Deb’s House Concerts
Hospice Last Night
Last night, I went with my sister to visit a friend who is in her last days of life in this world. My sister asked her if she wanted music, and she said yes. So, I took a guitar, and we went to see her.
We sang Psalm 23 (with music I wrote when I was in the ninth grade). I have sung it for weddings, funerals, church services and people who are dying. I sang it for my grandmother before she died, my sister’s wedding and my grandfather’s funeral (all a few years ago).
I sang it for church and for the funeral of a woman in our church, by her request before she died, way back when I was in high school. I’ve sung it many times and many places over the years. I don’t know why I’ve never had it arranged for choirs and soloists and sold it through a church music publisher. (I wrote the music only, of course!)
The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou annointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Amazing Grace was my great-grandmother’s favorite song. So, of course, it was my favorite song at some point in my childhood. Later, I liked it less because of the “saved a wretch like me” part, thinking there is too much emphasis on everyone being so horrible rather than people knowing they are greatly loved. But, that line has legitimacy. It was written by a former slave trader in the 1700s, and many people do feel wretched. I like the song other than the word ‘wretch’.
My sister and I sang it slowly, with harmony. It felt like Appalachian mountain music. I liked it that way, and I thought maybe I’ll start singing it again after all.
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.
T’was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers toils and snares we have already come.
‘Tis grace hath brought us safe this far, and grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.
The Lord Bless You and Keep You
We tried to sing the version that we’ve heard sung by the choir all our lives. We were kind of winging it, and we had a little trouble with the various parts and overlapping lines. But, we had the idea.
The Lord Bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and, give you peace.
The Lord lift His countenance upon, and be gracious unto you.
Elementary School Today
This morning, I sang for one first grade class and three fourth grade classes (the fourth graders were all in one room). I was at the school for about two hours. This afternoon, in about an hour, I’ll sing again for the other first grade where I’ve sung three times before. Those kids already know my songs and sing them with me!
First Grade This Morning
This morning, I sang for one of the first grade classes I sang for awhile back. This is the last week of school. The children are excited and full of energy. I was with them for close to an hour, I think.
I always try to tell them a little bit about the songs. I tell them whatever special message I intended, and I encourage them to sing along. The first graders are ready to sing at a moment’s notice. They love it.
Fourth Graders … a room full of them
Three classes of fourth graders were all together in a room, having just completed another activity together. There was testing going on in the school, and they needed to stay quiet, so the teachers were happy to have me appear (after singing for the 1st grade) and entertain the kids for a few minutes. I think I probably sang for about 45 minutes for them, too.
Stop Talking So Much! Sing!
I should probably think about how I feel when I’m in the audience, so I can make sure I don’t talk too much between songs. When people go to hear you sing, that’s what they want, songs.
Still Finding My Way
I’m still finding my way with singing for kids. I’m wanting to be sure I have the right songs for the right age group. So, I’m probably doing a little more storytelling and explaining (the history of the songs) than I would normally do.
Over-Explaining the Meaning and the Message
I want to be so careful to be sure these children understand the meaning and the message of the songs. I don’t know why I think I have to explain the lyrics. I grew up with fairy tales filled with archetypal characters, good and evil. And, there were fables, too, complete with talking animals and lessons at the end of each story. That’s how my songs on the Weird Duck cd are. So, why do I feel like I have to explain them???? (sigh)
It’s Been Good For Me
I used to sing often when I was younger. But, at some point, I backed away from it. It’s always been hard for me to know where I fit musically. It’s been good for me to start singing again in the past few months, singing for 1st and 4th grade classes (by arrangement with the teachers). It’s been great having such enthusiastic audiences.
Still Trying to Find My Place Musically
I’ve never been sure who my audience is. I’m still not entirely sure who likes my music.
Lots of people downloaded my songs when they were on eFolkMusic. But, I was never sure who my audience was. I’d still like to figure that out.
Weird Duck Is Fun to Sing
I do know that early elementary school aged children enjoy my Weird Duck songs. In the class where I’ve been the most in the past few months, those children know the choruses to the songs. They really like Weird Duck, and they sing it with great gusto!
“You’re so weird,” you tell me all the time.
“You’re so weird,” you tell me all the time.
“You’re a weird duck. You’re a weird duck.”
from Weird Duck c.2003 Deborah L. Hord
Informal Market Analysis
I was a little unsure about the age-appropriateness of the songs on the Weird Duck cd (before these recent performances for the children), but I feel confident about it now. How could I have even imagined that fables and fairy tales about animals would not be appropriate for this age group?
I’ve ‘tested’ all the songs on the first graders in the class where I’ve sung so many times. I’ve given them the option of telling me if they don’t like any of the songs. I’ve asked if the songs were too young for them, or too serious, or if they just didn’t like them for some reason. They were enthusiastic about every single song.
Renaming the Weird Duck CD (removing the subtitle)
I’m thinking of removing the subtitle of my Weird Duck cd. It used to say, “Weird Duck – and other animal tales for grown ups.” But, I now think the songs are just right for the children. They’re all about animals: ducks, dogs, a snow goose, a donkey, a teddy bear, a small frightened stray (type of animal unnamed).
Singing for Schools and Birthday Parties
I’m looking forward to developing music programs for children, for schools or birthday parties, by invitation of the teachers and parents. And, I’ll redo the packaging on the cd, so that it’s colorful and attractive and has the words, too.
mp3 Downloads Online
I used to have my songs available on eFolkMusic. They’re not available there anymore. They moved to a new platform (linux vs windows), and they’re no longer selling the music there. I still am listed there as one of their artists, but the selling of the mp3s has to be done elsewhere.
After the efolkmusic site moved, I did not do anything else. They encouraged us to list our songs with other websites where we could sell mp3 downloads. But I’ve not yet put up my songs anywhere else. I need to focus on that again, and put up mp3s where people can download and build a collection of their favorite songs.
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