Why Is It So Hard to Find Happiness?

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There is a short story that is often used for motivation that you can easily find on the Internet. I had not heard this story until recently and it is such a simple way to make us think about how we all tend to look at our lives and why we “think” we are unhappy, stressed and spend so much effort to find happiness. The story goes as follows:

 

****************************************** One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions….just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following:

“I want you to write what you see there.”

The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:

“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday…….
However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend etc. The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds.

Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you. ****************************************************************************

When I first heard this story, it amazed me at how my mind works and how much of a struggle it seems to be to force the mind to not look at the black dot on the page…or all the negative things we see all around us. When you focus on the spot, it actually becomes all there is on the page. It becomes everything in our life. This is not to say that the negative issues in our world don’t exist…we well know that they do, but our minds have been looking at the fact that the only object on the page is the spot, so therefore, the spot is everything…and so we instantly see the stopped traffic ahead, the car that just pulled out in front of us, the slight pain we feel that makes us wonder what become of it, we are or are not eating the correct foods to present us the healthiest life so we must be doomed…and the list goes on and on.

In our current times, with all of our media being the center of most of our occupied time, whether by habit or design, the focus is almost always based on what will get our attention – the black dot. In fact, when the dot is on the white page, there is no way to not see it. We literally have to block it or remove it to only see the rest of the page. I think this makes the most significant point of the story. We can not remove the spot or negative issues we face. We don’t have control of that, but what we CAN control is moving our eyes or focus on the countless good stuff that has and is happening in our lives.

This brings me back to the Mission of David’s Music House – We teach and promote kindness and support of one another by teaching and mentoring by example, using the most effective method of communication known to humans – The Power of Music, which connects us all through our emotions.

 

COMING FOR 2018 – “PERFORMANCE TRAINING”

Every year, since 2010, we have continued bringing new methods of music education and we have some exciting things coming for 2018.

We will be bringing more focus to preparing students to “Performance Training” by more use of our Coffee House Stage.

DMH Teachers will be bringing students out of the lesson room, during their lessons and on the stage to train them how to perform, including addressing the audience, speaking more, eye contact and thanking audiences following performances.

Next, we are introducing “Student Open Stage Performances”. These will be informal but geared more toward actually performing as if they were at an Open Stage. Teachers will be scheduling these impromptu student performances anytime during open hours and as often as desired and these will also be more opportunities for student families to see them perform. The only prerequisites will be that the student has already been taught how to Perform on Stage during their lessons and that no more than 5 students can perform on any single day, during normal business open hours.

We will then be continuing our Student Showcases but students will have previously performed at Open Stage events and will be more prepared for the more formal Student Showcases, thus making Showcases a more “REAL” performance.

I built the stage and Coffee House atmosphere for the main purpose of teaching Performance, as I strongly feel that this has always been a sadly neglected part of music education and nevermore so in our current YouTube times, when our youth look to making the Internet their pathway for success. Music is never more effective and powerful than when a LIVE audience is part of the performance and both the artist and listener are interacting or communicating for whatever purpose the artist creates. This is why David’s Music House was created and why we live by – “The Lesson Room is only the FIRST STEP”.

As always, everyone at David’s Music House is forever grateful to all of our student families and the community for all the love and support and for spreading the word of what we do.

Peace and Love,

David

Year End Reflection and New Things To Come…

More than a month ago

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So we come to the end of another spectacular year of growth and success of David’s Music House because of all the amazing parents and students of the South Hills Community. When I stepped out of a 22 year corporate job, at the age of 56, I knew I had to continue working and find a job but it was 2008 and the beginning of our country’s greatest depression since The Great Depression of the 1930’s  which devastated families and our country’s economy. Although it was a good job that provided for my family all those years, I was never happy and often downright miserable. To stop myself from becoming mentally depressed, I would remind myself that I at least had a decent paying job and at least I didn’t have to do hard physical labor. So, looking back, I realize how blessed I was to have that 22 year job, in spite of it being a struggle. It provided a lot of learning experience I use today for my business. It also provided savings and money so I could start my first business on my own and yet make sure I retained my retirement savings. I am a believer that it’s always better to look forward and not dwell on past mistakes, but it is good to remember the past in that you gain a different perspective on who you are today and how you learned and improved from the good and bad experiences of our lives, as long as you realize how to avoid past mistakes and make better choices.  Everything we experience makes us who, what and where we are in the present, and most likely, the future as well.

