Meghan Bowman

 

Seasons Greetings

As I sit here preparing to sing at a friend's funeral tomorrow, I weep. 

 

Why are the holidays so hard for so many? Why is there so much darkness surrounding us? 

 

If this resonates with you, I want to tell you, you are not alone. Because of my work in music therapy, along with my teaching job, partnered with my other musical ventures, I come into close proximity with hundreds of people every week, and I have been noticing a theme over the past few weeks: people are hurting and people are stressed. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas. And something I have learned is that pain makes me really present (something we often aren't in our technology, social media driven world). So this Christmas, as I struggle a little bit, I allow my own pain and stress to help me learn what's really important. I'm trying to let go of any pressure I feel from others to buy the whole world gifts, or do a ton of Christmas baking or whatever. And i just want to enjoy the holidays. I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with my friends and family. 

 

But first, I grieve with my loved ones tomorrow. Recognizing that we lost another great friend. 

 

Merry Christmas to you. Thank you for being a part of my journey. 

A blog about hateful comments and losing followers.

I'm not really sure how to write this post. I have been trying to write something like this for the past few months, but I always press "delete" instead of "publish". 

 

I'm not sure if I should be light-hearted or really really honest about what is happening in my heart at the moment. I'm not sure if it'll be too much for people. I have often felt like I can be "too much". 

 

I have spent the past 3 years learning how to be open and honest and vulnerable in my day to day life, as well as on social media. I am at the point though, where I am calculating the cost. Is it worth it? It's a difficult thing to put your honest self out there... to find so much crtisicim and rejection. Rejection sucks. Am I right? it just does. We often get really angry and hateful when we've been rejected. It lessens the blow it seems, when you can aim your rejection at someone else. Maybe you can even find someone else to reject. But it takes way more guts to actually feel the hurt, admit the pain and then move on, putting the pieces back together. 

 

Ok let's get to it.

 

What really inspired this post, is a comment I received this morning on one of my YouTube videos. I'm not going to tell you it word for word - it was quite colourful. But it was something about how I should get off of my ****** *** and actually contribute to society. 

 

I'm not going to give you any context for what this comment was aimed at, and I'm not going to explain it much further.

 

I shut off my phone, immediately upon reading these words that a stranger directed at me, I put my head in my hands for a second and just felt that rush go through my body. Does anyone else ever feel that? It's kind of exhausting. Sometimes this feeling feels like it could knock me out. Sometimes I'm simply in my car when I feel it, and I have to just put my hand on my heart for a sec and tell myself I'm ok. 

 

How did we get here? Why do we treat people like this? I love the internet, I really do. I know it has benefited my life. But it has also created this really ugly part of society, where we feel the need to tell someone, when we don't like them.

 

Some of you may be thinking, this comment was isolated. No it wasn't. The more I put myself out there - the more this happens.

 

But the more I have put myself out there, the more people have appreciated it too. I have had people from all corners of the world send me an email to tell me about something I did that they really liked.

 

Thank you to those people. That has been a cool part about all this. 

 

I'm feeling exhausted suddenly so will write the "losing followers" portion later. For now, let's just agree to continue trying to learn how to like ourselves. That's really the only way to deal with stuff like this. And also, let's learn how to tell someone we appreciate what they do, when we feel that way.

life and love and loneliness.

Hello World,

 

What a crazy life. What a crazy world. Full of heartache. Full of disappointment. Full of beauty and generosity. And I am convinced that one cannot live without the other. Darkness and light are opposites and they reveal each other. 

 

It is in the seasons of despair that I have learned what gratitude, joy and worship look like. It is in loneliness that I have learned how to let people in. It is because of hard times that I can appreciate and live in the beautiful, fullest moments.

 

Time keeps moving. I keep celebrating birthdays. Babies keep being born and people keeping passing away. I can't stop such things. I can only keep moving on with time. 

 

*You may wonder what sparked such a blog post and often I get real specific about what's going on with me. But not today. Today I just needed to be real vague. Thanks for reading. Keep walking.

Now Offering: Online Skype Voice Lessons

I have a couple spots available to take on one or two more vocal students via Skype. 

 

Send me an email at meghanbowmanmusic@gmail.com to tell me what you are looking for during a voice lesson and we can work something out. You can sign up for one lesson or weekly lessons. 

 

 

First Orchestra Experience

Hello, thanks for visiting this page.

 

Life keeps changing so drastically. I keep changing so drastically. 

 

Things seem like they get harder and harder. But at the same time, I feel like in the midst of the difficulty, I have greater appreciation for the simple things. For example, sometimes after a long, hard day, I head out for a walk on the grid road (if I'm at my parents) and just enjoy the quiet and the sunset. I might see some wildlife - I've seen lots of coyotes, a moose and several deer on that road and I'll just enjoy watching them in their simplicity. Yes, occasionally, scary things happen - like I had a coyote stalk me once... but I grew up in this area and I know what to do if animals start to turn on me. 

