Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No one notices the pianist until she makes a mistake

During one of the early weeks after I was called as the secretary in young women, I was listening to the young women sing our one verse, a cappella hymn. I'm sure it was a joyous noise for the Lord to listen to, if not the room at large (seriously - try and sing with young girls. Their voices make noises that older voices just can't. It's difficult at best.)

I had the best idea I've had in a long time. Or maybe it was the worst. Being in a new ward meant that we we singing sacrament hymns to the piano, because most of our organists lived in the section of the ward that didn't stay with us. It also meant that Nicole, the lady who was playing the piano, learned how to play the organ in two weeks. In our young women class, every now and then one of the girls would volunteer to play top hand, but they hadn't practiced, and with them doing everything in the meeting (conducting, praying, leading the music, starting the YW theme, etc.) I didn't think it was fair to ask a girl to play off the cuff, without having time to practice. Inspired by Nicole, I decided that I should pick a hymn each week and learn the top hand to play for the girls. I ran my idea past the young women president and she gave me approval.

I became the unoffical young women pianist (snort!)

So here I am, three months later. I've decided it's the silver lining for my calling. I can't tell you how nervous I get when I play. Most of the time, even if I have practiced playing both hands, I can't manage the stress of playing both hands while people are singing along. But I'm learning and improving so much. I don't think it's anything I've done to get better; I think it's just a blessing that I'm getting since I'm playing for the girls. But whatever the source of my improvement, I'll take it.

Years ago, my BFF Melanie gave me a book filled with simplified Christmas music. Each year since, I've tried to play O Holy Night, with varying degrees of success. This year was the first year I've been able to get through the whole song with two hands. It makes me so happy! I also practiced We Three Kings (a much easier song) and was able to get through it with two hands most of the time. And for church, I played Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Joy to the World.

It makes me happy. I feel silly, putting myself forward each week as the pianist. Because really, no one at church really pays attention to the pianist unless they make a mistake - which I do frequently. I've convinced myself that the girls roll their eyes at my playing, which probably isn't true, but I think it every time I miss a note. But I keep playing because I want to learn. I want this little hobby that makes me happy.