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Archive for the ‘Julianne’s Voice’ Category

Something About Jane

Posted on: June 2nd, 2016 by julianne

After working all day for Experience Drums, I have been working more night shifts than usual at the convenience store, where music is not allowed, and I could never understand why. Our assistant manager, Lyla, moved on to a better position, so our workloads became heavier and more tedious. All you can hear are complaining customers and the clicking of the registers. I thought about Lyla a lot on these evenings and the way she often sang to herself as she helped us with our workloads. Without music, the boredom and moodiness would set in, but the way she sang to herself as we worked made the night go by quickly and less painful. We all missed her, and we knew she would be very hard to replace.

The candidates for Lyla’s position came and went, but it was taking quite a long time to find the right fit. Work was getting done with dragging heels and lack of motivation.

All this changed when Jane, a pretty and friendly young woman, came into the store to apply for our new store manager. I remember introducing myself to her, and feeling a warmth in my heart. There was something different about her. She reminded me of Lyla.

As Jane and I trudged through the night shifts together, we worked in silence and fought the moodiness as we cleaned the shelves, aisles and helped the customers. I wondered what Jane was doing in this sluggish environment to make her tasks go smoothly with a smile. Through the next week as we worked together, I noticed that she was quick stepping down the aisles of the store, cleaning and putting back lost merchandise. Boy was she fast and accurate. As I continued to watch her closely. I noticed headphones in her ears. When I inquired about it, she took them out and with a laugh put them to my ears. Music flowed through my head, and I suddenly got the lift I desperately needed. The hours went fast and our work was complimented the next day by our head store manager. We did not tell him our secret in fear he would get angry, because music was definitely not allowed during work hours. All of us decided to sneak our music while we worked, and it was noticed by all! Our jobs became easier and fun as we compared music, work and laughter. So much more got done, and a once boring job became a lot less work. We even drew in more customers because of our happy personalities making them feel more welcome.

One year has gone by, and Jane has since moved on to another job. She introduced a new way to inspire us, giving us more energy at a somewhat tedious and boring environment. She figured out a way for us to use our phones, strapped to our waists as we work to listen to the music of our choice. You should see the morale of the employees now, and even the crabby customers leave our store with a smile.

As we now are in the search for another store manager, we will never forget the vigor Jane brought to the store. We will always remember that something about Jane.

Sad To Glad

Posted on: January 26th, 2016 by julianne

This morning I received a most disturbing phone call from my best friend. With anticipation of the approaching New Year, she really was in a bad way, as her holiday wound up being a combination of her losing her job and her lover at the same time. I did not know what to do for her so, I decided to meet her for lunch to help sort out her problems. Blasting some heavy metal, I was ready to rock her problems out for at least one hour of my day.
As my irritation at my own issues started to pump up, I banged out my house cleaning and wrote a couple of e-mails to Evan asking for some speedy responses. I felt angry for her, and really wanted to have a good resourceful day with nobody ruining my mood.
When she pulled up in front of my house, I heard her car radio blasting a soft rock station. As I got into her car, her tears seemed to glow on her face. As we drove away, I tried to change the station, but she stopped me and only made the radio louder. I was really getting quite nervous because her phone call surely convinced me that some angry music should have been in order here. I guess I was mistaken, for as she cried she told me that this music was helping her get her emotions out and like in all of the sad lyrics, not only could she relate, but also was leading to peace and a start to a new beginning in her healing process.
As I thought about what she said, I remembered my own music blasting just before I met her. I was determined to bash out her problems while having a sympathetic ear, and the music of my choice was angry. I was angry that she was so unhappy, and matching music to my mood helped me get the anger out before I met up with her to try to help. I was able to replace it with compassion by the time I was ready to see her. Matching music to mood really makes a difference. It enhances your feelings and helps you release mental as well as physical tension. You can really start a healing process with this method. Ok, so I now understood, and decided we should forget lunch and have coffee at my house instead. As we sat and chatted, I turned on the music of “her” choice. I noticed that her mood was changing from tears to laughter. By the time she left my house, she felt better and I felt better by being able to help her.
Here’s to the New Year, my friend. Only Peace and happiness to come!

A Very Special Saint

Posted on: January 3rd, 2015 by julianne

In a world where a musician’s gifts are often scrutinized by others, there is one special person that stands out in my mind, a man who puts on quite a show of faith in God and the human race.  This is the story of my friend, Gary Revolution.

