Monday, December 31, 2012


Greetings, people!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are now enjoying some down time before the busy-ness of next year starts up again!

After Esther's comment reminded me that I still have a blog (that's right, I actually forgot!), I decided I might bore you all with a summary of my year. Many of you have probably heard a lot of this before, so my apologies if I bore you with my life story a second time.

Driving was probably the most exciting and life-changing highlights of 2012. You've probably seen my post about when I got my P's AND my first car ON THE SAME DAY!! (It also happened to be my 17th birthday, but in comparison, birthdays are insignificant.) That awesome feeling still hasn't worn off when I realize I no longer need to nag one of my parents to take me somewhere or beg a lift with a longsuffering friend. Instead, I have enjoyed giving many, many lifts to siblings and friends, and making the most of the FREEDOM that driving brings. Best of all, my parents are soooooo relieved now they don't have to worry about stressing out with an L-plater (until July.....).

Diploma - I now hold an Associate Diploma in Flute Performance!!! Stressful as it was, the whole exam experience was by far my most enjoyable yet. I usually enjoy exams, but having never done a diploma exam before, I was a little unsure as to what to expect. Once I was in the room and started playing, though, the hours of practice took control, and I was so happy to play all my pieces the best I had ever played them before! I was so excited afterwards that I didn't care (and didn't know) whether I had passed or failed - I was just pleased to have done my personal best. My teacher was so helpful and encouraging, and I learnt so much that the mark seemed unimportant. It was still very exciting to find out I passed, though, and now I can put the letters after my name as a proper accreditation!!

Graduating Year 12 was probably the most anti-climactic achievement of the year, actually. It just didn't seem nearly as exciting as what I had always anticipated. It's still a great feeling when I realize I don't need to worry about school anymore, but because I had been doing so little school work (life and music kind of took over), school kind of fizzled out without my noticing it was all finished. I have always enjoyed school and really valued the opportunity to learn about so many things, that if it weren't for the fact that I get to move on to bigger and better things now, I would actually be a little sad that I will never do school again.

Teaching has been probably my biggest focus in Term 4, and I have really valued the experience I have gained over this year. Working with much younger students than I was used to, I quickly learnt how trying teaching can be. In Term 4 I had over 20 students, about half of whom were primary-aged students who rarely touched their instruments in between lessons. My patience was seriously tested when one particular student failed to even bring his music for the first FIVE lessons! Repeated notes and phone calls to parents didn't seem to alleviate the problem, so eventually I bought a copy of his book so he had no excuse to skip the lesson. I guess you could say I gained some valuable life experience, though it just felt like hard work at the time. In any case I managed to save up a bit of money, and gave some students the opportunity to discover music, so I am happy with how things went. I hope to continue teaching some of my students in 2013 on a fortnightly basis (since I will be living in Canberra).

Some other highlights of 2012 include having my own room for most of the year and playing in two professional orchestras for Handel's Messiah and Haydn's Creation - both ASTOUNDING pieces of music!!!

It has been a great year for learning about what matters in life, with many lessons learnt the hard way that will hopefully not be forgotten in a hurry! I have yet to learn many other lessons as well, and pray for God's guidance so that I don't become distracted and lose focus while at uni next year. Studying and working both have their place, but I want to make sure not to lose sight of the things that really last.

See you next year! Have a great New Year's Eve, and let me know what your highlights in 2012 were!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Orchestra Concert!!!

It seems that the only time I blog these days is to promote some event I'm involved in! Sorry 'bout that. One day I will find the time to sit down and write about what has been happening with finishing school, passing my diploma exam, applying and auditioning for uni, 6-a-side soccer, and teaching. One day. Unfortunately today is not that day.

This week I will be spending most of my time finalising preparations for the Snowy Mountains Ensemble's first Orchestra Concert. It is so exciting, but also rather stressful when things don't go according to plan (which is always).

We are playing some pretty awesome pieces of music including:
  • 'Memory' from Cats by Andrew Lloyd-Webber
  • Vivaldi's Four Seasons (Spring and Autumn)
  • Monti's Czardas
  • 'Jupiter' from Holst's Planets Suite
  • Celtic dances

We are also very privileged to have some very talented guest players from Cooma, Bega and Sydney! One of our guest players is a member of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and she will be performing Autumn and Czardas as a soloist with the orchestra!

