11. 2019 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN
TEARS THAT CHANGED MY LIFE A MOVING WAKE
I n fall of 2012, I received a distressing phone call from a friend, Josh. He’d just moved up to Alaska, and I hadn’t expected to hear from him so soon, but, from the sound of his voice, he was a wreck. Josh explained that the wife of a good friend had cancer, and it was looking terminal. He was overcome with emotion and just needed someone to talk to. We were all so young back then — I was still at the University of Minnesota working on my doctorate — and neither of us were prepared to handle loss like this. The cancer moved faster than even doctors predicted. I still remember the chilling phone call I got from Josh a few days later. As soon as I answered, he just said, “She’s passed.” I didn’t know this family personally, but Josh was close, and I did my best to console him. Still, this was back when I thought death was reserved for the elderly. Hearing about this woman, a mother, passing so quickly in the prime of her life brought me to tears. Josh and I had been close thanks to our shared love of music, so in his next chat with me, he asked a deeply personal favor. The bereft family had asked Josh, a musician himself, to perform the music at the funeral. He’d considered the honor but concluded he was too emotional over the loss to do it justice. So, he turned to me. I’d never done anything quite as personal and emotionally important before. Selecting and performing the music meant to underscore a person’s
entire life — that’s a lot of pressure. But I was honored Josh had the faith in me to do her memory justice, and I saw how much he needed to focus his energy on mourning. So, I accepted. “Great,” Josh told me. “The funeral’s in two days.” I rushed to rehearse for this deeply important performance on short notice. I threw my studies aside to make sure I was as sharp as possible to honor her memory. But no amount of rehearsing could have prepared me for this experience. As the Minister give his speech, I waited in the wings facing the mourners. That’s when I saw a little girl, the deceased’s daughter, rush the casket, trying to get to her mother. Her father scooped her up at the last second, bringing the sobbing girl back to her seat. Taking the stage, I could barely hold it together. Experiences like that leave you with a fresh perspective. Suddenly, everything you take for granted in life comes into sharp focus. The day after the funeral, I went to professor Dean Sorenson who’d been overseeing my independent study in composition. I told him about the experience I’d had the day prior and asked him if I could write a song eulogizing this woman’s life. He gave me his blessing. Writing such a personal song was different than anything I’d ever done. And as I wrote, my mind kept turning to that little girl, just a little older than my own son. What would her life be like? How would this change her? If she could be the one to write this song, how would it sound?
These thoughts stirred something inside me, something brewing for a long time, but finally crystalized after witnessing such a tragic event. I went to professor Sorenson and explained how much I felt driven to help kids find the magic in music. I confessed to him, “I think I want to open a music school.” “Great,” he said. “What are you doing here?” His words took me by surprise, but he was right. I didn’t need advanced theory to be a music teacher. I should be researching business licenses, not the underpinnings of new wave jazz. “I’ll do you a favor,” Dean told me, “by asking you to drop this class.” No major life decision can be boiled down to one moment or experience. Over the run of this newsletter, I’ve talked about many people and experiences without whom our music school would have never existed. But this moment, in the wake of a funeral, was when it all snapped together. How does a man leave a doctorate program he’s spent his adult life pursuing to become a music teacher? Easy. He realizes what he wants to live for.
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ENGAGE YOUR KIDS ON THANKSGIVING WITH THESE GRATITUDE-THEMED GAMES
places, people, or food — you can make players think outside the box. This will ensure you get a wide range of creative, thoughtful answers whenever the kids pick up a stick. These modified games are great for helping your kids realize how much they have to be thankful for. Use these to spend some fun, educational, quality time with your family this Thanksgiving.
GUESS WHO? To play gratitude-themed Guess Who?, have each participant write down their name and something they’re thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a bowl. Then, at the dinner table, have each person draw a random slip and read what it says without saying the name while everyone else tries to guess who wrote it. While Pictionary may get your kids talking about what they are thankful for, Guess Who? will tune them into what others around them are thankful for, too. PICK-UP STICKS Like regular pick-up sticks, the goal is to remove a stick from a haphazard pile without disturbing the others. However, by using colored sticks that represent different kinds of thankfulness — such as
Thanksgiving is an excellent time to teach children about gratefulness. By planning some fun, gratitude-themed games, you can impart a valuable lesson and spend some quality family time together. Get your kids in the holiday spirit by adding a Thanksgiving twist to these classic games. PICTIONARY Want to bring out your kids’ creative sides? Pictionary is the perfect way to encourage artistic expression and grateful thinking. Try adding a rule where players have to draw something they’re grateful for. This will get your kids thinking beyond turkey and stuffing and give them an imaginative way to express their gratitude. Plus, who doesn’t love a good art contest?