About 7 years ago, I moved from New York to Florida, and I had to go to a doctor for an annual checkup. I did not know where to go so I took my chances at a public health facility. In the stifling heat, I was alone in a crowd of people filled with rage due to the long lines in front of the medical buildings.  As I joined the others’ arguing on the outside benches, I came across a young man who was strumming a guitar. He was laughing and smiling at everyone who walked by, making light of this most annoying situation.  Out of boredom I started to watch him, and my angry face turned into a relaxed smile.  When he noticed me, he came over and introduced himself as Gary Revolution.

I joked with him, asking if he was there to entertain the pissed off crowds. He laughed and told me that he wished that was the case. It turns out that Gary was fighting a terminal illness which left him weak and often bed ridden.   Of course I got upset at his answer, but he told me to “smile” and that his music was the peace to his soul. Awesome, I thought. What a positive guy! As he headed for the medical building, I thought to myself, Maybe I would be able to get an interview with him on our Community Saint Radio podcast in the future.

During the next year, I kept meeting up with Gary, at local hang outs, libraries, and coffee shops. He was often looking tired, but still laughing, singing and encouraging others to be happy with the gifts of health and life that they had.  Some just looked away ignoring his presence, but I, along with some other followers sat and spoke with him while he strummed his guitar. His faith shined on with his music, and touched my heart. What gifts of hope he could bring to those who suffered, but despite his wonderful attitude, I felt sad. It would be yet another year before I saw him again.

Recently on my night shift, I was surprised to see him walk into the store. He was with a friend who appeared in a rush and in a foul mood. With his guitar still hanging on his back, Gary looked drawn and thin as he tried to look at the various items at his own pace.  As he approached my register, I quietly said hello to him, and he managed a smile. He struggled to shake my hand and told me he would love to talk to me, but had to go and would be in touch.  I remember his face as he left the store; tired and sad. He wanted to play and sing for everyone. That made him happy…that made him well.  I wondered whether I would see him again. I wondered if he was feeling OK.I wanted to hear about how many others’ lives he touched with his music since I last sat with him. He could be such an inspiration to those who suffer, so I prayed for him to keep playing and laughing away his illness.

Since then, I have looked for him in the neighborhood, but without much luck. I am hoping that I will run into him again, healthy, happy and ready to share his gifts of music to the world. Wherever you are, Rock on, Gary Revolution! Let your music be the peace to your soul.


Family Peace

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by julianne

For the past few months I’ve hardly been living the dream. My Mom took a bad fall in her bedroom, which landed her at a rehabilitation center for one month.
When she came home to recuperate, I was desperately needed to act as maid,
helper, and whatever else you could think of. Although I was glad to help out,
every spare minute of my time was in demand. Running back and forth from my home to Mom’s left me edgy. It was hard to have any kind of productive schedule and I was missing my spontaneity. I needed a break from all the drama!

When Evan informed me that he was coming to Florida, I got excited. His inspiration and faith would lift us all up and I was shamelessly looking forward to squeezing in some Experience Drums time. At the local library we would be assured to have a steady internet connection with no interruptions from Mom. I had it all planned out. As our conversation continued, Evan dropped the bomb that he was only visiting for three days. He needed to prepare for the VA/DC Annual Day of Percussion event!
Now that my game plan was out the window, I
had to prepare to play musical computers at Mom’s house, using my cell phone’s hot spot as our only connection to the outside world.

Evan arrived late on a Monday afternoon and we greeted each other with love! It was refreshing to actually speak with him in person instead of over our abundance of daily e-mails. On that first evening we sat and talked about family and how important it was to appreciate what we had. As Mom did her best to prepare us dinner, she cracked a smile, and for the first time since her fall she seemed happy and full of life.

The next day was filled with trips to the grocery store and
household chores for Mom. With limited time, we managed to prepare for Evan’s upcoming event by using Mom’s little kitchen table as our work space. To spare Mom and her neighbors a headache, Evan and I decided to bang on our knees to test out his program, which was all about being able to “listen  and hear” your individual rhythm. With so many people giving their advice on how to handle our situation, this release was just what I needed. We laughed as our knees became bruised, and I felt my spirit lift. It beat the blues right out of our systems.

On Evan’s last day in Florida we got a chance to talk about all
of the new ideas which were being incorporated into Experience Drums. My spirits lifted even higher as we discussed new articles, interviews, and a new Community Voices page. We could not have felt any better about our mission of helping others through the medium of music.

What could have been a stressful visit turned into quite a fascinating experience for all of us. In just three days we found not only time for work, but a family peace that we will never forget. Thank you, Evan!

