Latest Obsessions = Big Magic + Canva

Hey guys!

So lately, I have been obsessed with 2 things:

  1. The book, “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert 
  2. Canva (a website where you can make your own graphics w/ text, etc. Amazing. Go there now.)

Seriously, the book “Big Magic” was just one of those that totally connected with me. I found myself opening my eyes really wide & having these “A-ha” moments ALL THE TIME. I was like, “Is this lady talking directly to me, or what is the deal?” Those types of books are THE BEST. I want to read it again already. It’s all about our creativity, & our relationship with creativity, & how to harness & protect & love & best use our creativity. Fabulous. Buy it now.

As I was reading through the book, I started taking pictures on my phone of the pages with my favorite quotes (I ended up with lots of pictures by the time I was done). Meanwhile, I had also discovered Canva. I had heard about this a long time ago but just never got around to checking it out until now. I am in love. It’s so fun to play around with different graphics & text & font. It’s a fun way to use the “design” part of my creativity.

Anyway, I got to thinking & I figured I’d combine these 2 obsessions & make a whole bunch of canva graphics with my favorite Big Magic quotes! Genius right? Thought so. So, here I am sharing all my creations with you! Hope you enjoy these 🙂

  1. I swear, when I read this quote, it jumped off the page & slapped me in the face. At the time, the author was talking about a woman who had once loved figure skating as an adolescent. She abandoned it for various reasons, but came back to it in her adulthood. It is now a huge part of her life & her happiness to be able to express herself & her creativity in that way. This is what happened to me with my piano stuff. As an adult, I have a totally new perspective on this creative passion of mine. My creative work through the piano is something that makes me happy. If I just focus on that, instead of worrying about everything else I can’t control, all will be OK 😉 Big Magic Quote
  2. Now that I have this passion back, I never want to give it up. Inspiration is a funny thing….sometimes it’s there & sometimes it’s not. Either way, when it does decide to pay you a visit, there is nothing better.
    Big Magic Quote - How I want to spend my life
  3. Trust this feeling. If something is lighting you up, go for it. Life is too short to play it safe.
    Revolution - Big Magic Quote
  4. I have DEFINITELY had this feeling before. I especially feel this way about my song, Stargazer. Considering the fact that was my 2nd song I ever wrote, that it is very complex & probably pushed the skill level I had at 14 years old & still challenges me to this day… I seriously look back at that song & think, “I don’t know where that came from.” Sometimes when writing, I describe it as having an out of body experience. That’s what this quote is talking about. And I definitely relate.
    Big Magic Fairy Dust Quote
  5. I love this one!! It’s so true … even though I often cannot explain how it happened, it’s the best to be able to have a creative work that will NEVER go away. This is the token or souvenir that is inspiration’s gift to me, that I can keep forever.
    Big Magic Souvenir Quote
  6. In the book, Elizabeth talks about creativity like it is its own separate entity. Definitely a different concept, but I love thinking about things in different ways, so I enjoyed it. She talks about ideas & inspiration like they need an outlet RIGHT AWAY otherwise it will leave you & find someone/something else to be expressed through. I connected with this because I’ll often have my best ideas for songs when I’m out walking or driving on long road trips. I’ll have basically the whole song figured out & playing in my head but obviously I don’t have a piano handy to actually let the work out & create it!! However, I can feel that it needs an outlet, otherwise I will forget it & it will leave me. Therefore, thank God for technology, because I will just take my phone out & hum or whistle a voice memo of the melody of the song that is in my head. That way, when I listen to it later, it triggers the whole song that I had figured out in my head & I can then express it through the piano. I have learned to find a way to let the idea out RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT otherwise I may not get it back.
    Big Magic Quote - The Work Wants to Be Made
  7. This quote served as a reminder to me to never shut out my creativity. If a little bout of inspiration hits me, I should try to spend some time with that instead of constantly busying myself with other noise. I often listen to podcasts or music while I walk or drive, but sometimes, I’ll have a little melody pop in my head randomly. When this happens, I will immediately turn off whatever I’m listening to & spend some time with that idea. It often develops in my head & becomes a full song that I will then bring to life through the piano. This quote is also a good reminder not to be afraid to share my work. For the longest time, I was closed off to sharing my songs. I’m not sure if it was humbleness or fear, but either way, I’m glad that I’m getting to the point where I’m courageous enough to share what I’ve created.
    Big Magic Quote - Treasures Inside
  8. HAHA! OK, I apologize in advance for the language in this one, but I just cracked up when I read it. This one is a funny & light-hearted reminder to not take your work so seriously. I need to remember that the work that I create first & foremost is for ME. It’s my very own expression of my encounter with inspiration & so honestly, if no one else likes it, that’s ok, as long as I like it! Obviously, I hope that my work can bring enjoyment to others, but if that’s the case, I consider that bonus! I will continue to share what I create in case it can touch the hearts of others, but if no one else in the world thinks it’s good…. oh well. It wasn’t for them anyway. And they are free to create something they like instead 😉
    Big Magic - Go Make Your Own Art (1)

Honestly, you guys … I could have done 20 more of these but I had to draw the line somewhere. I would highly suggest reading this book. It may not be EVERYONE’s cup of tea, but it sure was mine…. so I couldn’t help but share. Hopefully you all enjoyed the quotes & graphics anyway! 😉

Thanks for visiting! If you’d like to check out some of my musical creations, I’d love it if you would visit my new website!

