Annette Mackey's Blog

September 12, 2014

Just a reminder that today marks the 200th Anniversary of The Star Spangled Banner! On September 12, 1814, Francis Scott Key was held prisoner on a ship. During the rainy night, he witnessed the bombardment of Baltimore and observed that the fort’s small “storm flag” continued to fly. Once the shell and rocket fire stopped, smoke filled the air making it impossible to know how the battle had turned out. In the morning, he could see that the smaller storm flag had been lowered and a much larger flag had been raised. Although the large flag had been blasted until it was riddled with holes, it announced the American victory to the world. Key was so inspired by the sight that he wrote a poem on the back of a letter he kept in his pocket. That poem became our National Anthem.

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Published on September 12, 2014 20:58 • 56 views

June 9, 2014

In my life, I’ve noticed that most people go through a period of life where they blame others for whatever injustice they believe has been inflicted upon them. I’ve been there myself, more times that I care to admit. I think it’s human nature to blame others. But I also think that it’s unproductive–even damaging. Everyone has been through hard things. None of us really knows the life of another. Some people’s problems are obvious while other’s are hidden. On top of that, life is never “fair.” But looking backwards all the time, blaming family or even the world for our problems won’t solve anything. I am reminded of an African American spiritual titled, “Hold On.” The idea in the song is to not give up. Hold on! A line from the lyrics goes like this, “Can’t plow straight if you’re looking back.” In other words, moving forward is much more difficult if we hold on to the grudges of the past. Instead, work towards your goals instead of festering over past injustices. Forget or forgive past injuries, whether real or imagined. It really will make life easier. Move forward so that you can work towards your dreams instead of your nightmares.


Unknown author

FACE IT, nobody owes you a living.

What you achieve, or fail to achieve in your lifetime

Is directly related to what you do or fail to do.

No one chooses his parent or childhood,

But you can choose your own direction.

Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome,

But that too is relative to each individual.


You can change anything in your life

If you want to badly enough.

Excuses are for losers! Those who take responsibility for their actions

Are the real winners in life.

Winners meet life challenges head on

Knowing there are guarantees, and give it all they’ve got

And never think it’s too late or too early to begin.

Time plays no favorites

And will pass whether you act or not

Take control of your LIFE

Dare to Dream and take risks.……


If you aren’t willing to work for your goals

Don’t expect others to.


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Published on June 09, 2014 09:19 • 30 views

March 27, 2014

Kent and LyndseyMost people have been touched by cancer in one way or another. Whether it’s a relative or someone close to you, I think we all know the terror of that word. At times it seems unspeakable, and the treatment is just as dreaded, not to mention expensive. My nephew, Kent, recently found out that he has colon cancer. At 25 years old, it was a shocking discovery. Instead of worrying about school and tuition, his concerns turned to things that should be reserved until later in life.

Chemo. That single word says so much. It’s poison aimed at killing the cancer cells. Unfortunately, because it is poison, the treatment affects the entire body. Anyone who has seen chemo up close knows just how bad it can be, especially when a patient is young. The kind of chemo given to the young is almost always more powerful and aggressive, meaning that it’s seriously toxic stuff, which leads to extreme symptoms and longterm effects.

I’m not able to explain it myself. It’s too much and I am ill equipped to put such things into words. Thankfully Kent’s wife, Lyndsey, has taken the time to share a few of the details. If you would like to read about Kent’s journey, click on the link HERE.

I wish we lived in a world where the sick could focus their attention on getting well. Instead we live in a world where the sick have to worry about how to pay for treatment.

If you would like to make a donation to help Kent battle cancer, please click HERE.

Thank you so much!


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Published on March 27, 2014 11:17 • 20 views

March 24, 2014

Sight Singing in Solfege

I’m in the process of adding a sight singing unit to my music studio. In the future, these “worksheets” will be found under my music studio “sight singing” tab.