Broken Promises

Posted on: March 1st, 2014 by julianne

2014 started out with a bang.  Not only was I struggling to pay off some forgotten bills, but my roommate of five years suddenly became unemployed.   I had to take on a second job in the evenings to meet our financial needs until she got on her feet.  I guess my heart is bigger than my troubles for while I toyed with the idea of looking for a new roommate, an inner voice was stopping me from doing this. Her promises of obtaining gainful employment were frequently being broken, and I had to find out what was going on with her. She was asleep during the day while I worked in my office and disappearing at night when I returned home from my long evenings. This seemed like unacceptable behavior for someone who was supposed to be job hunting.   One evening, we sat in the living room and talked about our situation.  She was hesitant in answering any of my questions regarding her whereabouts.  I felt my anger rise in my throat. Being that I am not a heartless person,  I was determined to try to understand any problems she was having, but allowing her to keep up her avoidance was out of the question.  I proceeded with my  interrogation.  With tears in her eyes and a deep breath she finally told me what was going on.  As I listened, I could not believe my ears.  While I was working at night, she was exploring her creativity with my makeshift drum set in my office.  You can imagine how I felt, lied to, angry and unforgiving. As I got up off the couch, I walked into my office to inspect what damage she could have done to my prized pots and pans, and found nothing out of place. With a sigh of relief, I resumed our heated conversation.   She explained to me that due to her current circumstances her confidence was faltering. After weeks of phone calls and resume sending, no one had responded. The feeling of failure was overwhelming her and she was afraid that if she told me, I would be angry.   She had watched me many times use drum exercises to help myself overcome my anxieties and fears and decided to give it a try and that it was working for her. Every day she got a little stronger with her drum beats.   I cannot say that I did not understand what was happening. I found that rhythm has transformed so many heartsick people into vehicles of talent and purpose.  It was at that moment that my voice quieted down to a warm simmer.  As I felt her pain as my own, I tried not to cry. I lead her into my office and told her that any time she needed encouragement, she was welcome to pick up those drumsticks and bang away those fears which was holding her back from being productive.  She hugged me and thanked me for my forgiveness, and once again promised that she would resume her job search immediately.  I told her to have patience in herself. Her new found enthusiasm for drumming would help her to succeed in her mission.   “You really can never change a person”, but I found that you can change judgment calls to actual suggestions for somebody in trouble. The weeks that followed were filled with loud  and cheerful noises coming from my office, and a promising interview for my roommate. With her confidence booming, she is optimistic that she will land the job of her dreams.  Her broken promises will finally become whole.

Here’s to a bright future.

A Rockin’ Resolution

Posted on: January 1st, 2014 by julianne

One of my closest friends has been struggling with depression for the past five years. Life has not been kind to her. Lots of fears and anxiety have sent her down a dark path of despair. Just the thought of leaving the sanctity of her comfort zone and meeting new people has seemed intolerable to her. This past year she was overcome with sadness, self-pity, and loneliness due to a family tragedy. She alienated most of her friends, and my heart cried out to help her in any way that I could. I remembered that at every year’s end we would get together and speak about our New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make more positive changes in our lives. This year I had some trouble figuring out what mine would be, but I decided not to give it much thought and I concentrated on helping my friend.

Her weekly phone call asking me to visit her came on a day that I was very busy at work. I knew that asking her to come over on my lunch hour would be easier as it wouldn’t take too much time out of my day. At first she declined my offer, but with some encouragement, she finally agreed to take the plunge and visit me. When she arrived, she was filled with tears. She desperately needed to vent her sadness. I listened to her latest tales of woe and tried to console her.  

After a while, I asked her to join me in my office so I could check my e-mail. When she walked into the room, her sadness suddenly turned into amazement as she spotted my pot and pan drum set in the corner. My drum sticks were on my desk just waiting to be picked up and played. I noticed her immediate interest and excitingly told her that if she tried them out, it would surely help ease her anxiety, lower her blood pressure, and transport her to a more positive mindset. She laughed at this thought but curiosity got the better of her. She walked over and picked up the drum sticks. An expression of shock hit her face as I told her to beat one pan as hard as she could to demonstrate her mood. I could tell that she felt embarrassed by my request, but with some coaxing, she finally did it.   

At first the sound was quite loud and incomprehensible, but she laughed and continued to beat the pans with reckless abandon. And then her beats got softer and she started to keep a cool rhythm. It was clear to me that she was starting to have fun. As the day wore on, I watched my friend transform from a hopeless little girl into a woman filled with a motivation to live. It seemed that with every beat she felt a weight lifted from her body. She wound up laughing and rockin’ away for the rest of her visit. 