Stay Creative, Friends 🙂

Love, Janeen

 

 

The Promise – Original Piano Composition

Hey guys!

Well, this is the last song for the ALBUM!!! Exactly 1 week until the recording date!! 🙂

This is the final song that I wrote before my hiatus from composing (if you do not know that story & are interested, check out my Bio on my website.

I actually left this one unfinished for quite awhile. In fact, I really didn’t settle on a final structure/format for the song until I was forced to do so when I set my recording date for this album. This song also went 12 years without being named (poor thing)! So, before recording this album in 2015, I decided it was finally time to do this beautiful thing a favor & name it.

When I really let this song speak to me, I think about weddings & the beautiful union that takes place between husband, wife, & God during a wedding ceremony. Maybe it’s just because I have played this song for many weddings in the past, or because it makes me think of my own wedding & my wonderful husband, Brandon, but either way, that’s what it reminds me of! Although The Promise was named with the big wedding vow in mind, I also think that this song can relate to any commitment that we make, whether that is a promise to others, to God, or to ourselves.

I hope you all enjoy this song! Please leave me some feedback & if you like what you hear, visit my new website for more & join my email list (it would be the best gift you could give me)! Anyone who joins my email list gets put into a drawing for a FREE album!! I’ll be giving one album away every month so join to get in on the goods!

Thanks for listening!!

Also, sheet music  for this song is found here.

-Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
Instagram: janeen.arens

Waves of Change – Original Piano Composition

Hey hey!!

This is the 2nd last song on the docket for the songs that I’ll be recording on “Reflections of Joy” in a week & a half …. eeeee!! Almost there!!

This is a song that I REALLY like but strangely do not share that much! Even my closest family members might be unfamiliar with this one (poor thing!)

This song went unnamed for quite awhile (ok now I’m feeling really bad for this song…haha!) In the meantime, I always referred to it as “The Black Key Song,” because it is in a key with 4 flats, so most of the song is played on the black keys. I remember wanting to come up with something really different when I wrote this song, which is why I focused on mostly black keys. I also played around with different tempos & rhythms & time signatures. The result was a song that’s very interesting & ever changing. When reflecting on all of these factors, we (Mom & I, of course, my song-naming buddy) finally landed on a name … “Waves of Change” … although, I still like to refer to it as The Black Key Song from time to time. 😉

Hope you enjoy this one! I’d be happy if you could give this neglected song some love & let me know what you think of it 😉

Thanks for listening!

-Janeen

 

Quick Craft to Make Use of All Those Christmas Cards!

Hey guys!

I came up with this super quick craft last night (seriously it took me like 5 minutes) & I just figured I’d share, since it’s a really great way to display all of those Christmas cards that we all get in the mail without cluttering up your fridge or just getting lost in a stack somewhere.

Although most of my creativity is applied to my music, I also LOVE paper crafts. I really don’t do it enough, but I just think it’s so fun to play with scrapbook paper & ribbon to make pretty signs, banners, calendars, etc.

So, here’s the step by step on how to make this quick Christmas Card Craft 🙂

1) Buy your supplies! I got everything I needed from my FAVORITE store here in Valentine, Cherry Blossom Paperie. You can get these items at any craft store. You will need:

– Ribbon (I used a thin red sparkly ribbon but you can use whatever ribbon you like!)

– Teeny tiny clothes pins (aren’t these the cutest things you’ve ever seen?)
IMG_3175

– Merry Christmas sign/ornament (optional).

2) Cut your ribbon to the length you desire. Now, we just bought a new house this year & there has been this hook in the ceiling in the corner of our kitchen that we haven’t done anything with. SO, my idea for this project was to hang it from the ceiling & make it vertical. HOWEVER, you could totally do a horizontal version & make it “banner-style.” Just depends on the space you have!

3) Tie the ribbon to the hook (OR tie/tape/fixate to wherever you’re hanging your project if you’re doing a horizontal version).

4) Hang the Merry Christmas ornament at the top. This is optional but I think it just really finishes off the look!

IMG_3171

5) Use the clothespins to fixate your Christmas cards to the ribbon.