You can watch a kind of preview to the concert here. We recorded this yesterday; it is Monti's Czardas played by Jessie Regan. If you want to hear the full orchestra version, come and listen to us on Saturday night!

It should be a great evening, and I hope you can make it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Preview: Flute Recital

Here is a sneak peak of what we will be performing on the weekend. This is one of the pieces that I will be playing with Caitlyn at my recital. Hope to see you there on Sunday!
P.S. If you want a good laugh, watch the accompanist's face at the end, or the sound guy in the background spilling his coffee. =)

Friday, August 10, 2012

My First Recital

Hi everyone,

This is my first solo recital, and it would mean so much to me if you could come and bring your friends and family along! My Diploma exam is a few weeks later, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to perform my exam program before the big day.

I promise I will try my best to make it an AWESOME afternoon, and if nothing else, there will be a scrumptious home-baked afternoon tea worth coming for!! Anthony Smith and Caitlyn Ventura will be performing some items with me so there will definitely be some great music even if I don't do well. :)

Hope to see you there with all your friends! =)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

National Day of Epic Transportational Freedom

At least that's the way I like to think of it. Anyone who knows me will be well aware of the fact that I have been eagerly anticipating this day for YEARS. And that's an understatement. I have literally been counting down the days for months, so you can imagine how shocked I was when I woke up this morning and realized that I was down to 0 days!!!

After the last minute panic of realizing my driving test was 30 minutes earlier than I thought and trying (unsuccessfully) to change the time of my pre-exam driving lesson, we left at 9:05am this morning and drove around town doing some last-minute parking and 3-point-turn practice. Then I had a lesson with a very competent and encouraging instructor which was cut short so I could return to the RTA in time to take the exam.

The exam itself went reasonably well; I wasn't nervous, but was quite stressed and felt terrible to start with. It got better, though, and by the end of the test I was feel pretty confident (except for when I had to undertake for the first time ever - in the exam!).

Fortunately I PASSED!!!!! As if that wasn't enough to send me over the moon, when I had driven over to meet Mum at the Lolly Shack, I found out that my new car was ready to be picked up!! So I received a double blessing, one of which was a totally unexpected surprise.

 Here he is; doesn't he look handsome? 

 I haven't decided on a name for him yet. Suggestions welcome!

 That's right. P PLATES!!! =)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Looking back...

on 2011 and forward to 2012!!! I copied this blog idea from Bethany's blog and added a few things of my own. :)

The Best Book I read in 2011: would have to be Personality Types by Don Riso with Russ Hudson. I came across it seemingly by chance in the library, and it has proven to be one of the most useful books I've ever read. I know some of you will think it sounds rather weird and nerdy but I can tell you that trying to understand different personalities is something we are all constantly doing whether we realize it or not. This book gives some very good insight to understanding the people around us, their way of thinking, their motivations and fears, and how to relate to them effectively.

The Worst Book I read: I hardly ever read so don't have many books to choose from, but I didn't really like a book I started to read earlier on in the year, The India Rubber Men. I can't even remember much about it except that I found it a bit dry and uncaptivating.

The Best Movie I watched: Although it wasn't actually released in 2011, we watched Tangled a number of times during the year, and I always appreciate what a good movie it is. Apart from being a very well-made film, it's relaxing and easy to watch, and despite outward appearances, a good film for the whole family. (At first I was put off the whole "Disney princess movie" idea, but surprisingly it wasn't what I expected and actually has a lot that we guys can relate to as well).

The Worst Movie I watched: The Inspector General. It's really annoying, corny, and "cringe-ful". Why people make movies like this one is beyond me. What makes things worse is half the family finds it very amusing, which means we have to see it (or at least hear it in the background) occassionally.

My Favourite Holiday: Our October holiday at Culburra Beach was not only my favourite holiday of 2011, but the best holiday of my life so far. It was fantastic to just get away from all the busyness of life and completely relax (although I was also very glad to get back into the usual routine of things in Term 4).

