Tony M. Music

Tony M. Music is a full time children's music entertainer integrating music, literature, and storytelling into an educational, interactive, and FUN experience! 

Fruition!

fruition

nounfru·ition | \ frü-ˈi-shən  \
Definition of fruition
1: pleasurable use or possession ENJOYMENTthe sweet fruition of an earthly crown— Christopher Marlowe
2a: the state of bearing fruitthe fields needed rain for fruition— Pearl Buck
b: REALIZATION

Fruition has become my new favorite word! There is a time for almost everything to be realized or to come to fruition. When something is supposed to happen, you can feel it! You know that you have to keep pursuing that specific idea or goal because there is just something inside of you that keeps telling you to move forward, this is going to work.

I started writing the title track to my upcoming album, “Love, Peace, and Harmony,” about 7 (2012) years ago. The chorus was there from the beginning, but the melody and the verses have been written and rewritten until about 1 1/2 (2017) years ago. The lyrics to the verses always seemed so forced and never fit with the idea of the song.

So instead of forcing this song and becoming complacent with how it turned out originally, I kept holding it back. Every time that I’d try and write something new, it never really felt quite right. Until one afternoon last year, I was playing this song on the guitar and singing the chorus when the lyrics to the verses just started flashing in my mind like a strobe light! Instantly I knew this was the song! I could feel it! If I had given into my first attempt at writing, “Love, Peace, and Harmony,” I wouldn’t have had the song that I do today.

In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson describes this concept called, “The Adjacent Possible,” where to get to that final idea, it may seem that you have to open a door into a room of 4 more doors or choices. And then the next door opens up into room of 4 more doors/choices until you finally reach the room you need to be in. Or to put it into a simpler idea, “fruition.” When we continue to work toward a goal or dream or achievement, it will happen in the time that it’s supposed to happen.

tony

The Most Powerful Instrument in the World

Before my shows, we warm up. We grab tambourines and begin clapping out a beat or if there are not enough tambourines, we clap out a beat with our hands. We shake, we stretch, we get our blood flowing to help wake us up and get us energized! After all that, we sing a warm up song because warming up your voice is very important too! We warm it up because we want to take care of it. And when the warm-up is completed, I end it with the statement that our voice is an instrument. The most important and most powerful instrument in the WORLD!

Our voice is the most powerful instrument in the world. Repeat that last sentence, but substitute “our,” for “my.” MY voice is the most powerful instrument in the world! That statement carries with it a heavy responsibility if we truly believe it. Your voice can create laughter, tears, joy, pain, anger, and frustration. Your voice can inspire others, change oppressive laws or create them. Your voice can free an entire population of people or enslave them. Your voice help heal a broken heart, or help to break a healing heart. It’s a little intimidating and scary when we truly understand how much power our voice has. When you’re using your voice in a positive way toward others, it is healthier for us as well. The inverse too, is accurate, when we use our voice in a negative way toward others, it becomes unhealthier for us as well.

So let’s try to use our voices the best we can, everyday! I add, “TRY,” to that statement because we are human and we will make mistakes. But always keep this thought in your mind and remind yourself of it, “my voice is the most powerful instrument in the world!” Believe it because it’s true.

tony

February's Read, Watched, and Listened List

What did you listen to last month? What did you read? What did you watch?

In February, I dove deep into the history and music of the Beastie Boys! Their albums bogarted my musical intake last month and that was FANTASTIC! I have listened to the Beastie Boys since the late 80’s, but I never truly listened to them until now. The thought and work they put into each album is inspiring.

Read:
* The Beastie Boys Book - One of the coolest books I’ve read in a while. Ad-Rock and Mike D document the history of the Beastie Boys with hilarious accounts, awesome history of the music scene in NYC during the late 70’s and 80’s, and tons of illustrations.

* Black Elk Speaks - A first hand chronicle from Nicholas, Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota Medicine Man. He recalls spiritual visions of a unifying world, battles fought with the Wasichus (white men), and the horrific massacre at Wounded Knee. This will be a book that I read yearly.

* Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate DiCamillo’s first
novel! A story about a girl and her dog, making new and lasting relationships, and learning how to navigate life without her mother. My youngest (1st grade) and I read this at bedtime. It’s a great story for kids and adults. That’s one of the reasons I love Kate’s novels so much! Her books reach any age group.

Listened:
* Marc Maron Podcast, WTF, featuring the Beastie Boys.

* Every Single Beastie Boys album! My top 3 favorite albums are, 1) Paul’s Boutique, 2) Hello Nasty, and 3) Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 (which I was very interested to learn that Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1 never released because they lost the original tapes recorded for this album! I hope someone finds them one day and decides to return them!).