I am fully aware that every step I have taken has brought me to the awareness I have today of why David’s Music House is succeeding and growing. I always take some time during the month of December, as we celebrate the holidays with family and friends, to reflect on the year that is ending and the possibilities of the year ahead. Every year since David’s Music House opened on October 10, 2010, we look to the coming year with great hope and excitement. We usually try to make improvements to things we did in the past year that we learned could be better and 2018 is not exception.

We have some exciting new things to announce very soon during the month of December. More focus will be brought to the performance learning of DMH students. A special email will be coming to all of our current DMH Student Families in a couple of days with a BIG improvement in our tuition payment process.

DMH PARENTS AND STUDENTS – LOOK FOR A SPECIAL EMAIL IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

As always…I personally want to thank each of you for discovering us, coming to us, bringing yourself and your children to David’s Music House for your music education and for supporting and spreading the word to others of what we all do.

Anita and I wish each of you a Wonderful, Safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Joyous and Prosperous New Year!

Love and Peace

David & Anita

 

Over The River and Through Our Memories

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david on stageWhen I was very young I always loved listening to stories from older family members. I can remember I wouldn’t go outside and play with my cousins during the visits to Grama’s house. I would stay at the dinning room table during the after dinner coffee and desert time because I loved hearing their stories about times gone by. They were funny, everyone laughing to tears, colorful, wonderful stories that made me want to be inside their stories. This was almost better than television, and that is saying something because TV was everything to a Baby Boomer child of the 1950’s.

Thanksgiving conjures up instant feelings of warm Fall colors, stopping the race of everyday life, great aromas of food, families getting together, and seeing friends. Yes, even with the normal dysfunctional family situations of dealing with our own oddities seemed to be dealt with, diminished, ignored or resolved during this family gathering holiday. The house where the turkey is prepared was the place to wake up to that heavenly aroma of cooking that only Thanksgiving can produce.

To a child of the Boomer Generation, Thanksgiving meant waking to that wonderful smell of the turkey roasting in the oven, then rushing down to watch the Thanksgiving parade on TV and getting primed for Christmas and waiting for Santa to show up at the end of the parade. Thanksgiving was all about food. I have old family photos of my Dad’s dinning room display of food. He set up this display of fruit, berries, nuts, crackers, cheeses and anything else he could think of. Of course he managed an A&P grocery store at the time, which obviously helped. My Dad was always ready to set up a display of anything, most likely from displaying food in the grocery stores. Even during his later years as a car salesman, he would decorate his office with a full display of fall leaves and deer so he could enjoy the feeling that the Fall brings to us all.  I am very aware that I was fortunate to have been born who and where I was to enjoy the abundance of food and memories. There were so many who did not have this abundance, who I was oblivious to as a child. Especially during the post World War II, 1950’s,

Thanksgiving was originally a way of celebrating the year’s harvest of the crops, but it seemed logical and appropriate to make it an event of taking some time to give thanks for all the blessings we have. Our first President of the United States, George Washington, proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America, marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.” (Wikipedia)

All of us at David’s Music House are so very thankful to each of you who support and spread the word of what we do. I will never take the blessings of starting my first business and watching it grow into one of the most respected sources of Music Education in the South Hills and surrounding area. As a lover of music and a life long musician for over 55 years, I have always known that whatever I started, had to have a mission and goal that was purely from my heart and not to make money. I feel this is what makes David’s Music House unique and successful, in that this message is felt and known by all the wonderful families and students who choose to come to us for their music learning.

Each and every one of us at ‘da House, wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday.  May you all take time out this Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for all the blessings you have and enjoy the day with family and friends.

Peace and Love,

David

 

Success Is My Only Choice

More than a month ago

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Seven years ago, David’s Music House opened it’s door on the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the new century. Yep…it was 10.10.10 October, 10, 2010. If that wasn’t a sign of “meant to be”, then how about a shy, quiet, person who never took a risk in his life…leaving a secure job of 22 years, at the time of our country’s worst depression since the “Great Depression” of the 20th Century, beginning to plan the very first business he ever attempted, financed solely on his own, with his own life’s savings, but starting this new small business in the county’s worst economic times of our lives. What was I thinking??? Frankly, I wasn’t thinking of risk or failure at all! I was moving on a inner voice and drive and purpose that I really had no idea where it was coming from, nor how I was able to do something that was unlike my behavior ever!

