Tickling Those Ivories….


Tickling is an exaggeration!  It’s more like tinkering!  I’m not much of a player.  Not proficient by any stretch of the word!

I was one of those kids who wanted to play the piano really bad, but didn’t like to practice!  My Mom put up with it for a few years…. but when my piano teacher (who happened to be my neighbor) didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t practicing my scales and such….. my Mom decided to pull me from piano.  Or, maybe it was my decision.  I can’t remember.  I just know that I have always regretted it!

I still wanted to play the piano though.  So….. I would force myself to slowly learn and memorize a popular piece of music.  Then I could impress all my friends by playing something fancy from memory!  Luckily…. I had had enough piano lessons that I was able to teach myself to do that.  But…. .even with what piano lessons I had taken….. I didn’t stick with it long enough to really learn the more difficult counts of notes.  That’s something I’ve never felt very confident at.  I still don’t!

I fake my way through a lot of stuff.  I’ve been pretty good at learning music by rote.  At least vocally….. I don’t have the talent to do that on the piano!  And because I sing, people just assume that I can read all kinds of music and that I must play the piano too….. because that’s what most music people do.  They learn to read music well as well as being able to play the piano well.  I’m pretty sure most choral conductors can play a pretty mean piano.  Some better than others….. but ALL much better than I.

Because I”ve never felt very proficient at the piano, I’ve never  wanted to accompany anyone.  I make WAY too many mistakes!  I wouldn’t want my accompanist to do that if I were singing….. so I don’t consider myself to be an accompanist.  I’m pretty much what you would call a closet pianist.  It’s strictly for pleasure, and then I don’t do it very often anymore.

I work in the Temple.  By work I mean volunteer.  I only work one day a week now.  We always start our shift off with what they call Preparation Meeting.  It’s a 2o min meeting that consists of an opening song, a prayer and then a short talk or some instructions from one of our coordinators or someone from the Temple Presidency.  As part of that meeting, there is always some prelude and postlude music played.  Several years ago, I was working with a lady in the temple who was the pianist for our Preparation meetings occasionally.  As far as I was concerned…. I thought she played the piano fairly well.  I was down on the list as someone who could lead the music, but not play the piano.  After a discussion one day with the afore mentioned Sister…. I came to realize that I needed to be willing to play the piano if I was needed.  She said she had never accompanied anyone either until working in the temple.  It was something I personally was afraid to do.  I make so many mistakes, even more so when I’m nervous…. I was just sure that no one could even sing if I was playing!

Not too long after that discussion, I was asked to play the piano for Preparation meeting.  I hadn’t volunteered…. I was just coincidentally got asked to play.  The Sister who asked me to play figured that since I could lead music and could sing that I must be able to play the piano!  Once again….. we sometimes just make assumptions without really knowing the facts!  I told her that I didn’t play very well and that I may be too nervous to do it.  She said she was desperate because no one else on that Preparation meeting played the piano.  I decided it was time to suck it up and give it a try.

I went out and purchased some fairly easy to play Prelude and Postlude music.  I worked with the person leading the music to pick the opening songs because I knew that I could play just anything.  I was absolutely petrified the first day I played!   I had practiced and practiced, but I was still petrified!  Though it wasn’t perfect…. I made it through OK!  Since then, I have been asked to play several times….. once again because they are short on pianist in the temple.  Though I still don’t play well, and I still make lots of mistakes….. it’s been such a good thing for me to do!  I’ve discovered that I don’t need to play loud when they are singing….. then they don’t hear my mistakes!!   I wouldn’t want it as a regular calling!  Not unless I went back to taking piano lessons and practiced really hard!  But it has been good for me to do it.

I am grateful for that opportunity to play the piano in the temple and for the growing experience it has been for me!   It makes me realize that I really should take more time to just play for fun, like I used to!  I was thinking today that I need to pull out all that old music that I once had memorized as a teenager and see if I could play it again.  Somewhere in my brain those memory cells have to be triggered for it all to come back!  It would take some practice….. but it would be good for me!  And I would probably have fun too!

I’m grateful for the piano.  I’m grateful that I can tinker on it!  I so appreciate people who are proficient at it!  Like my cute young friend Caleb Spjute!  (See his blog link to the right of this post under Blogroll)  I’m grateful to even have a piano to play!  One of my dreams is to someday own a Baby Grand!  When that happens….. I will take time to play for enjoyment!  How can I have one of those in my home and not do that!

I am Grateful!  How are you?

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