Watched:
* “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” the documentary of Mr. Rogers on HBO. It made me happy to have been able to grow up with this man on television. He was the voice on t.v. that children needed and still today, he is just as relevant!

The Father/Daughter Dance

This year, February 27, 2019 marked my 11th Father/Daughter Dance to date. I can clearly remember taking Lillie, my oldest daughter, to her first dance at her elementary school. It was an excited evening for both of us. For me as a parent, I got to spend this memorable and special time with just my daughter and me. And for Lillie, she was about to witness some pretty sweet dance moves by her father. Except the sweet dance moves didn’t quite happen like I expected.

When we showed up to the dance, I became very self-conscious about dancing in front of all these strangers. All I wanted to do was hold Lillie’s hand and sway back and forth in a non-attention seeking way. This behavior is pretty out of character for me because I don’t have trouble performing or singing in front of unfamiliar people. I also noticed that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Some dads were sitting on chairs around the outside walls. Some dads were standing near there daughters trying hard not to move to much. Some dads were on their phones or talking to each other. But then some of the dads were out on the dance floor having the greatest time of their lives! They were enjoying this moment no matter who was watching.

As I observed this, it became clear to me that I was caring to much. Caring to much to enjoy and be present in the moment and just have fun. And that’s when I decided that I was NOT going to spend these special moments with my daughters worrying about who was watching me or caring that I might look ridiculous. I was and am going to spend these moments being present, having fun, dancing every dance with my daughters, and nailing the spelling of the Y-M-C-A!

tony

"Thank You," Notes

I have not been the best at writing thank you notes in the past. I’ve always been good at writing down a list of people to send thank you notes to only to procrastinate on the task for so long that I forget to do them. Or I’ve waited so long to send them, that it gets to a point where it might be weird to send one. Then I’m stuck in my head thinking that the person I did not send a thank you note to is silently judging me for not sending them a thank you note every time I see them! Ahhhhhh!!

So what’s the solution? Write your thank you notes immediately! It takes no longer than 2 minutes to write a brief note, address the envelope, seal it, stamp it, and deliver it! Like Stevie Wonder sang, “Signed, sealed, delivered…”

I’m working hard at being a better thank you note writer and so far this year, it’s working. It’s not only a kind, personable act, but from a business perspective, it’s another way to connect and keep in touch with people you interact with. Plus, thank you notes give satisfaction and joy to both the giver and receiver. So why not practice this more often? Exactly! I need to always remember that!

tony

CDs vs. Streaming

By a show of hands, who still purchases CDs?

Ok. Great. There’s still a lot of us out there! And that is great news to the Indie artist.

I’m going to be honest about buying CDs and streaming music…I love both ways to listen to music! Putting a CD into your stereo and then checking out the CD artwork and notes cover to cover, is an awesome way to connect with the band or musician. Some artists really put a lot of thought into their album layout and that is just really cool to me.

Then there’s, “Alexa, play me John Mayer’s new album.” Music starts playing just by asking your device to play it! Any song or genre you want, streaming into your headphones, throughout your house, in your car, almost instantly. You can even find some of the most obscure music that someone recorded in somebody’s basement 30 years ago on a tape recorder just by going to YouTube and searching for it. You don’t even need to know the name of the song. Just search for a few words together that you think might be the right lyrics and almost always you’ll find what you’re looking for. It’s great!!!

So why do we need CDs? Well, I’ll state my case in just 2 reasons:

1) I mentioned it earlier, it’s a great way to get closer to the band or to help you understand the album better. If you have multiple CDs from a particular artist, check out the covers. Each cover really does convey the emotion and feeling of the songs they recorded for that particular album. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” is the first one that comes to mind. Check that cover out and listen to that album and you’ll understand what I mean! Or Michael Jackson’s album, “Thriller.” That was his coming of age album. The cover shot of him staring all serious into the camera. That was him telling the world, “I’m and the G.O.A.T.” You can’t really see that on a screen. You need to hold it in your hands and actually experience it while listening to the music

2) This reason is a little more personal. Support your independent artist! Indie artists still make CDs. We still sell them at our live shows and we are extremely proud of the music that we produce. It’s such great experience for both the listener and the artist when you can purchase music directly from the artist themselves! And from the artists point of view, selling a CD to someone direct is like giving your best friend or child or significant other, the most perfect gift in the world! Yeah, it feels like that.
This reason also ties in to reason #1. You may not get to read or learn much about the indie artist online or in magazines, but you will learn a whole lot about them through their music, especially their physical CDs. Plus, your money is going straight to the artist when you’re purchasing from an independent artist. I’m not trying to take CD sales away from major recording artists. I still buy CDs, especially from the artists I really love…i.e. DMB, Common, D’Angelo (every 10 years!), John Mayer, Weezer, Jack Johnson, The Roots, Mumford and Sons, just to name a few artists that are continually putting out albums. I’m only saying that it’s much more common to stream top recording artists than it is with indie artists.