This same drive within me that started when I was 40 years old, is still the dominant force that is continuing the growth and steady success of David’s Music House as we hit our 7th year Anniversary. There are so many reasons for this growth and success, which I have spoken and written about often but the single underlying purpose of a personal passion to do what I call “fix something that has always be the center of my emotional passage through life – Why can’t people just be kind to each other?” I have been bewildered since my earliest memories of why a human being, upon meeting another human, feels a need to hurt, hit, curse or take something away from them. I truly can not stop being affected by this, to this day, every minute of every day! It astounds me that at the very least, simply not interacting at all would even be a better social behavior than a negative, purposeful confrontation. This question of human behavior that continues to puzzle me is the single purpose of everything we do at David’s Music House. We use Music, which is the only communication tool that connects directly to the core of people’s emotions, bypassing language, nationalities and even visibly different appearances of each other. We know we can use Music to connect to each other, and then Mentor students, families and community by showing our examples of good behaviors.

I take this passion very seriously. DMH Teachers are not just teachers. I insist that they are trained, coached and reminded to Mentor students by setting examples of not just how to play and instrument or sing, but how to perform with others, how to care for your instrument, how to be responsible by practicing your instrument to realize success through performance to an audience, and love of hearing how your music makes yourself feel good. DMH Music Mentors must realize that students emulate and watch not only how they perform but how they behave, interact and support others. Students watch their Mentors all the time. This is why I continue to say that “The Lesson Room is only the FIRST STEP” in what we do at DMH. DMH strives to insure the atmosphere and surroundings within DMH provide a comfortable, safe and nurturing environment with a single message – We do everything we can do promote love of music and support of others through our use of music, toward Kindness, Support, Happiness, Peace and Love.

So, for whatever reason, this drive that has been a dominate force within myself to “fix” what makes people be unkind, keeps me on this path, keeps me focused or brings me back to focus whenever the hard tasks of running a growing small business wears on me. I have no choice but to keep doing what I am doing, guided mostly by my gut or inner voice that drives me to overcome obstacles, find new innovations, improve processes and keep everyone who is a part of the DMH Team on track to keep inspiring and mentoring students to discover “WHY” they began this musical journey and why it’s so rewarding and important for all of us to do   everything we can do make our world kinder, smarter, supportive of others and promote Peace and Love…through the magic that is “The Power of Music”.

Peace & Love,

David

Why Do I Have To Come To Music Lessons Every Week?

More than a month ago

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If you find yourself, as a student, or a parent of a student saying this…there is a problem! The Good News is…DMH is here to help!

David’s Music House was born out of a yearning to help people discover the value of music and provide the mentors to lead students on that path. I was inspired by a deep desire to find a way to insure students who are beginning to learn to play an instrument, realize why they need to continue learning. Too often music lessons alone will frustrate and bore students who end up wanting to quit at some point. We have all heard many people say how they wished they had kept up their music lessons as they wished they could play an instrument. What is missing in music education is the “Inspiration” to make the learning experience exciting and provide a reason for the continued lessons.

There are many music teachers who are musicians looking to earn extra money so they find a way to give lessons. This is not to say they don’t care about their students, but often the structure is not there to support the teacher to do everything they can to take that student to their highest potential, before the student ends up losing interest and quitting.

David’s Music House provides that structure….just as a House or Home does, where everything in the house serves a single overall purpose. We each live in a house that provides everything we need to live and learn along the path of life. The house provides shelter, warmth, food, clothing, protection and we learn how to grow and become the persons we are “inspired” to be from the mentoring others in the house provide.

David’s Music House is a House of Music and everything in it exists to teach and provide the “inspiration” for its members to grow in that same way, to be all they desire to be, in music and the arts. Our parents, in our house, are the teachers and mentors. This is THE REASON your choice to become part of our David’s Music House Family will provide the best possible outcome and the development of your child or, in the case of older students, your own music skills! DMH Teachers are not here to give a lesson and send you on your way. I continue to use the word, “Mentor” when I talk about DMH teachers because that is THE ONLY type of teacher we have.

A student’s musical journey at David’s Music House begins in the lesson room, but you will also learn:

How to perform to an audience.

How to keep an audience entertained.

How to perform with and support other musicians.

To understand that the sound of the whole group is more important than each individual performer.

To become experienced on stage by performing many times on stage.

How to take care of and respect your instrument.

How to love ALL types of music, thus learning to be open minded.

How to be proud of your ability and yet humble enough to support others.

How to be organized, practice daily and make sure arriving at your lesson, on time and prepared teaches responsibility, organizational skills and continuously performing better.