 

The funny thing is, I always bring my phone and headphones with the intention of listening to the latest album I downloaded on my phone... but I rarely actually follow through on it. 

 

I am a musician, so maybe you think that music would fill my ears most of the day. But I have never been one to put on my music while I'm doing homework... sometimes I do when I'm cleaning, or exercising... but often I just love the sounds that the world around me creates. 

 

Or I love silence. Someone I went on tour once, said "silence is underrated" as we were discussing what album to put on in the car for the next stretch of driving. She was indicating that it was ok to not turn any music on. I agreed whole heartedly with her.

 

Do you know that silence is an important part of the music. As I have recently become a music teacher, I have been teaching students about the values of each rest (like an eight note rest vs. a quarter note rest). If you don't like music theory, or don't like talking about it, stay with me here, I will stop soon. 

 

My point is... if there were no rests in music ever... the notes wouldn't be as beautiful or as organized. It is the rests that make the phrasing so beautiful. What I'm getting at here is it is my appreciation for silence that makes my appreciation for music so much greater.

 

The reason why I actually started writing this is to talk about my first orchestra experience. That happened recently! Last week, I spent all week with a group of about 30 different string players learning orchestral music. At the end of the week, we played our dress rehearsal in a hospital (treated it like a flash mob) and then played our final concert at the end of the week. Somehow we ended up having about two hours worth of material! That's all I have to say about that now. I'm about to head out to teach.

xoxox

Musician To Do List.

I thought it would be fun to show you what an average day looks like for the average musician.

 

I am writing this post with the awareness that I may not be what everyone would consider the "average musician". But I am just that...

 

There is this fantasy about what said "average musician" is. To be honest, I'm not even sure what that fantasy entails anymore.

But I can assure you, what the "average musician" really is... is someone who is working their tail off. They may be experiencing some level of success at the moment. They may not be worried about how they're going to pay their power bill... but they have likely had their fair share of moments like that. 

 

If they are going through a period of success, they are probably also experiencing an equal level of rejection. I have learned that the more people you have listening to you, or following you, the more likely you are going to receive emails or comments from people who don't get you or don't like what you're doing or they may even not like YOU (or they think they don't).

 

The musician works hard at their craft. They probably have several projects on the go at one time and have to learn how to have stamina to complete some of those projects, and they have to have the intelligence to know which ones to let go of. 

 

To Do List for today (literally):

 

1) Wake up + coffee

2) catch up on emails

3) Finish editing new Cello Diaries video and upload to Youtube (new thing I have been working on)

4) Instagram business

5) Practice cello - lesson tomorrow - get bar 34 down on the Minuet so I can move on this week!

6) Finish Music Therapy internship proposal and send to my supervisor

7) Coffee

8) Vacuum music room and living room

9) Do laundry

10) Set up voice/piano student schedule for August

11) Lunch

12) Teach some awesome piano/voice students for a few hours

13) Late supper.

14) ...

7 Things I Learned About Vulnerability

Hello all. It's been awhile. 

Things are rapidly changing. My life is changing. I am changing. 

I have spent the last few years of my life practicing vulnerability. What is vulnerability? What does it look like? Is it good? Bad? What does it feel like?

I was sure that vulnerability was what the world was looking for... I was sure it was what I was looking for. Therefore, I released my most vulnerable work to date: The Watchmen. This album was/is a lot of things. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I wrote it about a weird thing I experienced on a bus one day with a stranger. 

I have told this story a handful of times now and you think it would get easier. You think once you release an album about a certain thing and have processed the thing more than you have processed greater tragedies in your life, that it would get easier. 

But basically, the dude on the bus said some aggressive things to me. He scared me. My body and mind and voice reacted in strange ways. Then his hands were on me. 

I don't want to say anymore about it in this moment. It still makes me feel weird.The police got involved and called it an assault. I can assure you... I didn't want it be that. That's what you call something after someone has a mark or a scar or blood on them right? I didn't think I had any of those things on me.

But my life was affected in ways greater than I care to admit. I am still affected. I experience all sorts of reactions from people. Some don't know what to say to me, and some think I should get over it. 

Anyways, I am in a time in my life where I am questioning the level of vulnerability I want to be with people. Can you be too vulnerable? I'm not sure. But that's not really what this blog is about. It's about the things I have learned the past few years as I have been practicing vulnerability.

 

1) It doesn't feel how you think it's going to feel. The idea of vulnerability is romantic, but it often feels terrifying. 