EXCITING NEWS FOR THE NEHRINGS! MnSOM’S GOT TALENT
A few months back, our school received a very exciting email. Working behind the front desk at the time, Eric actually almost thought the message was spam and deleted it — but a closer look revealed it was from the team behind “America’s Got Talent.” Recognizing our school as a great hub of local talent, they’d written
us wanting to “see what Minnesota had to offer.” Excited, we put out a Facebook post asking for any and all interested musicians to submit their work. The post got the most shares our page has ever seen — by a long shot. We were so excited our wider community
wanted to compete so eagerly in such a legendary competition. In fact, even though he’d never seen the show, our director decided to throw his hat into the ring himself! Lo and behold, he got a call back! They’re interested in seeing his duet with Caleb, his son! At the time of writing, Eric and Caleb are about to send in their third round of performances, and they’re very excited. “We’re practicing every day,” Eric told us, adding with a laugh, “At the very least, this experience has given us plenty of quality time!” Whether or not the MnSOM duo are on their way to international stardom remains to be seen. But, as a school that strives to help families bond over music, we can say they’ve already succeeded in our books! Congratulations and best of luck!
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On this month’s cover, Eric tells the story of writing a song after attending a funeral for a family who had lost a loved one to cancer. Since this experience helped inspire him to establish our school, and in the hopes these words may lend some comfort to families going through a similar experience, we’ve decided to share “Come Home” with you. ‘COME HOME’ A SONG FOR FACING LOSS
WELCOME NEW STUDENTS
Amelia S. Eva L. Michael S. Yaddi T. Nebeyou T. Sydney B. Kyan H. Nathan P. Makenna R.
Ayla E. Oliver E. Peony S. Corinne C. Allie J. Andrew R. Isaac N.
We never thought it’d come so soon When the doctor said you were Stage 2 Somehow years turned into days Now the pastor is on his way
I know you can’t open your eyes But if you see the other side We are here to let you know It’s okay to just let go
‘Cuz heaven opened up the gate today There are angels calling out to you
IS YOUR TEACHER If you’ve tried to make a schedule change recently, you’ve seen firsthand how full our teachers’ schedules are. If you are looking to make an upcoming schedule change, please read below to see if your teacher is sold out. Note: Teacher availability is subject to change based on enrollment. Please contact the front desk at 763-432-9713 for up-to-date schedule information. SOLD OUT?
Come home, come home Our Father has prepared a place for you To come home This house is cold without you here I’m tryin’ to hold back all my tears But it gets me every time I look into our daughter’s eyes
She asked me where her mommy is today There’s still an angel calling out for you
Come home, come home Our daughter has prepared a place for you To come home
I promise that I’ll raise her up just like her mommy would And give her all the lovin’ that I wish her mommy could I’ll hold her hand and teach her everything that I have learned And then I’ll let her go when it’s my turn
Mr. Barrett - SOLD OUT Ms. Ferbuyt - SOLD OUT Mrs. Lehner: SOLD OUT Mr. Membrez - SOLD OUT
Mr. Nistler - SOLD OUT Ms. Palmquist - SOLD OUT Ms. Pliam - SOLD OUT
To come home, come home Save a place for me beside of you ‘Cuz when there’s no more work on earth to do I’ll close my eyes just like you taught me to And I’ll come home
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3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Tears That Changed a Life
Gratitude-Themed Games for Kids MnSOM’s Got Talent
Welcome New Students A Song for Facing Loss
The Gift of Giving
SUPPORTING THE PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE IN CELEBRATING GIVING TUESDAY
November is usually all about Thanksgiving, but it isn’t the only holiday that encourages generosity. Giving Tuesday is a phenomenal celebration in
using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. The website states that “... technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral; that people fundamentally want to give and talk about giving.” Through massive social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the individuals and companies participating in Giving Tuesday can spread their missions and messages all over the world, encouraging others to do the same. HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE Now is the perfect opportunity to support your community and the causes you believe in. The best part of this holiday is that “giving” doesn’t just refer to donating money. People can give back by volunteering their time to help a nonprofit business, donating goods and food, or just buying a stranger some lunch. Even the smallest actions can have the biggest impact. If you’re interested in participating in Giving Tuesday, get together with your friends, family, sports team members, or neighbors to brainstorm on how you can give back. To learn more about how you can participate, visit GivingTuesday.org .
which millions of people from across the globe are inspired to spend 24 hours giving back to the communities they love. ORIGIN AND GOAL Giving Tuesday is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and this year, the holiday lands on Dec. 3! It was established in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and New York’s 92nd Street Y as a response to consumer-driven holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose of the holiday was to spread the spirit of giving, not only for the people in our nation but individuals across the world. The goal is “to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day and touches every person on the planet.” TECHNOLOGY AT ITS BEST Through the use of social media and technology, the organization hopes to encourage and spread generosity on a global scale
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