WHY you love music and performing it.

Another part of this effort is consistency. To gain the full potential of what any student can achieve, they need to make a commitment to learn, practice and come to each and every lesson. As with any effort, only consistency and continual practice will enable growth and success.

Muscle Growth from constant training

Muscle Loss from lack of training

If someone wants to build body muscle, that muscle growth cannot happen when exercising that muscle occurs randomly, with periods of no training. In this case, you must rebuild muscle tissue from what was lost during the time of no exercise. Someone would likely see this as failure, which leads to giving up and quitting.

 

Two things show us achievement…1.) remembering the purpose or goal and 2.) never stopping growth to achieve that goal.

When students often miss lessons or take long breaks, they must begin rebuilding what was lost, thus they don’t see themselves getting better and cannot be inspired to continue.

David’s Music House is here for the entire journey of development of anyone, of any age, to ensure that students are not only taught how to play, but WHY and then are asked…”How far do you want to go”? Then as Mentors, our teachers set examples of discipline, practicing, arriving at lesson time and most of all….having FUN!

When you join the DMH Family, we will do everything we can to provide the very BEST “Total Music Experience”.

I want to thank each of you for coming to David’s Music House and for your continual support by spreading the word to the community of what we are doing here.

Peace and Love,

David

 

One Team – One Purpose

More than a month ago

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david on stageThis article is a letter to our current DMH student families, as well as the surrounding communities of David’s Music House. As a life long musician and parent, I wanted to create a business that would serve a purpose of making the world a bit better, less arrogant, less combative, less judgmental, more friendly, more kind, more supportive of one another. This has been an underlying mission of my entire life as I questioned others’ intolerance and judgmental indifference.

The environment at DMH is completely unique in that everyone’s focus is totally on the needs of the students and the parents’ goals. As creator and owner of David’s Music House, I am keenly aware that often issues can arise, such as a young student wanting the same gender for a teacher, or perhaps a parent may want a teacher who has a firmer approach to insure their child follows and learns discipline. Other parents may only want the experience to be fun, and may feel that strictness will destroy the desire to learn. I understand these parental desires and that is why I require teachers do a blend of firm and formal learning, but also make it FUN. The world loses when a child wants to stop learning music.

Students who come to DMH do not belong to any one teacher. We only have teachers at David’s Music House who act as ONE TEAM, with the sole purpose of insuring the student is always inspired and WANTS to continue learning. Every teacher at David’s Music House is trained to look for “disinterested” signs from students. Actions are taken such as introducing the student to a completely different instrument and teacher, have them observe and maybe even make a connection that may lead to a duo, trio or ensemble performance experience or even suggest the student switch to another teacher. We all know that the student-teacher bond is a strong connection of trust and mutual admiration. This does not mean that every teacher is the best match for every student. This is why, at David’s Music House, every teacher is advised from the first day they join our DMH Family, that the student does not belong to any single teacher. Teachers at David’s Music House are in harmony with ONE GOAL …… to meet the needs of every single student and parent!

I speak to parents often about the fact that we are here for your child to explore music and all of our teachers are here for you. I encourage parents come forward if you are interested in switching to another instrument if they, or their child, tells them they want to do so. We will accommodate and arrange for a meeting between your current teacher and another to discuss the transition to a new teacher and experience. NO PARENT OR STUDENT who comes to David’s Music House should EVER feel that they cannot ask to try a new instrument or different teacher.

I TAKE THE TRUST AND PARTNERSHIP OF THE FAMILIES OF THE COMMUNITY VERY SERIOUSLY AND DAVID’S MUSIC HOUSE EXISTS SOLELY FOR THE BETTERMENT OF US ALL. MY REASON FOR CREATING THE SCHOOL IS A MISSION OF DOING EVERY THING POSSIBLE TO INSPIRE AND MENTOR STUDENTS TO KEEP DISCOVERING THE ‘WHY’ OR THE REASON THEY LOVE MUSIC OR PLAYING A PARTICULAR INSTRUMENT. WE WANT TO GIVE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO DISCOVER MUSIC AND THE POWER OF MUSIC AND WHAT IT CAN DO FOR THEM….AND ALL OF US.” – DAVID

Please feel free to email me anytime for any reason at David@davidsmusichouse.com or to DMH@davidsmusichouse.com. As always…..I thank each and every one of you for your continued Love and Support of what we are doing.

Peace & Love,

David