- I remember getting ready to tell my story in front of rooms full of people this year. I remember standing in front of my stove one time wondering how in the world I was going to get through it. I remember feeling weak in the knees and even somewhat dehydrated. I wasn't sure if I could go through with it. I didn't want to be that exposed. But then I always got through it. I told the people. Sometimes I cried, sometimes I didn't. And afterwards, it felt different then I expected too. I felt strong and weak at the same time. I feel like people knew my weakness, and that was a scary thing. Sometime I felt super connected to people, and sometimes my vulnerability made me feel more alone. Which brings me to #2

 

2) There is no guaranteed outcome with vulnerability.

- this is actually the definition of vulnerability. The whole point of being vulnerable is to let someone see you... the real you. And you hope to be accepted and appreciated by them. But there is no guarantee that they will accept you.Which brings me to #3

 

3) Vulnerability is risky. 

4) Vulnerability is a gift to others.

- we live in such a shallow world. At least I think so. We are connecting via social media, and we are putting our best pictures forward. I consider it a gift when someone is willing to show me their true self.

 

5) Vulnerability is a gift to yourself. 

- don't waste your time being someone else. Learn the art of being vulnerable so that you can be truly known.

 

6) It hurst like a bugger to be rejected in the midst of being vulnerable.

- If you put your honest self forward, show your heart, and are rejected, it's going to sting.

- Like I said, there are no guarantees. You may be rejected. I have been rejected. And it's ok. Rejection can be a gift too. It certainly doesn't feel that way. But when someone rejects you, consider it an opportunity to find your worth in yourself instead of finding it in what that person thinks/feels about you.

 

7) Vulnerability needs boundaries. 

- Brene Brown talks about this. Look up some of her work. She'll explain it better. But basically, I'll just say... that being vulnerable isn't just about spilling your garbage everywhere for everyone to see. Vulnerability has boundaries, there is balance to it. And that is beneficial for both you and the person witnessing your vulnerability.

What music has taught me. First lesson: I am not a master.

About six years ago, I was heading into a studio in Regina to lay down a demo. I was so excited. The person who invited me into the studio had recently heard my music, and called me in to do what they called an "Off The Floor" Session. They hired an engineer and a producer for the session and I had four hours to lay down a few of my songs on a grand piano. To make this deal even sweeter, I was paid $500 for my time. WHAT?! Most musical experiences are not this awesome. And it is perhaps too bad that this was one of my first experiences as a young singer-songwriter because I didn't truly appreciate how great this experience truly was.

 

I actually don't remember a lot about the recording session. Likely because I had the flu the day before we were recording and still felt quite nauseas and dehydrated as I was singing/playing. However, I do remember trying to pretend that I knew what I was doing in front of the producer and engineer... but I really didn't know what I was doing. I had never been in a real studio before, playing to a click track and trying to sing the vocals just right while trying to hit the right notes on the piano. I learned a lot from this experience. But the thing that sticks out the most to me is what the engineer said as we were closing up for the night, and he was walking me to my car. He told me to "keep a healthy perspective" as I continued in my musical ventures. At the time, I'm sure I thought I knew what he meant. But let's be real; I'm still figuring out what that means, to "keep a healthy perspective" as a musician. 

 

For the sake of being organized (which I am naturally not) I will put this blog into bullet points of some things I have learned in the past few years from the music world. 

 

Let me start by saying, I'm not claiming to be a master at anything. And I guess that's #1.

 

1) I am not a master. Perhaps the most important thing I ever learned about music is that there will always be more to learn. Don't get so high and mighty about yourself that you become unteachable. Just don't do it. 

 

2) Learn how to rest. 

* I'm still figuring this out. But what I know, is that I learn how to be more productive, when I learn how to rest. I need both in my life. This is an important skill to learn for anyone, anywhere, doing any sort of job.

* Let me give you an example. I have recently been learning how to play the cello. What a crazy, intense, sensitive instrument to learn. When I started, I wanted to see how far I could progress on this instrument in one month. There's a youtube video about this experience out there somewhere. Initially, I had a goal of practicing eight hours of cello a day or something. But it was quite difficult for me to even get three hours in. Why? Because I hadn't built up the muscles to sustain playing the cello for that long (also I don't think very many people on planet earth play the cello for eight hours a day. Perhaps some fourth year cello majors do.) Therefore, I had to learn how important it was to learn when to stop in order to let my body rest to actually build the muscle, instead of injuring what little muscle I had. Now you should see me... I've got massive wrist/arm muscles! JK people. I still can't do five push ups. I can however do a handful of new things on the cello that my wrists couldn't do before.

 

3) There will always be someone more skilled than you. And that's a gift. Don't treat them like garbage just to make yourself feel better. Playing with them will make you a better musician. 

