Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

“‘Bella the Baby Blue Whale’ Captures the Heart of a Child” by Ty Curtis

Friday, March 19th, 2010

She is the largest creature on the planet. At birth she is 25 feet in length, and she weighs more than 3 tons. This makes her the biggest baby in the history of life. This baby drinks 100 gallons of mother’s milk each day. She gains 200 pounds, and increases in length 1 and a half inches per day. When she is full-grown she will top 90 feet in length, and weigh more than 150 tons. When it comes to size, the blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived. It is also the loudest. It has the ability to make sounds as loud as 188 decibels. That is louder than a jet engine, which can be as loud as 140 decibels. When it exhales, it blasts a spout of water 30 feet into the air!

What better character to captivate a child’s imagination. That is what Ty Curtis was thinking when he composed the song called “Bella the Baby Blue Whale.” This would be the most complex song on the “Sea Animal Adventures” CD, an album of children’s personalized music. This was one of those songs where fantasy meets a hearty dose of personification. In this song, the infant blue whale named Bella has that same basic driving, emotional force that all children have; the desire to play.

Bella is one of the main characters in the song, but the other main character is the child whose name is being sung in this song. The recipient of this personalized CD of children’s songs becomes the captain of a wooden ship with billowed sails, filled by the wind. The captain searches for Bella, and lets the seafaring crew of playmates spend time with the baby blue whale. Bella’s large size serves to emphasize her bigger-than-life love that she has for playing with her friends. When it is time to go back home the captain calls to the crew. As they leave to return home, Bella waves farewell with her giant blue tail.

Because of its slow, dreamy melody, “Bella the Baby Blue Whale” easily doubles as a lullaby. Also, since many children use “Sea Animal Adventures” for an easy-listening bedtime CD, it was not a coincidence that Curtis placed this song near the conclusion of the album. This song was intended to help children “calm down,” while still holding their attention with a musically interesting story.

The musical instruments chosen for this song further contribute to its dreamy attitude. A fretless bass guitar solo was used near the conclusion of this string-laden song to imply Bella’s large size. The instrument almost has a liquid quality to it, which makes it flow beautifully in this song. The soft, accurate vocals of Emily Curtis, Ty’s then 13-year-old daughter, were also incorporated in the song. Her velvety voice, singing rounds of overlapping melodies infuse yet another layer of peaceful intricacies to the musical arrangement.

Together, all of the pieces unite to create a calm, beautiful song. “Bella the Baby Blue Whale” is a melody that moves children beyond the cares of the day, and lets them relax and enjoy a gentle sea animal adventure.

Copyright 2010, Tyson A. Curtis

“Today I Worked On Basketball With 24 Fifth Graders” by Ty Curtis

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

You want to know how to solve the world’s energy crisis? Figure out how to harness the energy coming from a class of 24 fifth grade students, right after they have had lunch. That should be enough energy to power this planet for a decade! Today I was privileged to see that energy in action as I took my students out to work on their basketball skills during P.E. Now, If you were to ask these students to raise their hand if they know how to play basketball, every hand would be raised. To listen to them talk you would think that you were talking with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before playing the game we started out with a few warm up exercises in brisk February air; you know the traditional ones like jumping jacks, hip rotations, and pushups. After doing the warm-ups came the time to organize the games. We have three basketball goals to work with, so that means after all of the splitting into groups was done, we had three groups of eight students. Teams of four on four would be playing each other. The organizational part can sometimes be pretty interesting because most children have strong preferences for who they want to be teammates with. In the end, everything usually works out fine so that everyone is satisfied with the teams they are on. Once everyone was squared away on a team it was time to play. 

I blew the whistle that would signal everyone to begin playing. Instantly there was a enough horsepower (and willpower) on that court to energize a small city. The games would only last about twenty minutes, but to the students that seemed like a reasonable amount of time to play. While the students played, I moved about on the court to each team to help them fine-tune their skills, clarify rules of the game, and help them get a healthy perspective on sportsmanship in the midst of competing with each other. To see the looks on their faces while they are playing is priceless. They get so excited while they are playing.

When our time had run out, I went over and took up the basketballs. I could have blown the whistle but that would have just been wasted air. It is a lot easier to get children to start playing than to get them to stop playing. Anyhow, everything went well right to the end. It was a good day of fun and exercise for the students. When the class was over the students headed back to their classrooms to learn more about the 3 R’s. In P.E. they learned a little more about the game of basketball, and we all learned a lot more about each other.

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!” Henry David Thoreau

“Writing; An Important Part Of Who I Am” by Ty Curtis

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I enjoy writing. I enjoy seeing my thoughts come together and fill up a page. There is something about composing that is both challenging and rewarding, and I like both of those things. One of the neat things about composing is that it transcends time. How cool is that! I can write a story and leave it behind, and someone can read it a hundred years later; just like those writers before us who have written great tales or documents that have stood a test of time.

Writing can also be good therapy. When I list my life’s challenges down on paper, I get a different perspective of them. Somehow they seem a little more manageable when I can see them all written out on one page.

Writing can be used to reconnect with old friends from the past. I love how social networking has brought about fresh opportunities to make new friends and keep up with old acquaintances. Five years ago (at the time of this writing) that would have been almost impossible. Now, maintaining contact with old friends is easy.

Writing allows me to express myself artistically. I can weave words into personalized children’s songs that may be sung by my grandchildren’s grandchildren. The words will give them a chance to get a look into my creative thoughts, and the music will paint the words with vivid emotions. It’s kind of neat to think that my grandchild could fall asleep listening to lullabies written by their granddad. Perhaps one of my songs will even cause them to smile long after they are adults.

Writing gives me the privilege to inspire others to worship. Nothing gives me more pleasure than writing songs of worship that encourage others to walk more closely with their Creator. What a privilege it is to create songs of praise and gratitude for the blessings that have fallen on us from a loving heavenly Father. I sincerely feel that nothing could have more value than helping a neighbor build their faith and connect with the love of God. Writing helps me accomplish this.

Writing is contagious, and in these times of advanced technology anyone can take part in expressing themselves in writing. And they should. We have writing tools today that our grandparents couldn’t have imagined. Every computer is equipped with a spell checker that will spell difficult words for us. Built-in document checkers help catch grammatical mistakes and even offer solutions when we make miscues. These tools take lot of the boring work out of writing, and leave us with the simple challenge to express what’s on our minds.

Yes, I guess you could say that I am really into writing. It fulfills a lot of the needs in me to be creative. I think it’s a blast, and I really have fun with it. Maybe you can have fun with it too. Try it for yourself.