Skip to main content

#LightTheWorld

Blogging Buffet: P is for Piano

The theme of my A to Z Challenge posts this year is "Blogging Buffet." In celebration of recently posting my 1000th blog post, I am revisiting posts from the past.  This post originally published on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Lessons Learned from the Piano

Photo:  An old upright piano

Confession:  I was not a very good piano student.  I started lessons when I was 5 or 6, and quit for the first time after about a year. I repeated that start-and-stop approach once or twice, and that was the extent of my formal piano training.  It must have been frustrating for my parents and teachers. However, my parents supported me in my decisions and my teachers gave me a good foundation. 

Despite my lack of technical musical knowledge, I really enjoy playing the piano.  There is just something very "homey" about having a piano taking up a huge spot of floor space, and of being able to gather 'round the piano and sing together (which we do weekly during our Family Home Evening.).

When I was in junior high, I was asked to accompany the children's organization (Primary) at church .  That was when I really learned to play the piano.  Do you remember junior high?  That time in your life when all of your faults and mistakes were broadcast in neon lights to the rest of the world?  That's the perfect time to ask someone to play the piano weekly in a public setting, because it spurs one to practice!  I died of embarrassment on multiple occasions.  Some of the children were better piano players than I was!  The chorister was patient and kind, and I gradually gained confidence. 

I no longer accompany for Primary, but I still find myself facing opportunities to learn humility.

Because the organ and the piano both have keys (but believe me, they are very different instruments!), often pianists are asked to play the organ at church.  Having absolutely no formal training in playing the organ has led to some colossal mistakes on my part.  Two in particular stand out in my mind:

1. The time I didn't realize that all of the stops were on.  The music sounded very "full" that day, but it wasn't until the sacrament hymn that I realized I was hearing trumpets!  Not the usual sound for quiet, sacred hymns.  I got a good ribbing from my friends that day. 

2. The time not too long ago that I realized that the organ has a knob to the side of the keys that can be turned to transpose up or down.  I could hear that the sopranos were very quiet, but it wasn't until someone pointed out the knob to me that I realized that I was playing the songs transposed down quite a few steps.  The altos thanked me that day for allowing them a chance to sing the melody.  I'm not sure what the poor basses thought.

Learning humility isn't just a function of playing the organ, though.  My latest responsibility at church is playing the piano for two choirs.  I haven't made it through a rehearsal yet without an obvious-to-everyone mistake.  (While absolute perfection would be nice, I'm realistic enough to settle for making mistakes that the congregation won't hear and that don't throw off the choir.)  I think my biggest challenges, besides just playing the right notes, will be learning to turn pages during performances, and getting my fingers to play the sixteenth note runs at the correct speed. 

Here are a few things I've learned from making musical mistakes:
1.  Most people don't even hear the mistakes.
2.  Most people who do hear the mistakes have been in my position before, and understand.
3.  The few who don't fit in either of the first two categories probably aren't judgmental anyway.

In other words, I just need to practice, give it my best shot, and don't worry about me. I have been asked to play, and when I can focus outward on helping the choir present their message, and on helping the congregation feel the spirit of the music, I don't have time to worry about me.  Playing the piano is fun, and perfection isn't required to make it enjoyable for either the player or the listener.

 photo visiting2_zps6d4521f3.jpg

 photo ThankfulThought4_zps7d9599c2.jpg
Thanks for pianos.

 photo signature3_zps16be6bca.jpg


Pin It

Comments

  1. Wow....funny i recall you saying you played at church i just figured you were at lessons for years and took to it like some sort of savant!!! Haaa.....ridiculous really what i can assume! Pretty much that anyone that can play piano is a savant cuz i cant do it! Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not an organist, I just play one at church. :-)

      Delete
  2. An organ can sure be intimidating! I "kind of" play the piano and I sang in choir as a little girl. I used to look at that huge organ and just be in awe! Would have loved hearing you play!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you are as qualified as I am! :-)

      Delete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Post-Thanksgiving Edition

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I'll jump right in:

1. I'm thankful for cooperative return policies. Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had to return a range that I had purchased, and I hoped that the particular range was just a lemon and that the replacement wouldn't have the same problem. Well, unfortunately, it did. On the bright side, the store quickly picked up the second range and refunded my money. I'm putting appliance purchases on the back burner (!) for the moment. 

2. I'm thankful for temples. I went one morning this week to the temple. I'm always amazed at how much insight comes in just an hour or two of reflection. 

3. I'm thankful for my sister. She and her family came to Utah to spend Thanksgiving with her in-laws, and I got a chance to see her and her family on Wednesday. The last time I saw her was in January at our grandma's 100th birthday celebration. We feel lucky to have two visits in one year! 

4. I'm thankful for my brother. …

Ten Things of Thankful: Home Edition

This has been a take-care-of-things-at-home week, and I'm thankful.  It feels good to tackle the mundane, yet necessary, tasks of home.  




I've done loads and loads of laundry.  (1) I'm thankful for clothes, sheets, and towels.  

I've paid bills. (2) I'm thankful for sufficient money to meet our needs.

I've de-cluttered. (3) I'm thankful that still-useful items can be shared with others.

I've done some aquarium maintenance. (4) I'm thankful for beautiful fish that provide a calming influence.

I've dusted, vacuumed, and cleaned. (5) I'm thankful for the joy that comes with a clean house.

I've tackled paperwork. (6) I'm thankful for the satisfaction that comes when tasks are completed.

I've received my ballot, and will soon vote. (7) I'm thankful to live in a free country. 

I've washed dishes.  (8) I'm thankful to have plenty of good, healthy food to eat. 

I've spent time reviewing commands with Drexel.  (9) I'm thankful …

Ten Things of Thankful: Another Action-Packed Week, but in a Good Way

Last week, I was thankful for bruises that weren't breaks.  This week wasn't quite as adventurous as last, but I'm still a bit dizzy in the Wow has it just been a week since. . .  sort of way.