My Favourite Moment: Getting my L's, passing my Grade 8 Flute exam, and playing a concert as Principal Flute in the CCO, and playing bassoon in a professional orchestra all come pretty close. However, probably my favourite experience of the year was performing Handel's Messiah in Cooma. Messiah is an incredible piece of music, and when you're actually "inside" the music playing it, you experience an incredible sensation that can't be adequately described. To finish off an extraordinary day by performing the Hallelujah Chorus with a very enthusiastic 50-piece choir behind you - not to mention amazing timpani (Caitlyn) - is something you have to experience to understand. The libretto is very Biblical and uplifting, too.

My Favourite New Thing: Well if it counts as a "thing", then teaching flute last year would be my favourite. I still consider it a miracle how God has worked things out for me, and I'm SOOO thankful for everything He's done for me in 2011. Two of my students did AMEB exams (2'nd and 3'rd Grade) last year, and both did very well. The enthusiasm some of my students have is so inspiring, and I can tell you, I've learnt a thing or two from them over the past year as well! I look forward to starting next term with 12 students, and founding a Flute Ensemble to give them even more opportunities.

My Favourite Song or Album: It's kind of complicated. I consider "You Know Better Than I" from Joseph King of Dreams to be the best song ever. At the same time, When You Believe (from Prince of Egypt), is probably my favourite song, while the theme from Jurassic Park is the one I most enjoy listening to. However I've never enjoyed music quite so much as when I am playing the Dvorak Cello Concerto or Symphony No 8 or Handel's Messiah. All these pieces of music are favourites of mine, but all in different ways. As I said, it's hard to explain.

What I'm thankful for in 2011: So many things! God has been so good to me. Apart from what I've already mentioned, some of the more notable things include getting a scholarship for cheaper music lessons at the ANU, learning to drive, being in COOMA!, 6-a-side soccer, our church carols night (one of the highlights of my year, actually), and probably the thing that I've come to appreciate most; all the amazing people that have done so much for me in the past year, especially those like my family who know all my faults and see me at my worst, but still put up with me.

Achievements I have in mind for 2012: 2012 will be a BIG year in my life. I hope to get my P's, buy a car, finish school, do my Flute AMusA, audition for the ANU, start a Flute Ensemble, and finish memorizing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

What about you? What were your highlights of 2011, and what are you looking forward to in 2012?

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It’s (Past) Time for a Reformation

Just thought I'd share with you all an interesting article a friend showed me. Although this article is targeted mainly at charismatics, I think there's a lot in it for e to learn, and it will definitely get you thinking. I'm not endorsing the entire content of the article, but I do think it's worth reading seriously. Let me know what you think of it:

It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation

In honor of Reformation Day, here are some complaints I’m nailing on the Wittenberg door.
Long before there was an Occupy Wall Street, Martin Luther staged the most important protest in history. He was upset because Roman Catholic officials were promising people forgiveness or early escape from purgatory in exchange for money. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed a long list of complaints on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther’s famous 95 theses were translated from Latin into German and spread abroad. Like a medieval Jeremiah, Luther dared to ask questions that had never been asked, and he challenged a pope who was supposedly infallible. Through this brave monk, the Holy Spirit sparked the Protestant Reformation and restored the doctrine of grace to a church that had become corrupt, religious, dysfunctional, political and spiritually dead.

I am no Luther, but I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets.
In honor of Reformation Day, I’m offering my own list of needed reforms in our movement. And since I can’t hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I’ll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere.

1. Let’s reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an “it.” He is not a blob, a force, or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around.
2. Let’s return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any dramatic experience, no matter how spiritual it seems, must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don’t test them we could end up spreading deception.
3. It’s time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
4. Stop playing games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
5. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
6. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to ministers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.
7. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.
8. Expose the creeps. Churches should start doing background checks on traveling ministers. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.
9.  Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our “help” to manifest Himself. That means we don’t sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God’s glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull chicken feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.
10. Let’s return to purity. We’ve had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit.
11. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride.
12.  No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ, and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.
13. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let’s make sure we don’t treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.
14.  Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And “prophets” who live immoral lives don’t deserve a public voice.
15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.
J. Lee Grady

Food for thought? I think so.