ol’ band days. We’re talking about pieces of music that we used to play, trophies and awards (something that we had a lot of), superior ratings that we came back from competition with, and a whole number of other things. As I’m reading all of the posts and responses and responses to responses, one specific thing comes to mind: COMMUNITY. Band not only gives you something in common (hence the definition of the word “band”), but it creates a sense of unity through music. Shared victories and even shared defeats build a musical community that you can be proud of so if you’re in a band now (regardless of what type of band it is), take it all in. The experiences that you share with YOUR bandmates will stay with you for a lifetime.
 
What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

“I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me…”

Yet again, here is a blog for all the seasoned musical veterans reading this. Go back into your memory banks to the year 1984 when an artist named Rockwell came out with a little diddy called “Somebody’s Watching Me” with the main line of the chorus being “I always feel like somebody’s watching me” (as sung by the great Michael Jackson just in case you didn’t know). If you weren’t around in 1984 (or two years old at the time like I was) then you can still possibly know this song through the remix by Misto and Pizzi for the Geico commercials a few years back… but I digress. I want to pose a question to you: Do you ever feel like somebody’s watching you? Always know that your life is on display. What you do, when you do it, and how you do it are always on display for others to see. The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV) “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” You are, in essence, a “living epistle” (“epistle” translated as “letter”) from God. So the better question is: Are you living in a way where you don’t mind people watching? Regardless of your answer, guess what? Aside from God, somebody at some point is always watching you.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

Did you forget the song? Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YvAYIJSSZY

 

Unlikely Resources

The year 1996. 8th grade. Private piano lesson. Frustrated over having to read and play a classical piece I said to myself, “I hate classical music. Why do I need to study this?” As a church musician born and raised in the Baptist church, classical music didn’t really fit into my musical life. I was down with the blues-based Gospel with some Jazz-infused Gospel on the side. Every so often a musical anomaly came through, but wasn’t so anomalous that I couldn’t figure it out in the context that I was accustomed to. Then Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” came out. I loved that song (and still do to this day) but it did not fit the musical context that I was accustomed to. In fact, there is a prelude to the actual song that really caught my attention so much that it confused me. I liked it, but it sounded classical… something I don’t really like… or did I? Later on in life I realized that the only reason I hated classical music was because it was not the normal routine for me at that time. When I got to college in 2000 and had to study classical music as part of my degree program, I came across classical music that I did like and ended up incorporating stylistic techniques into my current playing style (specifically Chopin among others). You never know when an unlikely resource will become something that you actually like.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.

I Think I Get It Now

When I was at VCU (“Go Rams!!!”) doing my undergraduate studies there, I had a professor who taught me Music History as well as Jazz Composition. In all honesty, those weren’t my favorite classes to go to because the professor was hard. Hard in the sense that there were a lot of requirements for his classes. Be on time because if not, you were marked absent. A certain number of absences equated to a failing grade. Recite all major chords by note around the circle of 5ths. Etc. Seemed impossible. It was only after I taught piano and music at a private school that I understood where he was coming from. As a student, a teacher that is always on you with strict rules and a lot of course material seems unfair to the Nth degree. However, as a teacher who has the understanding that the students need to get the information being taught in order to either achieve or get on the path to greatness, it’s a much different story. Having been on both sides, it makes the scripture in Hebrews 12:11 make so much more sense: “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (NLT) So if you have one of those hard professors/teachers, just know that it is to make you greater than what you are.

What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.