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Exciting News: When I Was a Principal is Coming Soon!  


Hello, dear readers! We have some thrilling news to share with you today. The anticipation has been building, and the moment is almost here. We are excited to announce that When I Was a Principal, a book filled with heartwarming stories and valuable insights from a former school principal, will soon be available for you to dive into. 

A Glimpse into When I Was a Principal: 

Imagine stepping into the shoes of a school principal, experiencing the joys, challenges, and triumphs that come with the role.  When I Was a Principal is an intimate journey through the life and career of Roy Swanson, a seasoned educator who dedicated his life to serving others. 

In this captivating book, you'll discover: 

Inspirational Stories: Get ready to be inspired by real-life anecdotes that showcase the resilience, determination, and passion required to lead a school community. 

Insider Insights: Gain valuable insights into the world of education, leadership, and the transformative power of educators. 

Heartfelt Reflections: Explore the personal experiences and reflections that reveal the human side of school administration, highlighting the deep connections formed with students, parents, and colleagues. 

Practical Wisdom: Whether you're an educator, parent, or anyone interested in the world of education, you'll find practical advice and wisdom that can be applied to your own journey. 

Why  When I Was a Principal Matters:

This book is not just for educators; it's for anyone who believes in the importance of education and wants to understand the pivotal role principals play in shaping our future. "When I Was a Principal" offers a unique perspective on the world of education and reminds us of the positive impact that dedicated educators can have on students' lives. 

How to Get Your Copy 

I'm sure you can't wait to get your hands on When I Was a Principal. Stay tuned for the official release date, which is just around the corner. You'll be able to find the book in both physical and digital formats, making it easily accessible to readers worldwide. 

To make sure you don't miss the release date, consider signing up for our email list or following us on social media. We'll be sharing updates, exclusive content, and exciting promotions as we count down to the launch. 

When I Was a Principal is a testament to the dedication, passion, and love that educators bring to their work every day. It's a celebration of the profound impact a principal can have on a school and its community. 

I can't wait to share this remarkable journey with you. Keep an eye out for updates, and get ready to immerse yourself in the world of education, leadership, and heartfelt stories. We believe When I Was a Principal will touch your heart and inspire you to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to sharing this incredible book with you soon!

Performance of "Prelude" for Trumpet Ensemble 

Great News! The Sinclair Community College Trumpet Ensemble will perform my piece “Prelude” for Trumpet Ensemble at The Ohio Trumpet Guild Concert held at Capital University Conservatory of Music on Saturday, April 15, 2023.  The Ensemble, under the Direction of Chris Braun, will also perform “Where Clouds Rest” by John Parcell.  To hear “Prelude” please click /track/3247155/a-prelude-for-three-trumpets-or-trumpet-ensemble

The Fruit of the Spirit 

Prayer: "What, Lord, with you have me do to further your kingdom on earth? I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen."

John 15: 16-17

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. 

“And God saw that it was good.”  These words from the creation story (Gen. 1) are slightly altered in Genesis 1, verse 31: “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  It became very good after the creation of man and woman, because now man and woman can go and bear the fruit of love that God desires for the earth.  

Jesus explains, “I and the Father are One,” (John 10:30) referring to his words when the Pharisees asked him who he was: “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) We, as creations that came later in the creation story, could not possibly have chosen God, but God has invited us to participate with Him in bearing fruit.  The fact that God is on our minds and in our hearts serves as an invitation to us to be in daily and constant prayer (2 Thessalonians 1:3) with Him. Through this action the fruit that we are asked to bear, will last.  

We have the opportunity to share the fruits of the Spirit with others so that they too might go and bear fruit.  In this way we can see the majesty of God’s creation of the world and our place in it.  God created the trees and the birds and the fish and the animals and made it so that they would replenish themselves.  And God saw that it was good.  In the same way He planted the fruits of his goodness in us so that we may replenish it in others, and while being in constant prayer with Him, he will replenish it in us.  Very simply, love each other.  

Have you ever driven down the road on a nice sunny day, and noticed the trees gently swaying in the wind? They seem to be smiling because they are part of God’s creation.  They seem to be happy to be swaying, even dancing with each other.  Bathed in the glory of God’s sunlight, the trees convey a message to the rest of creation, including us, that God is with us and we are with Him.  The trees bear fruit for others in creation, and they seem to exude happiness in so doing.  And God saw that it was good.  