I use solfege constantly when teaching voice students. It’s such a useful tool for ear training and can be equally useful in teaching students to read music. These worksheets have been designed as a resource for teachers and may be copied for incidental, non-commercial use.


sltdgabcThe first step to sight singing is to learn to sing a major scale while using the hand signs. Engaging the hands while singing will increases your understanding and retention. After you have mastered the scale, try mixing up the pitches. After you have the pitches and hand signs down, move on to the worksheets.

Sight Singing 1.0 in the Key of C. Understanding the relationship between Do and So.

Sight Singing 1.1 in the Key of C. Understanding the relationship between Do, Mi, and So.

Sight Singing 1.2 in the Key of C. More practice understanding the relationship between Do, Mi, So.



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Published on March 24, 2014 11:45 • 38 views

March 15, 2014

To view a PDF worksheet outlining key signature, click on the link: Major Key Signatures

All musicians must learn to identify key signatures and play within them. In particular, sight singing requires a clear understanding of key signatures. This is because the solfege scale is moveable and students must learn to find “do.” This is done by identifying the key of the song. If a song is in the Key of C Major (no sharps or flats) then “do” is on “C.”

Keys with Sharps

Memorizing the order of the sharps can easily be done by using the following mnemonic device:

Fat Cats Go Down Allies Eating Bananas. (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#, E#, B#)

The name of the key is 1/2 step higher than the last sharp.

For example, in major keys, if the last sharp is F#, the name of the key is G Major. That means that “do” is “G.”

If the last sharp is C#, the name of the key is D Major. That means that “do” is on “D.”

If the last sharp is G#, the name of the key is A Major. That means that “do” is on “A.”

If the last sharp is D#, the name of the key is E Major. That means that “do” is on “E.”

Keys with flats

Memorizing the order of the flats may be done by using the following mnemonic device:

But Even A Dumb Goat Can Fly. (B flat, E flat, A flat, D flat, G flat, C flat, and F flat)

The key with 1 flat (B flat) must be memorized. It is the Key of F Major. In the Key of F Major, “do” is “F.”

Subsequent flat keys may be identified by naming the second to the last flat.

For example, if I have a key with 2 flats (B flat & E Flat) the second to the last flat is “B flat.” The name of the key is B Flat Major. That means that “do” is “B flat.”

If I have a key with 3 flats (B flat, E flat, & A flat) the second to the last flat is “E flat.” The name of the key is E Flat Major. That means that “do” is “E flat.”

If I have a key with 4 flats (B flat, E flat, A flat, & D flat) the second to the last flat is “A flat.” The name of the key is A Flat Major. That means that “do” is “A flat.”

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Published on March 15, 2014 14:12 • 30 views

November 23, 2013

There has been a lot of interest in my scale sheets. As promised, I just added the minor keys. To get to them, simply search under my music studio tab, or you can click HERE

Have a great piano practicing day!


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Published on November 23, 2013 12:45 • 45 views

November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving is almost here. I love this simple roll recipe. It’s a little softer and sweeter than most and doesn’t take much effort. In other words, yum! (Feel free to cut the recipe in half.)

7 cups flour (may use up to 1/2 cup less if desired)

2 package active dry yeast (If using bulk yeast: use 5 teaspoons slightly rounded)

2  1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

In mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and yeast. Mix. In sauce pan, combine milk, sugar, shortening, and salt. Heat over medium heat until shortening almost melts, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Add milk mixture to flour and yeast and mix immediately. Add eggs. Mix. Gradually add remaining flour and knead into soft ball. I use an electric mixer with a bread hook. No work. So easy. By the way, you can’t really knead dough too much. The more you knead, the softer the bread. After kneading is done, place dough in greased/sprayed bowl. Spray top of dough with cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Punch down. If desired (for softer rolls) let rise again. Punch down and let dough rest 10 min. Roll out as desired. See instructions below for a few ideas. Place prepared rolls onto greased/sprayed baking sheet(s) or in greased/sprayed baking pan(s). Spray rolls with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise 30 minutes or until double in size. Carefully remove wrap. Bake at 350 for 10 — 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat. Butter tops and enjoy. Store leftover rolls in fridge in airtight container.