The next day she made it a point to tell me that she was grateful for how much our visit had inspired her. I asked her if she had figured out what her New Year’s resolution would be. With a familiar laugh, she informed me that she most certainly did. She decided on rearranging her own pots and pans to bang out her own special song every day. It was at that moment that I was filled with an indescribable happiness and peace for my friend. And it was then that I decided that for my New Years’ resolution, I would make it a point to try to touch someone’s life every day for many years to come.

Here’s to a rockin’ New Year!

Wish List

Posted on: August 1st, 2013 by julianne

Being one week ahead of schedule with our Newsletter, I knew that the start of August was going to go smoothly. No last minute headaches for me! And with Evan working on a redesign of the Experience Drums website, I had some free time on my hands. Perfect time to ask him for a much-needed vacation, but I could not imagine just sitting around not being active. I became restless, and I got to thinking of all the great things I could do while I eagerly awaited the new Experience Drums style. So, I decided to make up a Wish List of all my hopes for this month.

At first, my mind took me on an imaginary journey to Virginia to take part in some Experience Drums events. How cool would that be?! I knew that this might not be immediate though, so I decided to think up some ideas on how we could touch more musicians across the country.

My first idea was called Drumming for Unity. In the past, two of our Community Saints joined us as we visited schools.  They made so many faces, young and old, shine with excitement! I wondered whether this could happen again, if we could ask some of our Community Saints to unite with us and actually meet the students who listen to their interviews and visit their websites.  Because all of them are loved, and not only by me!

I knew that starting such a project would take a lot of time and effort. I thought that Florida must have a lot to offer, but I didn’t know where to begin my search. So, I did what I normally do…I let my fingers do the walking. I began to write to various schools in Florida, but being that it’s summer, school is out. I felt discouraged because I wanted to communicate with them now, not later. All I could do was wait!

In the meantime, I had another idea –  to get away from my computer and out of my office for a change. I decided to join a drum circle! Once I found one in my area, I wrote to the organizer to find out more. This was exciting, but this wound up being a waiting game from Hell!. I wondered if all the Drum Circles were filled up at this time, and there just wasn’t any room for me. Oh well, as disappointed as I was, I set my goals to try again in September.  That was all I could do. I did not want to start annoying everyone in the business with my impatience.

Days went by that I did not hear from any of these other organizations, and frustration started getting me down. Before I picked up the phone to start calling them, it occurred to me that there was a good chance that they could be out of town, maybe even out of the country. Nevertheless, as my impatience grew, I finally had to accept that certain things were just out of my control.

As I shut my computer down for a much needed break, low and behold, I got a most welcome answer.  My heart started racing! Positive thinking I kept telling myself over and over again, and sure enough, I got a positive response to one of my e-mails.  Whether Evan was ready or not, another Community Saint was ready to share their story and give some gusto to our viewers! This was the start of many more responses to come in that day. Because I love surprises, I will leave it up to you to tune in to the Experience Drums website and see who rocked my world.

That evening, I felt calm and peaceful, and I knew that I would sleep well. With positive thinking, I know that I will get to take that trip to Virginia and attend more Experience Drums events with Evan.  And I know that my wish list will become a reality, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly in the near future.

Let the Drums Roll!

Posted on: July 1st, 2013 by julianne

This month I was feeling ready to become more involved with Experience Drums. I had some new ideas that I wanted to share with Evan and I hoped that he would have some time to review them. Well, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Before I had a chance to tell Evan any of my thoughts, I was taken by surprise – a spot on Community Saints Radio was waiting for me. What a fantastic, but weird request.

At first I laughed at his idea – did I actually qualify? As the producer of Community Saints Radio, I devote my time to finding wonderful drummers and organizations who dedicate their talents to helping their communities. Because I am still in my learning phase as a musician, it never crossed my mind that I would be chosen by Evan to tell my story. Rather than argue with Evan or shy away from the opportunity, I accepted the honor with excitement. I wondered what I would say and what questions Evan would ask. All I knew was that I needed to prepare for this interview. Public speaking is not my forte.

Evan had the grace to give me a couple of days to prepare. At first I found myself daydreaming of putting smiles on the faces of people who needed a boost of confidence to pursue their dreams. And then doubt started to creep in. I started to worry about how my cracking voice would sound on air and about how I wanted to change the picture of me that I would show the world on my next newsletter. Oh boy! I tried to buy myself more time so that I could scurry around and search for a photographer, or anyone who had time to take a decent picture of me. And just when I thought I could rest easy for a minute, I got a call from Evan asking me to do my interview the next day. So much for my preparation! I was getting nervous jitters but then it hit me – I had nothing to prepare for!! I would be able to share what it’s like to work with Evan and how I love being the producer of Community Saints Radio.

