Monday, May 28, 2012

From Awkward to Beneficial

When playing the organ, the organist may be required to use awkward positions of the hand and fingers. In a piece I am currently learning, there are some suggested fingerings. Fingerings are notated above or below the note with a number (or numbers for multiple keys). Each finger is numbered from 1 to 5 with the thumb being #1. In most cases I decided to go with those fingerings in the score. Someone (probably not the composer) felt confident enough in them to have the printed in the score.

This lead to some awkward hand positions for a few measures but I pressed on with them not even considering alternate fingers while practicing. At my last lesson Michael noticed. He suggested a different sequence which was much more comfortable for my hand and would make the section easier to execute. But my muscles only new the awkward way. I had a choice to make: keep playing the key with the awkward fingerings way or make the effort to switch to the suggested more comfortable fingerings.

In life there is often more than one way to accomplish a goal or task. Perhaps we have done it the same way for years. Then we learn of a different way which would be easier or more efficient (or better anyway).  But change can be hard and often requires effort. Some will stick to their old methods and say change is too hard! They would rather remain awkward than make the effort to learn a new way with a beneficial result. Sometimes awkward can be beneficial but not in this example.

I choose to learn those new fingerings and the benefits that came with making the change.

What choice will you make when change is presented in your life?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Eating candy bars for Jesus

This week a co-worker was selling candy bars to raise money for her son's youth group. The candy bars were in the office kitchen with an envelope and a short note explaining the goal of the fundraiser (I don't recall the fundraiser's purpose). Each candy bar was $1. I put $1 in the envelope and proceeded back to my desk and consumed the candy bar.

I later justified this by saying "I ate a candy bar for Jesus!". In an indirect way, the result of my purchase of the candy bar would support the youth group and thus be for Jesus. Right?

In retrospect, I was having a stressful day and just wanted to have a candy bar. At the time, I was not thinking about Jesus or the youth group of the son of a co-worker who I've never met. I don't know anything about the youth group and what its church believes. Maybe, it was not even a youth group that believes in Jesus. I hope it is a Christ believing group, but I didn't bother to check. I just wanted a candy bar to soothe my stress.

I did not need this candy bar as I have been attempting to lose a few pounds. If it was really about the youth group and Jesus I could have just put a $1 donation (or other amount) into the envelope and not taken a candy bar. I gave into the candy bar temptation instead of asking Jesus for way out. 

 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

This week (after the candy bar incident) I read an email from Weight Watchers that I could come back (I did WW previously) and they would waive the sign up fee. After discussing WW with a close friend, I decided to sign up again! I am planning to use Weight Watchers as my "way out" when food temptations arrive after today since I ate a lot of desserts for Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 2012 Lesson

This afternoon I had an organ lesson with Michael Gartz at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Today's lesson began with a question. What should I play first? Should it be a piece that I feel better about than the others? Michael said that when performing a recital the organist will start with a piece they are very comfortable with to give them confidence and help settle nerves. It seemed logical to start my lesson in this fashion.

I choose to being with Andante movement of Mendelssohn's Organ Sonata No. 6 which I had played through with only a few issues this morning before church. Well, about half way through it feel apart! There is a difficult section which I thought I had mastered. I could barely get through the measure. I was playing wrong notes and trying again slower did not help. Part of the issue was the pipe organ at Trinity sounds different than my electronic organ at home. I need to learn to adjust more quickly to different organs! Anyway, I eventually calmed down and managed to play through the problematic section.

The lesson proceeded with the usual things that occur during a lesson. I played through my pieces and Michael gave me feedback. Last fall, I had requested to learn a Christmas hymn. Michael choose O Come, All Ye Faithful.  Since I was very familiar with it, he felt it would be easier for me to learn. However, I continue to struggle with playing it evenly and adding time when I shouldn't. I am confident that I will be able to play by Christmas 2012!

I finally had Michael take my picture at the console. The sharp/flat keys are made of beautiful rosewood and the white keys are made of bone.

Heidi at Trinity Episcopal Church, Toledo, OH