Amy Zents dishes on Uni

Did you take a double major like me? You may have thought you wanted to become a Superstar multi-billionaire too by going through music, art and English classes. 

College professors don’t tell you how slim the chances are out there for budding wannabe movie stars.

Well I do not begrudge an education for you, just remember there’s those student loan bills that show up on a constant basis without guarantee of employment.
‚ÄčI think you are wise to do what you are drawn to rather than what you are forced to do out of necessity. 

I was one of the fortunate few who did exactly what I wanted to do. I took over 500 credits in my college career. I had a very strong thirst for knowledge, and I took a variety of classes from nursing to the art of the science fiction novel.

It took me 14 years to graduate because I quit part way and then returned to finish up. Also, I kept changing my mind and my career focus.

I did walk away with a beautiful career as a radio announcer, but I had been doing that prior to college and I did not need a degree for that. With a college degree, I was able to add another couple of jobs to my resume, that of being a professional music instructor and singer-actress.

In planning your success route you need to keep in mind that being able to communicate is one of the highest qualities a person can possess. 

I was happy to learn to communicate and to create meaning in my life through my college degree and college education, but I knew what I was searching for once I found it.

It’s a pity that a lot of people go into writing, music and the arts with very little to say. They usually wind up working in a furniture store miserable and bitter. 

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with working in a furniture store. It’s just the part of being miserable and bitter that is the problem.

Nevertheless, the world needs people who can clearly communicate information, inspiration, mind-opening ideas, along with entertainment to enliven and inspire others. 

You actually do not need a college degree to do any of those things if you were born with the gift of gab and a great curiosity and interest in others. Talent surely helps, and a college degree doesn’t hurt.

If you feel that you qualify to be an expert on something, it helps to be able to write or create in a way that you feel will benefit others. Giving is living.

But if you choose to quit trying and lie around all day doing nothing but drink beer and smoke pot thinking you’re an artist, a writer or a musician you’ve got another thing coming.

If you are so young you feel you haven’t really lived or if you feel you have nothing important or interesting to say, perhaps you would be better off forgetting that career in the Arts and becoming a young professional in a high-paying job, and not waste your productive years lying around or working on trifling low-paying unrelated and uninspiring work. 

Why not get a career that will benefit you financially? Decide what you want and go for it.

Then you might earn more money now instead of waiting for that magic opportunity that might never come. 

With your income you might also afford to take specialized classes in future days that will allow you to learn to better appreciate life, music, and the arts.

And with your specialized knowledge you might be able to communicate in a way that is just as beneficial or even more valuable than somebody who just decides to write or create without any purpose, outside of a desire for fame and self-aggrandizement.

The grass may always seems greener on the other side, but I always think you should bloom where you’re planted.

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It’s called the Banjolele or banjo uke

Well my husband got me hooked on George Formby. You may not know who he is if you are not familiar with the British musicals that George starred in during the nineteen thirties and forties.
His father, George Formby, Sr. was also a popular and successful musician and entertainer. As a result of dad’s success, George Jr grew up in a life of opulence that belied his Blackpoolian humor that hinted at humble beginnings.

Like his father before him, some of the songs that George Formby jr. performed on stage were full of double entendre.

But that’s British humor for you. They like their shows to include bawdy music hall jibber-jabber, knee-slapping goofy hi-jinks, and I like it too.

My husband asked for a Banjo Uke on his Amazon wish list, and I got him one as a surprise. Here is a video of us with his new banjo ukulele demonstrating the difference between the Hawaiian ukulele and the banjo ukulele.

Ukelele vs. Banjolele

And here is the great George Formby Jr. Playing one of his signature humorous songs.

 With me little ukulele in me hand

I like George Formby’s lighthearted style and it really helped lift up Britain during the darkest days of World War II.

During our cold Minnesota winters, I enjoy listening to George Formby on Google Play while I relax and wait for Spring!

Smiley’s Tavern Open Mic

A beatbox and bongos are part of the mix at open mic for adventurous musicians

I would like to post something daily for the next 16 weeks to develop a writer’s discipline. Last weekend my husband and I attended open mic night at Smiley’s Tavern.

Smiley’s Tavern has a storied history. It is not the most glamorous bar on the planet.