Evan was so happy to interview me that he called me early. I could not believe how the conversation flowed, it felt comfortable and airy. And I realized what was important – not the sound of my voice or my picture in the newsletter, but that I could be a positive influence on someone.

My hope is that my interview will inspire wonderful drummers and musicians to unite for a cause, to open up the hearts and minds of students by using drumming as a tool to follow their dreams. There is nothing like drumming to soothe the soul. Wanting to make a difference is why I am a part of Experience Drums. I guess I am a Community Saint after all!

Three Strikes

Posted on: June 1st, 2013 by julianne

Looking at my old beat up computer table is such a glorious reminder of how the magic of Experience Drums can wave its wand over so many lives and create such clarity on life skills through the medium of music. I’ve learned so much working with Evan, and some days I feel like I’m batting a thousand. However, with the launch of the last newsletter there was a moment where I felt like I was at bat, it was a big game, and the umpire had it out for me.

I pride myself on making sure that the newsletter gets out to our readers like clockwork. They hold so much information not only on musicianship, but also on all of Evan’s monthly events with Experience Drums. This month, I couldn’t wait until everyone got a glimpse at what Experience Drums was featuring. I was so trigger-happy to push that button, that when Evan said it was time, I sent it out fast.

As fate would have it, a last minute glitch in my computer sent my morning of May 1st into a panic. At around 9:00 am, I got my first response from one of our readers. I thought, already? This has got to be good news to get a response so fast! To my surprise, this especially loyal reader informed me that a link was possibly broken. A broken newsletter?! I, of all people, would have caught that dreadful mistake. So my stomach started churning with embarrassment and stress. I checked it again and found out that not just one, but three links were broken on my priceless newsletter.

Before I lost my cool, I found myself thinking that no matter what, I was not going to be struck out. I was not going to let my busy boss down, let alone over a hundred of our readers. First, I had to unwind. I picked up my drumsticks and looked at the Experience Drums website for some exercises that I knew would have a calming effect on me. I then shut my door and started banging out a beat on an old table. As I played, I was reminded of my very first drumming attempt, which was easy and fun. Before long, I could feel my mind and spirit being lifted. I began to feel that wave of stress slowly slip away. Every beat I made on my table was another solution in motion. Giving up was not an option!

After about one hour of cuts and nicks on my imaginary drum set, I decided to keep sending out that newsletter until I got it right. I wound up sending out a total of three newsletters that morning. After all, I thought, better to receive it three times than none at all.

As I look back on that morning I can now smile. I was able to see that this little malfunction was just another learning experience and that I was able to use my mind, body and spirit to make it work. Whoever said “three strikes you’re out?!”

Bring It On!

Posted on: March 31st, 2013 by julianne

Wow!  It’s April, the month of my birthday.  I used to dread this month.  It meant that I was growing older (to me, a fate worse than death!).  And the date that I was born?  Well, that didn’t help either.  April thirteenth.  Thirteen.  Uh, isn’t that the number that they purposely leave off of elevators?  Yeah, I think you can tell that April was not my favorite time of the year.

But all that’s changed since I’ve started working with Experience Drums.  This year, “April’s Child” is feeling blessed and on fire!  Somehow, the work that we’re doing at Ex D has me celebrating life.  Why? I guess if I had to put it into words, the work I do  helps me see new things about the world… and myself.

I have seen the pleasure that Evan and I have brought to schools, music stores and charity events.  I have witnessed community being created right before my eyes.  Adults, kids, parents, players, teachers, and of course…me, April’s Child, all becoming part of one large event, one fantastic moment, one glorious beat!  These moments can’t help but change you.  They certainly have changed me.

I’m done complaining about April thirteenth.  In fact, I’m done complaining, period!  I’ve decided to face the challenges that April and all the other months throw my way.

My new motto is “Bring it on!

When I’m faced with thinking about my age, I’m going to cry out, “Bring it on!”

When I’m faced with an impossible deadline (and knowing Evan, that’s usually the case!), I’ll yell out, “Bring it on!”

When I’m faced with some task that’s out of my comfort zone, I’ll shout out, “Bring it on!”

I really love what I do.  It’s shaping who I am.  Ex D is giving confidence, faith and encouragement to so many people.  It’s giving it to me too!

So, I’m singing a new tune. It’s called Happy Birthday.  When I hear its melody, it makes me want to embrace every God-given moment.  And it reminds me that I am here to help others.  I just hope Evan has some ear protection because on my actual birthday I’ll be beating the drums to my new song and joyfully singing “Bring it on!”  But he won’t mind. Knowing him, he’ll be playing and singing along with it too!

Happy April – really!