IMG_3166

 

Bonus Tip: Since I don’t have a lot of Christmas cards yet, I just filled out the strand of ribbon with these extra cute little cards I found at the paperie store 🙂  When I get more Christmas cards, I’ll replace these little guys with the new ones.

IMG_3167

So there you have it!! See, I told you it was super easy. And here is what the finished product looks like! My husband even loves it & gave me a huge compliment when he got home last night 😉 Yay!

IMG_3159


Hope you can all put this craft idea to good use! It really has already freed up so much space on my fridge & I’m still able to display all of these cards without the clutter! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!

– Janeen

Spanish Dreams – Original Piano Composition

Hello everyone!!

This week’s song that I “relearned” for my big recording date was “Spanish Dreams.” This song is one of the original 12 that will be included on my album “Reflections of Joy” to be released in early 2016.

When I wrote this song, I remember wanting to compose a song in a minor key. A lot of my music that I create is bright & happy & in major keys…. so I mixed it up a bit with this song. The result was a very Spanish sounding arrangement, still upbeat but in a minor key. It provides a bit of a contrast from the other music on my album, but in a good way I think! 😉

Had a good time re-learning this song this week… this is one that I hadn’t played in awhile, so it was nice reconnecting to it & practicing up for my recording date, which is now less than 3 weeks away!! Eeee!

I hope you all enjoy this one! If you do, it would be the best compliment if you could stay connected with me by following this blog (click follow button on right side of page), subscribing to my YouTube Channel or liking my Facebook page 🙂 Until my website is launched in a few months, that’s the best way to stay up to date with album release updates, new music, etc.

Thanks & Happy Listening!!

– Janeen

Days on Grandma’s Farm – Original Piano Composition

Hey guys!!

This week’s song that I’m practicing up for my big recording date (now less than a month away!) is super special to me. It’s called “Days on Grandma’s Farm” & is one of the original 12 I wrote when I was pretty young (14 years old) & it definitely carries a youthful, happy-go-lucky tone, which, of course, brings me back to those good ol’ Days on Grandma’s Farm 🙂

This song is dedicated to my dear grandmother, Geraldine Bruening, who had since passed away at the time of writing this song. Growing up, she lived on a farm place only about 20 minutes from my childhood home. Those memories that I have of days on the farm are ones that I truly cherish…. I cannot put into words how much (although I will attempt), but I guess a song might be the closest I can get! 😉

The consistent pattern of the lower hand in this song depicts the “hum-drum” of the wonderfully simple, everyday life on the farm. Looking back, I realize even more how great of a gift those days on the farm were to me. There was no better feeling than being outside with all my cousins & loved ones, experiencing pure freedom, a sense of adventure as we explored, a creative & playful spirit, & a deep-rooted appreciation for nature & getting your hands dirty sometimes 😉

This is another one of my beautifully simple songs. I hope this song takes you back to a place that has a special imprint on your heart. It honestly makes me tear up when I play this & reflect on the meaning behind it (happy tears of course!). This one’s for you, Grandma B!

– Janeen

Also find me on:
– Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
– Instagram: janeen.arens 
– YouTube: Janeen Arens 

My Sweet Country Home – Original Piano Composition

Hello hello!!

My Sweet Country Home is a simpler song, but that is really the theme of it…. finding beauty in the simplicity. This song is a reminder for us to slow it down & enjoy the simple things in life …. your home, time with family, blue skies, green grass, smiles, laughter, rest, relaxation, & so much more! What simple things are you grateful for today? These are things that we need to pay attention to… slow down the hustle of our lives from time to time & soak in the beautiful simplicity of life that is easy to take for granted.

This song is one of the original 12 songs that I composed & that I will include on my album “Reflections of Joy” to be released in early 2016 (more details on that here).

I hope you all find some peace in this song & recognize the true blessings that are all around you.

Thank you for listening & following my journey!! If you enjoyed this song, it would be a HUGE compliment if you would support me by subscribing to my YouTube channel, following this blog, or following me on Facebook. I’d also love some comments & feedback on what you thought of this simple tune 🙂

 

Until next time,

-Janeen

Unknown Passage – Original Piano Composition

Hi all!!

I’m continuing to put my nose to the grind & master some of these older compositions that I haven’t played in awhile. Need to get all practiced up for the big recording day in a month!

This week’s focus was on one of my favorites … “Unknown Passage.” This one gave me a bit of a challenge, but eventually I was able to get the speed up to snuff… I actually think now I’m playing it a little too fast so will try to slow it down a bit for the album! However, I do remember that the name of the game when starting to compose this one was SPEED! I had just got done composing several slower songs, & I remember thinking to myself that I wanted to write one that was fast & intense. The result…. “Unknown Passage.” It’s a shorter song that’s a bit dark & twisty, packed with intensity, mystery, & speed…. hence the title 😉

Hope you all enjoy this one!! If you do, visit my Music page on the blog to hear more & follow my blog or subscribe to my YouTube channel for new videos each week!