So to conclude; CDs are great. Streaming is great. Do both and when you have the chance to buy a CD from your favorite band or musician, do so. And when you purchase a CD from a local or independent artist, THANK YOU!!!!

A Mother's Song

On January 3, 2019, my mother, Marleen Werner, passed away. After her death (and like any time you deal with a loss), memories came back to me that I hadn’t thought of in many years.

For example, the time in spring when I was in 4th grade, we played wiffle ball in the back yard before school. Or the time we walked 2 miles in the snow from our house to K-Mart to buy some baseball cards. But one of my most favorite memories of my mother, was her singing to me when I was young. I thought that her voice was the most sweetest sound I’ve ever heard. We would lie together in my single bed and she would sing this little song. I never did find out if it was she wrote this or not, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a song from my mother to me. And when she would sing it, the world was a little more peaceful and anything seemed possible.

“Down in the little green valley
down where the buttercups grow
there lives a boy named, Tony
my buddy can go

Skipping across the meadow
chasing a butterfly
climbing up the nearest tree
reaching for the sky

that’s my little boy Tony
he’s my baby boy
that’s my little boy Tony
he’s my pride and joy”

January's Read, Watched, and Listened List

I like to keep things in 3’s. So, here is a brief list in groups of 3, of what I read, watched, or listened to this month. Leave suggestions in the comments of any good books, movies, or artists you’ve discovered recently!

What I read this month…

  • The Third Reconstruction, by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II

    • Ever wanted to know how to lead a moral movement? Or want to know what a fusion coalition is and how they work to keep morality in our country? Read this book!

  • A Call for Revolution, by His Holiness The Dali Lama

    • It’s the Dali Lama, his words are inspiring. Read it!

  • Louisiana’s Way Home, by Kate DiCamillo

    • The second book from Kate DiCamillo with the character Louisiana Elefante. Ms. DiCamillo is one of my all time favorite artists and she delivers another beautifully written story dealing with loss, despair, and finding hope in even the most depressing of circumstances.

What I watched this month…

  • “Blackkklansman,” Spike Lee (not for kids to watch).

    • Based on a true story from the 70’s of an African American police officer, infiltrating the KKK. Spike Lee at his finest!

  • “The Ballad of Buster Skruggs,” the Coen Brothers (not a kids show either)

    • Cleverly written and dark. It’ll keep you thinking long after it’s over.

  • “Clerks,” Kevin Smith (DEFINITELY not for kids!)

    • As a adolescent growing up in the 90’s, I somehow missed this movie. Watching it as an adult, I was extremely impressed with the philosophical views and the roof top hockey game!

What I’m listened to this month…

  • New Artist, Tom Misch

    • A friend of mine suggested this artist after he heard him on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. This guy has got a nice vibe!

    • https://tommisch.com/

  • New Artist, The Ruff and Tumble

    • This duo visited the Martinsburg, WV area back in October and we have not been able to stop listening to their album, “We Made Ourselves a Home When We Didn’t Know.”

    • http://www.theroughandtumble.com/music

  • Re-listened to all my old Smashing Pumpkin Albums

    • I started going through all my old Pumpkin albums and decided that I was going to listed to them all cover to cover this month. There are a lot of great songs that I either missed or forgot about!

Gettin' Loud in the Library!

I have been so grateful for our libraries throughout WV and northern VA where I have the opportunity to perform regularly. Libraries are venues for artists, performers, schools, etc. to share their craft in a family friendly, community centered environment. For libraries to host these free activities though, there has to be a level of noise involved. This idea that libraries are a place for “noise,” is a relatively new trend.

As Ann Litz, “Obsolete Librarian,” stated, “Libraries are moving from being a "book space" to a "people space.” From a musician’s point of view, this is GREAT! If you’re in your late 20’s and older, you will remember a time when you were expected to “BE QUIET,” in the library. As a child, I remember getting that death glare from adults as soon as my decibel level rose above “barely audible.”

Today however, the majority of libraries invite noise! They host movie nights, concerts, interactive story times, yoga, game nights, craft workshops, Comic Cons, traveling zoos, and so many more creative and fun ways to bring families together. Libraries have become the heart of our communities.

Now, this isn’t to say that all rules have been completely abandoned. There are still expectations of proper etiquette. For example, refrain from using profanity, try not to talk to loudly, and please, please, PLEASE, take all phone conversations outside when possible.

So if you haven’t already checked out your local library to see all the different programs they provide, do so today. They offer an array of activities for many different age groups and tastes. Remember too, these activities are free and you get to do something that was once taboo in a library…you get to make a little noise!