* I have noticed a trend; as I have acquired more and more musical education, I have found that I have been talked down to by fellow musicians more and more. I have been trying to figure out this correlation because it doesn't make sense, right? What I believe is happening is this... there is a lot of insecurity in the world of music. 

I have had my fair share of places where I have felt insecure in music. Even tonight... I was teaching a young girl something on the piano, and SHE ABSOLUTELY SCHOOLED ME IN WHAT I WAS TRYING TO TEACH HER. She was amazing. I found myself feeling threatened or something. I thought to myself, 'YOU think you can teach HER?!? She's amazing!' But instead of complimenting her and being amazed at her level of skill... I found myself trying to overcompensate and show her what I had to offer. I didn't want to focus too much on her ability because afterall, she was there to learn from me right?!  Oh boy. We have to be aware of this. This brings me to my next point.

 

4) In music, you need to have a healthy dose of confidence. But you also need humility. This is especially true when learning a new instrument. You need confidence to try those intense scales or whatever, but you need humility to be able to keep going when you bomb that scale. If you get in your own head and start criticizing everything about what you did... you won't last long. 

* Work on your confidence. Take risks. Work your butt off to be better and then play that piece at a recital. Or for your dog if no one else will listen. But be humbled by the moments you fumble, or someone better enters to room. Learn from all of your experiences. Let even the hard moments in music make you a better musician, but perhaps a better person too. 

 

5) Competition is a part of the music world. That's ok. But the person who you should really compete against is yourself. Sounds cheesy. But it's true.

 

One more.

 

6) Sing your own freakin song. Don't try to be like anyone else. Don't try to have the exact same style of playing as someone else does. Be influenced by many different artists/players, but be yourself and be thankful for what you have to offer that no one else does. 

* This is why the voice is my favourite instrument. Your voice is like your fingerprints - nobody's is quite like yours. 

What we all need.

WHAT WE ALL NEED. After food, water and shelter of course. 

 

1) To feel loved. To feel significant. To be significant to someone. 

2) To feel valuable. Like you have something to offer society. 

3) Community, companionship. To have those people in your life who accept you for who you are. The people who stay when you're going through a hard time. They listen when you just need to 'vent'. 

4) To love. This one is different than the first one. I am starting to believe it is important to learn how to love well. There are things you feel and learn and understand after you experience loving someone that you can not experience by being loved.

 

 

15 Facts About 'The Watchmen'


 Here are 15 facts about The Watchmen:

 

 1) I recorded it with my friend Darryl Kissick. Some of the tracks I recorded myself in my house... but because my equipment was breaking I think only one or two vocal tracks I recorded made it onto the final product.

 

 2) Creative Sask helped fund the creation of it. And a farmer friend gave me some money to "follow my dreams" so he also invested in it.

 

 3) At one point during the recording, I tried to bang on the bottom of a piano (like actually - we opened the piano up to hit the strings) to make cool sounds and tones hoping it would make the album. It didn't. Sometimes my ideas don't work out.

 

 4) The first tracks we recorded for it were piano tracks on an out of tune piano. We were hoping those would make the cut (for an eerie effect), but again they didn't.

 5) The same guy who mastered Shawn Mendes album mastered my album. True fact.

 

6) It's harder for me to sing these songs now... and talk about how they came to be, then it was when I first released them

 

7) So I'll let the talented Daniel Bushman explain it to you

 

http://meghanbowman.com/files/laa_20160125_a16_07.pdf

 

http://meghanbowman.com/files/Meghan_Bowman_-_Advisor.pdf

 

8) I made a video about it too. My brother Jesse filmed it for me on my parent's land

 

9) Track 9 was recorded on my Iphone 5 in my uncle's grain bin. I'm feeling more and more Saskatchewanian as I write this.

 

10) I don't consider these songs to be the best songs I've ever written. They weren't written with skill in mind... they were written in the moments I was incredibly frustrated and confused. I was a music therapy student while writing this album, so I was using tools I was learning in class to write these songs.

 

11) Most of these songs were written with the intent of never showing a soul. I betrayed myself and released them. But it's ok, I forgive myself too. 

 

12) Every place I have shared these songs, I think I have cried. No regrets.

 

13) My favourite part of the album is the page in the album cover where you can read ten quotes by people who have experienced sexual violence. This is only available on the physical CD.

 

14) My mom bought the most copies. No one will ever beat my Momma.

 

15) Sask Music included it on their "Best Albums of 2016" long list. I am thankful. You can vote for it if you like it. And if you don't like it, that's cool - vote for another Sask artist. They're all great. 

 

You can listen to the album here:

meghanbowman.bandcamp.com

 

Voting happens here:

http://www.esurveyspro.com/App/Polls/DirectPoll.aspx?id=49090

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