Eden Casteel Music Studio

Voice, Piano and Performance in Rhode Island and Everywhere

Eden Casteel Music Studio: Learn more about Eden, her teaching, her students, and how to book lessons.

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Eden's Ins and Outs for 2015

Eden's INs and OUTs for 2015 IN: Reading books OUT: Reading minds

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High quality audio and video recordings of music lessons for my students Relying on hazy memory

Diaries Facebook statuses

Running the 2015 NYC Marathon with my husband (yes, I am) Sleeping in

Charcoal gray as a neutral Brown anything (I only like brown as mulch)

Regular online voice lessons Irregular in-person lessons

Improv classes Half-assing

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Confidence Guilt

Helping my students learn more music theory and history Assuming they're learning it elsewhere

Fearless graying Real Housewives Hair

Trackr Bravo Missing cats

Low sugar cuisine New pants

Guest organ stints Cantoring

Christmas caroling at our annual cookie party!

Small ensemble choral singing Cyber choirs

Dave Ramsey Debt

Making my home studio beautiful and welcoming Schlepping all over the Ocean State

What? Me, drive?

Driver's Ed Texting

Daily prayer Worrying

RINATS No NATS

Kvetching Gratitude

Samaritan's Purse Kate Spade

Age appropriate performances Musical Jail Bait 

Massages for health Toughing it out

Learning how to audition in a challenging environment Giving up

Traveling Netflix

Deadlines To-do lists

Resolved: Cuddle ALL THE CATS

Blogging more Blogging less

HAPPY NEW YEAR, my Eight Blog Readers! XO EC

My Happy Apps

I am selective about my smartphone apps: No to Angry Birds or Tetris, yes to Couch to 5K. No to Minecraft, yes to Vine. I only keep apps that I really like and use frequently. These apps make me happy! My music apps. . . some of them

Pandora reminds me of the summer I sold actual physical CDs and cassettes at Camelot Music. We sat around the break room digging through the large cardboard box filled with free promotional cassettes and CDs (okay, only I did that). I scored Madonna's Immaculate Collection, which was a big deal at the time.

I'm always justifying looking for apps for music education. My hardworking ClearTune app helps singers (including moi) figure out how to make the small changes that lead to more accurate pitch, and it's a godsend for nervous new sight singers and pianists ("Was that an E flat? It wasn't? I could have sworn it was. Are you sure?").

Being from the Dark Ages, I learned music theory the traditional way, with workbooks and flashcards. Writing out the scales is always a good idea, but apps are great for drills on note names, intervals, and chords. I like Musicopoulos for straight theory and straightforward practice. If you don't have a smartphone, Theta Music Trainer is a good place to practice.

My perfect pitch made ear training very easy for me, but I have begun to recommend these two solid apps for musical mortals: PlayByEar asks you to sing or play back chords and melodies accurately. EarTrainer shows intervals being played on a piano keyboard.

Blob Chorus by Lumply

For sheer fun, the best ear training app is The Blob Chorus. Groups of blobs sing individual pitches, then a purple King Blob repeats one of the previous pitches. Match the blobs, and King Blob gets a crown. Get it wrong, your blob explodes! This is great for singers who are learning to hear their part inside a choir.

I have loved the public radio show Music From The Hearts Of Space since I was a teenage waitress at Elby's. The program aired on WCBE every Sunday night at 10pm as I drove home from the night shift, and I would keep listening as I changed out of my 100% polyester uniform and speed-read some Faulkner for the school week ahead. I use the show's app frequently and also listen to their online archive at www.hos.com

My senior high prom date turned me on to the SomaFM website years ago, as we exchanged one or two perfunctory emails to catch up and therefore avoid meeting up at reunions. He remembered my teenage love of Hearts of Space and recommended this. It was the last I heard of him but thanks, Dean, and I bet you have the app now too! SomaFM is a collection of 15 quirky, well-curated online stations (and that's the last time I will use "curate" in a post) ranging from NASA beeps and blips to bachelor pad jazz. I always wrap presents from Santa while listening to "Xmas in Frisko," their not-safe-for-children radio station.