A terrible upstairs fire that threatened it’s existence a decade ago, only seemed to temper it. To my surprise, the owners just fixed it up and put it back in working order.

 I spent a lot of hours at Smileys with my husband in our courting days. It is where we used to sit and smoke cigarettes and drink beer before such things became verboten.

It’s a very informal tavern. Folks play cards in the other room, and there is a full bar with an assortment of spirits and soft drinks to imbibe.

However, we just go for open mic night. The people that belong to NUMOSS, or New Ulm Musicians Open mic society are a talented bunch and a fun group of grown-ups with an eclectic taste in music. Some of the music is original, but most of what you hear are cover songs. 

That’s okay, people like the tried and true.

Smiling at Smiley’s Tavern

A new website domain name

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Find my music at CD Baby

So now I’m using this WordPress to update my music life. Part of being me, is being a radio broadcaster, a singer-songwriter and a music teacher.

I do have a music teaching studio call Zents Music Studio, but my life is really a studio of sorts. I’m learning everyday.

Although I’m looking forward to a bright musical future, I also want to discuss great singing technique, guitar and piano which I teach. But also there’s the lessons of living.

As a writer and songwriter there are stories everywhere you go, from the smiling old woman who curls her hair too tightly that you see at the grocery store, to the way you feel about the young guy who likes to use the electric wheelchair/shopping cart around the store even though he’s healthy.

There’s also the matter of psychology that comes along with being a performer. You can’t deny that people compare you as a singer-songwriter, the way you sing, the way you play, and the songs you write. Also, there’s no denying the CD’s which you record, and produce are always being judged.

There’s so many topics to write about here on my new WordPress domain at Zentsmusicstudio.com

Hanging out with my dreams

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There were four things that made me very happy when I was a kid:

  1. Singing with LP’s in my room for hours and hours lost in my own world of music,
  2. cooking or baking in the kitchen
  3. reading books I got from the public library, and
  4. staying up late watching classic old black and white movies on our old black and white television set.

Yes, I was a lonely child. Nevertheless, living in the city, I found ways and means to be happy.

Today, I know other kindred spirits who can relate to me. People who don’t seem to need people.

One guy I work with loves to cook and finds he loses all worries when cooking.

Another person I know, can spend hours singing and playing songs on the guitar, oblivious to anyone or anything around him.

I watched a video of one lady singing a country song who had her eyes shut. At first, I thought she was vision-impaired. No. She could see. She only liked to sing a whole song with her eyes closed. I understood completely, she was in her own little world.

Once I was getting a ride home from this guy I used to work with. We both worked at a music store when I lived in Toronto. In the van on the ride home, I had a song stuck in my head, so I was singing it.

I did not know what to say to the fellow behind the wheel, so I did what I always used to do when I was a bit stressed, I sang. I have a light soprano voice, and perfect pitch. Secretly, in my starstruck juvenile mind, I felt the guy would enjoying hearing me vocalize, if he paid attention to me.

Boy! Was I in for a surprise! The guy told me to be quiet. I think he knew where he was going, but he may have wanted to listen to something else other than me like CHUM FM.

Oh dear! I didn’t quite understand his protests. So, I just kept on singing away!

Finally, in the most hostile manner imaginable, verging on bloodshed, he screamed at me, Shut Up!

After my shock and terror, I never spoke to him again!

In hindsight, I imagine he felt I was ignoring him.

Another time, I was spending time in my own musical reverie, listening to my Walkman with my headphones on, in the presence of a friend, again in a vehicle.

My friend did not like that I was not paying attention to him, even though he spoke not a word to me. I thought it was okay if I enjoyed my own private concert through my headset if I wasn’t driving.

I did not expect I was supposed to entertain him, or even to make conversation.

He got so mad he yanked my headphones off my head.

When you’ve suffered benign neglect for decades, you find ways and means to compensate.

As a kid, and a teenager, I found escape, and happiness in music, books, cooking and films. I was happy then, and not without good company.

Now, I am a little more grown-up. I understand others want to be in my show.

So, I show them a little attention too!

Nowadays, I am happier to enjoy a week alone at home, in my own company, but other times I love to give and take attention from real, live, lovable people, and not just hang out with my dreams.