I love beautiful melodies, blending with others in harmony. I love playing the piano. I love to sing the things I feel, which is why I’ve always had a special enjoyment of worship music. So my roles in music have ebbed and flowed in seasons throughout my whole life, often taking turns that surprised me. I didn’t think it was an unusual thing to take piano lessons when I was in high school – lots of people played instruments or sang in choir. But these days, no matter what group I’m in there seems to be a scarcity of people who are comfortable playing. When no one else steps up, I always figure that I’m better than no one playing at all, which sort of takes the stress out of playing for me.
One of the biggest surprises was ending up being a piano teacher myself with actual students wanting lessons. I always felt that what I was really good at in that role was motivating young children, not necessarily being a skilled player or teacher. Lots of things about teaching were fun. Lots of things weren’t. Scheduling was hard, and there were always students who missed lessons frequently. When I started forgetting lesson times it got downright embarrassing and stressful. I also ended up with a couple students who played better than I did, also embarrassing.
I’ve had three different teachers in piano, two different ones in voice. I think I’ve been able to play for every church I’ve regularly attended and some where I was just a guest! I’ve had the fun of accompanying my own daughters when they took their lessons on flute and cello. I had a lot of fun playing with my friend Debbie, Esther’s flute teacher, when she did weddings and events. I’ve played for funerals and memorials.
It seems like music has gotten more complicated lately – the fault of the techno age if you ask me. In all my learning experiences, no one taught me about pads, riffs, breakdowns, etc… I had a pretty advanced music work station (keyboard) when I was teaching but years later it started making some awful sounds and died. We eventually discovered that some of it’s adhesives inside had melted during an episode of Florida heat. But somewhere in there I started saying I played keyboard even though it is a lot different than playing piano. I still don’t know enough about it. But that does bring me up to the present.
I started singing at the church I attend about a year ago. Sometimes I just sing at the early service which is a blend of traditional and contemporary. Some weeks I am needed at the later service too, which is all contemporary. And lately I’ve started playing piano. There are three others who do keys and piano so I’m the newcomer. There hasn’t been a lot of stress involved – I haven’t made any promises and there aren’t expectations to meet. Everything is voluntary. It’s still fun as I get to know the people better and get used to the way they do their music.
This coming Sunday there is an event called One Concert. It’s a conglomeration of worship musicians and singers who meet for a concert open to the public every other month. They are given a set list and pdf’s to download (techno, see what I mean) and meet for soundchecks and one hour of practice, then the concert. It’s held at a local Mennonite church but there are people from many Christian denominations taking part. It’s a mix of contemporary and classic worship music. I’ve been invited to join in, but I’m not even sure what they are going to let me play. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the oldest person playing – I find that happening all the time now. Fortunately there are going to be a lot of musicians and the focus is worship, not performance. I am looking forward to it and am thinking it will be an awesome night.