Thanks for listening!

– Janeen

I’m Recording an Album! “Reflections of Joy” to be released in 2016

Hey there!

So, you might have heard the news already but I’m just SO excited about it, I decided that it deserved its own blog post 🙂 I’ve got a recording date set for December 23, 2015 & will be releasing my first official album, “Reflections of Joy” sometime in early 2016 (make sure you follow the blog or my Facebook page for updates!)

In my very first blog post back in March of this year, I got a little personal & described “My Melodic Journey,” which basically explains my piano journey, my motivation for the blog, & why I am where I’m at today (check out that post here). In that post, I had explained my hesitancy about going to a professional recording studio again. I was worried it would put too much pressure on me & make me lose my composition “spark” again. However, since that time, I have been researching like a crazy person & trying to figure out the best route to go. After months & months of research, self reflection, & advice from loved ones, I have decided that the best route to go is to record professionally. Let’s face it, I don’t want to do all that work myself & would rather outsource to the professionals who know what the heck they’re doing (and do it 100 billion times better than me). Plus, I decided that, hello …. I’m a different person than I was when I was 14. I’m a grown-ass woman with a passion & a mission. No one is pressuring me to do this, except me 🙂

So, there began my hunt for a recording studio semi-close to me (which is a huge feat, considering my location in Valentine, NE where the nearest bigger town is over 2 hours away). Long story short, the stars aligned & God sent me an answer. A lady from Seward visited The Prairie Club who records her piano music professionally & she gave me the name of the place she records, which is Power Base Studio in Wisner, NE. Wisner is only about 3 hours from us in Valentine & only about an hour away from my hometown in Hartington! I looked up some of her recordings, loved them, researched the website, read all his fabulous testimonials, called Dan, loved him, got great info, & scheduled the recording session for December 23 when we’ll be traveling home for the holidays. PERFECT!!

Now, after some thought, I have decided that I want to keep my original 12 songs separate from my new ones. I just think of them as representing 2 completely different stages of my life & I want to keep them separate. Therefore, I will be releasing just my original 12 songs on the album which I will name “Reflections of Joy” (who knew that would be so fitting now when I named that first song!) My newer songs (3 and counting) will be released on a 2nd album when I have more to add to the collection.

Now that I’ll have professional music recordings to share & sell, I’ve been putting my nose to the grind, researching & figuring out the best way to get it out there! There’s lots to learn & all this technical stuff is kind of hurting my brain, but it will be well worth it 😉 I’m currently working on setting up a website (which will be janeenarens.com), so that I’ll have a one stop shop for all my stuff! Just for fun, here’s a little sneak peak of what it will look like.

website preview updated

I’d be thrilled if you could support me by following this blog (just click the “Follow” button on the right side of my blog page) or liking my Facebook page. Right now, those are the best ways to stay up to date with my music stuff & also the best way to learn about when my website is live, which will then be the best place to stay connected with me 🙂

THANK YOU for following & supporting my journey!

Much love,

– Janeen

*Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
*IG: janeen.arens
*YouTube: Janeen Arens

Springtime Melody – Original Piano Composition

Hey guys!!

So, I’ve officially scheduled a recording session to record my songs!!! The recording session is next month, & I will be releasing the “original 12” in my first album, “Reflections of Joy,” sometime in early 2016 (stay tuned for exact date!) This album is A LONG time coming, so I’m beyond excited to have a plan in place to get this done & start sharing some professional recordings of my songs with you! I’ve also been working on scoring my music, so will have sheet music available for anyone who plays piano as well 🙂 Exciting things happening in my piano world!

Since my recording session is a little over a month away, I need to buckle down & re-learn / master some of my older songs that I haven’t played in awhile. Some of them I have let fall by the wayside so I need to spend some time with them so they’re ready to record on December 23! I’ll be practicing & releasing a video of one of my originals each week leading up to the big recording day 🙂

First song on the chopping block is “Springtime Melody.” I know, it’s a strange one to share right when we’re heading into winter & the coldest days of the year, but maybe this will give you some happy thoughts of Springtime & nicer days to come 🙂 This song is a tribute to the wonderful season of Spring, the re-awakening of life after the dead of winter, the re-emergence of all things green, the energizing feel of warm sunny days, & the overall joy & happiness that comes with the arrival of this season.

I hope this one brings some happiness to you all! It was fun spending some time with this song this week & rediscovering my love for it. Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this, it would be awesome if you could support me by following this blog, subscribing to my YouTube channel, or liking my Facebook Page 🙂 You guys are great!

Thanks for listening!

– Janeen