It is our responsibility to love each other, even in the face of troubles; to joyfully bear fruit, because God chose us to do this on earth.  And God saw that it was very good!

As you consider the following questions, I suggest you listen to this RIGHT HERE to feel how deeply God moves within you.  May you always be a blessing to others in all you do!

Questions for reflection: 

 Have you seen others bearing fruit, and can you identify it as such? Who are they? 
God will place you in situations to love others.  How will you prepare yourself to show his love in those times?

Living with God - yes, identifying with God! 

I am currently in the music ministry full time.  Consequently, I want my music to be a blessing to others.  That's the music aspect of the music ministry.  The ministry aspect sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  Some of my blog posts deal just with the music, but I thought it would be a good idea to include some ministry posts as well.  Here is the first one: 

From John 14: 18-24 NIV

18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” 

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” 

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14: 18-24) 

The words of Jesus reassure us that we are not alone, and we will not be alone.  Because we have been born into new life with Christ, we can believe his promise.  Picture this scenario: a child loses both of his parents, and feels empty and alone in the world.  Without the knowledge that Jesus is with him and in him, he will most certainly feel alone, and many times resentful.  This resent is manifested when the child goes to school and appears angry all of the time.  The child sees other children in the school with two loving parents, a nice home, and a stable life.  It is manifested also in his actions.  The child gets in trouble when his anger, resentment, and depression result in aggressive behavior that hurts others.  Without someone to love him and for him to love, the child has an emptiness that God wants to fill.  

Consider also the elderly person who is placed in a nursing home to live out her final days.  Because she has no more living friends, and her family is too busy to see her, she also feels alone and desolate.  The nursing home employees do not care for her as needed.  She is left in a room alone, often without basic necessities.  And yet her faith gives her comfort that God is with her.  Peter teaches us to rejoice in our suffering so that we may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  (1 Peter 4:13) 

In the passage above Jesus shows us the importance of allowing Him to be one with us.  We were made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26), and that should be the catalyst for our invitation to be one with Him.  God is so good, and when others see us, Jesus wants us to see Him.  There is a magnificent joy when we are LIVING WITH GOD! (Please click on the link to feel the joy.) When we are one with him, we are true disciples, following and obeying his teaching, and sharing with others to good news and the goodness that comes from not just having His outward identity, but his identity within. 

Questions for reflection: 

What are ways that you sense that you have an identity with God that tells you that you have achieved true discipleship? 
What are ways that you could help others who may be feeling alone and desolate, like an orphan, to experience the joy of living in oneness with Jesus?

The Year 2022 and a "Journey" 

The year 2022 saw the creation of my new Christmas musical, Journey to the Birth of Jesus, which was presented at Madeira Silverwood Church.  I realized that not everyone would be able to experience it in person, so I am offering video links to it RIGHT HERE! and RIGHT HERE TOO!  (The first link is to the church's Facebook page, which includes the entire service with the musical starting at the 1:00 mark, and the second is to the Runway Region Publications YouTube channel, which includes just the musical.)  Feel free to leave me a comment or two! The best way to do that is by clicking HERE!  Thank you for watching!

How to Improve Endurance on the TRUMPET! 

Playing the trumpet is physical.  Not in the sense that the instrument is heavy to lift and to hold, and not in the sense that you would be gasping for air as you would after running a marathon, but the trumpet does required muscles to be developed and used properly so that you can play well and play with command of the range of the instrument, even after playing for a longer period of time.

Students ask me how they can play higher notes on the trumpet and play for longer periods of time before getting fatigued.  I will address playing high notes on the trumpet in another post, but keep reading for information on building endurance.  Endurance on the trumpet starts from the very first time we pick up the instrument and make a buzz with our lips in the mouthpiece.  You make a buzz, and you have a difficult time sustaining it after doing it several times.  This is natural, because you are using embouchure muscles in ways that most people do not.  


A key component of learning to play for long stretches is breathing.  Practice breathing into your diaphragm by sitting in a chair, grab your ankles, and breathe in.  You will notice that the breathing in seems to bypass your longs and go straight to your belly.  This is the sensation you want when you take in a breath for playing a wind instrument or singing.  When your diaphragm has the air, your sound will be supported. Practice breathing in this way to make it a habit, especially when you are playing your trumpet.  