I just downloaded the Inception app and . . woah. Wierd and wonderful to have music played according to your own movements! When I miss Michigan or DC, I listen to the local traffic report through my iHeart Radio app and then I'm glad I don't live there anymore. I also use a couple of lolofit apps, including the 7-minute workout and Jeff Galloway's Easy 10K. They always make me feel like an Olympian, no matter how infrequently l use them. I wish the 10K app had more variations in run-walk ratios. I don't see why I can't run for one minute and walk for ten, and still have Jeff tell me "great job!" in his Southern twang.

Running is slightly easier with this app

Even on the worst day, my Random Gratitude app asks me to think of something good and type it in. The best feature of this app is that it randomly scrolls through my previous posts, reminding me of so many wonderful little things that I might have otherwise forgotten.

So, what apps should I add to my collection?

 

Resolutions

Goals for 2013 I want to learn how to prepare a few more healthy foods. I always think it's going to take too long to make the good stuff, and I'm always surprised at how easy it is. I want to figure out how to make those Thai wrap up roll thingys with julienned carrots and peanut sauce. I always worry I'm going to rip the wrapper and wind up with salad all over the place.

I'd like to add some kind of decor to the white IKEA shelves in my office -- cheaply. I could paint the backs of the cases some hip color. What would Martha do?

Despite my continual reading of Color Me Beautiful in the 1980s, every once in a while I buy an item of clothing in brown. I tell myself that it's an alternative to ubiquitous black. I have loved ones who look great in brown, so I guess I figure that love will make me look good in brown. And so I put it on at home, and I look terrible and pale and sick in it, and I take it off and put it in the donations box. And I always recall this poem. It's time to say goodbye to brown clothing -- forever. Khaki, you're next.

Memorize as much of my Feb. 8 recital as possible. I'm working on this now and it's going pretty well. It really is harder to memorize when you're older!

I love teaching, and I love breaks from teaching just as much. Keep doing this.

Pray more and more and more . . . because prayer works.

Run a half marathon. Run a 10K. Run a 5K. Run. Or just tone up. Or just look like I've lost 10 pounds.

I'm writing a short children's musical about Saint Francis using music from his era. If I include every wonderful thing he ever did, it will be longer than The Ring Cycle. I have to turn in a draft by Ash Wednesday (Feb. 13), and a final by Easter (March 31). I have done a lot of research and collecting, but no writing.

I'm also writing "Quonnie: The Musical 3.0", but I won't even start that until June. That's an eternity away. Right? By then I'll have lost 10 pounds and run a half marathon.

I'd like to procrastinate a little less than my kids.

Restrict Facebook and other cyber time wasters. I turn to social media when I am bored or restless, when I should really be doing something else -- anything else. I use the Self-Control app to force myself to take a break. Occasionally I'll keep electronics off for a period of time. I'm always happier when I do, even if it's only half a day. It gets easier to do the more I do it. So, I'm going to do that more.

Say a long goodbye to my 20 year old cat Rebel, and have him make a peaceful trip over the Rainbow Bridge. He's holding his own now but I know it's coming. I cherish every cuddle.

Paint some landscapes. I aspire to be Winston Churchill. Paint some walls, too. And the garage doors.

Travel more. Last year I enjoyed short trips to New Orleans and Montreal. This year: Colorado? Key West? Graceland? India?

Plant ALL the flower bulbs before the frost. Even the ones you forgot in the garage.

Figure out that contact lens prescription once and for all, and write it down so I can find the right contact for the right eye. I think I keep mixing them up.

Plant a smaller vegetable garden, to make room for more flowers and trees.

Continue to celebrate the end of orthodontia payments, car payments, and house payments (ALMOST!). That process may take a year. I can live with that.

Be at peace.

Voice Lessons, Vocal Coaching, Piano Lessons, Performance Coaching, and Musical Production.

Eden Casteel Music Studio, 81 Post Road, Wakefield RI 02879. Phone: 401-932-5589.