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Published on November 20, 2013 13:14 • 24 views

October 5, 2013

This is my favorite carrot cake recipe
In mixer, combine wet ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup olive oil

4 fresh whole eggs (I prefer cage free, partly because my husband audited a chicken farm once and he came home with a few horror stories. Ever since, I can’t bring myself to buy regular eggs.)

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients together. (Mix dry ingredients well)

2 cups pastry flour (You can actually use regular flour, but pastry flour is better.)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon (I tend to use a little extra.)

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix well.
Add 3 cups finely ground carrots. (Use a food processor) Fold carrots into batter and blend well.
Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts. Fold in. Blend well.

Pour into prepared 13″ x 9″ pan. Cook 50 — 60 min in preheated oven (300  degrees). Check cake to make sure that it is done. Cool completely before frosting.



1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar

12 ounces room temperature cream cheese

1 tablespoon REAL vanilla (Use the good stuff)

2 ounces room temperature margarine

Whip ingredients together until smooth and creamy. (If the frosting is too dry, add a little more vanilla.) Frost cake when cool.



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Published on October 05, 2013 18:38 • 43 views

September 25, 2013

I decided it was time to add a scale unit to my website. When I’m teaching, I generally reach for my tattered old scale chart and make a copy of it for my students. It is difficult to read AND it’s getting old. That’s why I have decided that it’s time for a new and improved solution. As I add these scale/chord worksheets, I will make a post so that anyone else in need of this resource will get the notice. :D
Scales, Chords, and Arpeg­gios for all key sig­na­tures, begin­ning through advanced studies.
Each work­sheet contains: a five fin­ger pattern, primary chord progression, octave scale, con­trary motion scale, 2 octave scale (the same fin­ger­ing as 3 — 4 octave scale), and tonic chord arpeggio. 
* The fin­ger­ings listed fol­low university standards.

C Major (No sharps or flats): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

G Major (1 sharp): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

D Major (2 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio

A Major (3 sharps): Scales, Chords, Arpeggio


(More to be added soon ~ Annette, 9.25.13)

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Published on September 25, 2013 15:59 • 66 views

September 22, 2013

Clean Indie Reachs Blog ButtonI have posted about this on facebook but decided to post a fresh link on my blog. The Clean Indie Read blog that started a couple of months ago has gotten off to a tremendous start. It’s a site that lists inexpensive ebooks rated G, PG, or PG-13. As I have watched this blog get started, I’ve been amazed at how fast it has grown. It’s a great resource for both readers and authors. If you haven’t taken an opportunity to check it out, here’s the link: Clean Indie Reads. The blog is run by the amazing, Lia London.

Below is a list of genres posted on the blog as of 9.22.13.

action (33)
adventure (33)
animals (13)
audio book (3)
Biblical fiction (5)
children’s literature (4)
Christian (21)
coming of age (8)
crime (9)
drama (9)
epic fantasy (3)
family fiction (6)
family saga (3)
fantasy (35)
historical fiction (24)
horror (1)
humor (10)
inspirational (10)
LDS (1)
literary fiction (2)
magic (7)
middle grades (30)
multicultural (3)
mystery (15)
myths/legends (6)
New Adult (9)
novella (8)
paranormal (8)
poetry (1)
religion (1)
romance (30)
satire (1)
science fiction (18)
series (37)
short stories (10)
sports (1)
spy (2)
steampunk (2)
superheroes (2)
suspense (7)
thriller (12)
time travel (1)
urban fantasy (3)
war (8)
western (4)
women’s fiction (8)
Young Adult (42)
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Published on September 22, 2013 20:31 • 74 views