Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Genetics Of Music

  Back in 1999 I was studying music composition as a freshman in college. In the early 2000's, I learned of an ambitious new endeavor called The Music Genome Project. What exactly is a "music genome", you ask?
The Music Genome Project is an effort to "capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level" using over 450 attributes to describe songs and a complex mathematical algorithm to organize them.
[ Wikipedia: Music Genome Project ]

  I immediately fell in love with the idea and couldn't wait to see if they were really going to be able to pull it off. Little did I know that what was coming would revolutionize the way people interact with the music listening experience.

  Six years later, thanks to the work of Music Genome founders Tim Westergren and Will Glaser (and scores of professional musicologists) they launched an amazingly customizable music streaming service called Pandora, and introduced the world to the joy of being able to create and curate your own personal selection of digital radio stations. Pandora learns your taste in music as you give each song it plays a "thumbs up", a "thumbs down", or just let it slide with no input. After just a couple listening sessions, the software begins finding artists and songs it thinks you will like... with an unreal level of accuracy.

  Pandora does not use machine-listening or other forms of automated data extraction. The typical music analyst working on the Music Genome Project has a four-year degree in music theory, composition or performance, has passed through a selective screening process and has completed intensive training in the Music Genome's rigorous and precise methodology.

  While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at various online retailers. Over 400 different musical attributes are considered when selecting the next song to play. These 400 attributes are combined into larger groups called focus traits. There are 2,000 focus traits. Examples of these are rhythm syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies, and displayed instrumental proficiency.

  What do I think of Pandora now that I have been using it myself for so many years? I absolutely love it and can't imagine ever being without it.

  Wednesday, September 9th is Pandora's 10th birthday. Over the last decade Pandora has grown into a $3.6 billion company, as it's users have listened to over 74 billion hours of music tailored to even the most eclectic of personal tastes. So anyway- this month I, and more than 250 million other Pandora listeners across the United States, Australia, and New Zealand have occasion to celebrate the awesomeness of being able to discover new music we already like, that we simply haven't heard yet.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Anyone Can Make A Difference

True joy comes from learning to be a fearlessly positive influence on the world around you.

It's hard sometimes... so start with something simple, and take it one day at a time.

Practice integrity, be patient, let LOVE guide you,
and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Look for the good in yourself and in others.
And when you see it-- acknowledge it, celebrate it, support it.

Anyone can make a difference.


Sunday, July 19, 2015


Time is precious and fleeting.

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better
To paint a picture or write a letter,
Bake a cake or plant a seed,
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time,
With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
Friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world's out there,
With the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it's not kind.
And when you go - and go you must -
You, yourself, will make more dust.

"Dust If You Must", Emily Rose
The Lady, September, 1998

  Keep in mind however, that everyone has their own story-- there is no point judging or comparing, so don't. Having priorities which stretch us and move us in the direction of our dreams is NOT about pressuring ourselves (or those around us) to make our lives look exactly like something straight off of Pinterest. Whatever our individual circumstances may be, we are born to walk the unique path we are on.

  "Perspective" is defined as: "the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance". We can only ever see from where we currently are, so putting our priorities in order naturally means making the best of the cards we have been dealt. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is redefine our concept of success. Look at your life and your circumstances, and give yourself credit for what it means to succeed in your world today.


  Dream big, push yourself, be honest about what you can improve... but be authentically YOU, and don't treat your personal victories as any less than the beautiful triumphs that they are. Love yourself, be grateful for every day of life you are given, and love people more than things.

  So anyway, dust if you must- there is nothing wrong with having a clean house. I am very much a believer that a peaceful, pleasant living environment is less of a distraction and more a source of positive energy. Then do your best under your present circumstances to see life from a perspective which prioritizes the people and experiences you truly value the most.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Reflect and Be Present

My favorite way to be is mindful of today, because that is all we ever get.

Only... ever... TODAY.

Happiness is not just over the next hill, it exists today if I choose to find it.

  • Choosing to have gratitude for the things which are easy to take for granted, plants a seed in my heart which can sprout, and uplifts everyone who sees it. Slowly but surely I will keep putting one foot in front of the other, and turn my seemingly little steps into something bigger.
  • A commitment to willingly learn from my experiences is the trunk that I can lean on when the wind blows... especially if it hurts too much to move. My own attitude is one of the only things I can actually control in this world.
  • Opening my heart to the new perspective that comes from my own unique growth process is how I can branch out and expand my soul. Rather than view life's events as good or bad, I choose to look for what is valuable, regardless of the situation. Branches tend to not be straight and perfect, but each one is an important part of the whole.
  • Making a habit of compassionately sharing in all the joys and pains of life is what forms a beautiful canopy of leaves to provide shelter and comfort to all who cross my path. I will embrace every opportunity to share the pleasant shade of positive energy with everyone around me.
  • And finally, humility reminds me that every tree must pass through all the seasons...

    -- I will throw myself energetically into the growth of spring in my life. It is one thing to simply accept life's lessons, it is another thing entirely to actively want to learn from life every chance I get.

    -- I will celebrate my time in the green glory of summer, being present in my life and doing the best I can with what I have. I will not wait for a happier tomorrow before I decide to live my life like it's the only one I've got. I will be kind, and treasure every human life as precious in the sight of God. No matter how busy and hectic life gets, I will seek an immortal peace... a peace that soothes my heart from within like a gentle summer breeze.

    -- As the beauty of autumn unfolds in my life, I will freely share whatever colors of wisdom I have been blessed with. I will be brave but kind, passionate and patient. I will not judge the journey of another soul, for in judgment I am denying my own need for mercy. With every breath I will be thankful for each day of life I am given.

    -- Life can be harsh like the unyielding chill of winter. I may feel exposed and afraid at times, I may feel isolated and fruitless... but I will remember that there is so much more to life than what can be seen on the surface. Like a tree standing against a blizzard, I will draw strength from my roots. I will continue learning to love myself as a priceless creation of God, and I will respect others for who they are and where they are at in their own journey. I will remember that it is okay to feel brittle and even broken sometimes, it's okay to cry and be honest when something hurts. But I will not shut down and be beaten, I will make the best of things where I am planted. I will look to the Lord for his power to comfort and heal. Spring may not always come how or when I expect it to, but it will come- even if only inside my soul.

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and become stronger.
I will look for the value in whatever comes my way.
I will reflect and be present, each day that I am given.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Today is the first Sunday in December. It's time for a dose of the Christmas spirit, and Handel's "Messiah" always makes me feel like making hot chocolate and decorating a pine tree.  :)

Here's wishing you and yours a safe and serene holiday season!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Value Of A Smile

Never underestimate the value a smile.

  Being someone who thrives on communication as an outlet, this boy's situation really tugged at my heart. I cannot imagine being stuck inside your own head for every minute of every day of your entire life...

  There are so many people in the world who simply need to be cared for by those who can help. May we all think about others more often, make the choice to feel compassion, and then take action to help make someone's life better than it was when we came into it!