To develop the muscles so that you have the physical capacity to play, make sure you are warming up properly.  I recommend long tones on a G or C to begin.  From there, simple slurs downward chromatically with a G or C in between each note is a good exercise.  It looks like this:  

The importance of continuing to return to the upper note keeps your embouchure set at the higher pitch, which will build up strength while aiding in developing lip flexibility.  You should do these exercises at varying speeds and from different open notes. 

Another great warmup exercise can be found in the James Stamp trumpet method.  I recommend the basic warmup page to develop your pedal tones in the sub-register of the trumpet.  It is most important to keep your air moving through all of the intervals and provide equal weight to each note.


Now, here's the kicker.  Rest as much as you play! You might think, well, I'm resting more than I play because I play for 30 minutes and then I rest for 23.5 hours.  That's not what this means.  If you play the above warm up or a Stamp exercise, and it takes you 20 seconds to play through it, rest for 20 seconds.  This is critical for you to develop your muscles so that you will have endurance to get through a two-hour band rehearsal without fatigue.  Rest as much as you play for each warmup exercise. 

With this same concept in mind, one of the simplest and most effective ways to build up endurance quickly is this: Leave your instrument sitting out on a stand or in an open case in an area of your home that you frequent several times per day.  It could be the kitchen, bathroom, den/TV room, or where ever, but strategically place your trumpet there.  Then, each time you pass it, pick it up and play it for a few minutes.  Nothing too strenuous, just toot the horn.  You can then put it back down until the next time you pass by the trumpet.  You will do this several times per day, and after a week or two, you will be able to play your trumpet for much longer stretches of time without being too tired.


Lip slurs can also be called "lip flexibility" exercises.  To have a great endurance our muscles must be flexible.  Use lip flexibilities as part of your daily routine warm up.  Begin with exercises like this:

Continue on down chromatically. Notice that each part of the exercise is three measures long, and there are three measures of rest between each one.  Make sure that you count the rests at the same tempo that you are playing the notes.  This way, you will be RESTING AS MUCH AS YOU PLAY! 

When you have completed this exercise, you can add the next higher partial, which is the open C in the staff, and your exercise will change to this:

Or this:

And when you are ready, having completed all seven chromatic finger combinations,  simply add another partial:

Lip flexibility exercises will help you build endurance and strength in your trumpet playing.  Use them every day in various combinations.  If you would like to get a more complete set of these exercises, free of charge,  with trills and exercises that will develop your embouchure for endurance and range, please click RIGHT HERE!  

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.  Stay tuned for more helpful insights on trumpet playing and many other aspects of the wonderful world of music!



How to Run an Effective Church Choir Rehearsal 

You are the choir director.  You select the music, and each week it is your responsibility to prepare your choir for presenting music in the worship service.  

First, make sure you are very careful about what your choir can handle.  The selection of music is critical.  If you plan to jump right in with the Rutter Requiem, you may find yourself and your choir members becoming frustrated quickly.  I like to provide my groups with a nice variety of styles, yet also a nice variety of difficulty.  I challenge them at times, but at other times, I program something simple that they enjoy.  Choral music comes in a variety of styles and levels of difficulty.  Make sure you get a feel for what your choir members enjoy singing, and then tailor your selections to their ability levels.  

You also will want to take into account the sections of the choir.  A good-sounding choir will be well-balanced.  If you have more altos and sopranos than tenors and basses, for example, you might consider searching for SAB or Two-part music.  (SAB stands for Soprano-Alto-Baritone.) 

Once you have several musical selections to rehearse, it's time to plan your rehearsal.  In a church setting it is appropriate to start with joys and concerns of the choir members, and it's always ok to pray with your choir members.  You can then move into the vocal warmups.  

Start with very simple and non-taxing vocal warmups.  You can find countless examples on the Internet, or simply purchase a book of warm ups.  Begin by teaching your members to breathe through the diaphragm.  The air should pass through the lungs and be held in the abdomen where you can control it.  Since this is unusual for many people, have your group sit down and then reach down to grab their ankles.  As they are doing this, ask them to breathe in, and they will immediately get the sensation of a belly of air.  It's like their bellies are blowing up as a balloon would. That sensation is what you want them to do, because it will enable them to sing and control sustained passages of music.  You can also pass out straws and have them breathe through them through their mouths.  The sensation of freely moving air from the diaphragm all the way out to well beyond their bodies will help you (and them) develop a nice sound!

The next step is to have your choir members sing a three-note scale, starting on Bb 3.  Ascend upwards by half steps to around E5 or F5.  Some members of the alto and bass section may have to use falsetto to get those notes, but you are going to gradually stretch their ranges.  If they feel like they are straining at all, have them stop until you get back down to a comfortable range.  

Once you have run the choir through four or five vocal exercises, you can begin to rehearse the music.  I like to start by sharing a little about the music, such as which scriptures are captured in the lyrics.  For example, this one has the words from I Corinthians 13 even in the title!  We then read as much as we can with the accompaniment, and then work on the parts.  You can mix the parts up by rehearsing Tenors, then Sopranos, then Bass, then Alto at one point, and then maybe start with altos in another spot.  The reasoning for this is so that the choir gets comfortable in hearing other parts and then seeing how their parts fit.  

You do not have to perfect the piece in one rehearsal.  In fact, it is much preferable to dabble-that is, learn a little of the piece, and then spiral back to it at the next rehearsal.  Find something, however, to give the choir a sense of accomplishment.  An introit, a hymn, a piece from a previous year that they like will all serve this purpose.  Then go on to another piece to dabble.  You will gradually, through constant spiral review, teach the choir a repertoire of music.  When you have decided on a piece for a particular Sunday, you should be ready to refine it and polish it pretty easily if you have spiraled through previous rehearsals. Depending on the difficulty of the music you have selected, plan on at the very least six weeks of preparation before a Sunday presentation.  

Thank you for reading!  I will post more articles in this space.  For questions or comments, please visit me RIGHT HERE!


Journey to the Birth of Jesus 

That is the title of our newest offering - Journey to the Birth of Jesus!  It is a cantata/musical for the Christmas season, and its premiere will be on Sunday, December 18, 2022, at 10:00 AM.  The location is Madeira Silverwood Church, 8000 Miami Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.  

The story begins with the words of God spoken by the prophet Malichi.   Malichi was the final prophet until the arrival of John the Baptist.  Between Malichi and John the Baptist, there was a period of silence--about 400 years worth--where God did not speak through the prophets at all. 

The story then, through music, depicts the birth of John the Baptist, and goes into the detail of Joseph and Mary, his betrothed.  Joseph did not have relations with Mary, yet it became clear that Mary was with Child.  Joseph struggles with this, and the Bible teaches us that he did not want shame to come upon Mary, so he considers breaking up with her.  In a dream, however, angels tell him to proceed with his betrothed, and that she will bear a Son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, or "God with us."  

The following scenes show the necessity of making the ten day trip to Bethlehem.  The secular reasoning is that Caesar Augustus ordered that everyone needed to be registered with the government according to the place where their family originated.  Joseph's family, in the lineage of King David, originated in Bethlehem of Judea.  Biblically, however, Bethlehem was spoken by the prophet Micah to be the place where the Messiah will be born.  Was it just a coincidence or did God have something to do with it? 

Joseph was chosen by God to be the earthly father of Jesus.  Mary was chosen by God to be the earthly mother of Jesus.  Why? Joseph was a carpenter, and as such he would have the ability to find creative ways to solve problems.  He found a way to get himself, and 8.5 month pregnant wife to Bethlehem after an arduous ten day journey.  Mary was chosen because she was pure, and faithful follower of God despite the 400 years of silence.  

When the couple gets to the inn at Bethlehem, they find the innkeeper who tells them, "Sorry, there is no room for you here."  Mary is soon to give birth, and she and Joseph plead with the innkeeper for help.  The innkeeper finally says that there is a stable in the yard, and they can use that in lieu of a room.  While in the stable, Jesus is born.  

An angel notifies the shepherds who were in the field that the Messiah has been born and is in a stable in Bethlehem.  A quick review of what took place ensues, with "Once in Royal David's City" and "The Word Became Flesh" preceding the final celebration.  

The work includes a narrator, soloists, the characters of Joseph, Mary, Caesar, Elizabeth, and the Innkeeper.  Accompanied by a professional orchestra, and under the direction of the composer, this musical is sure to delight!