Nine Lessons and Carols 4

I’ve played the organ for quite a few church services this year. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed it. I’m still finding my way around the keyboards and pedals, I’m still working out the best stops to use. I don’t like the fact that the organ appears to be a purely technical instrument: it doesn’t allow expression in the way a piano does.

Worst of all, I don’t like the context in which I’m playing. I find playing for a congregation very difficult, and consequently I get nervous in the time running up to the service. I feel very exposed, there on my own with nowhere to hide. I’m not playing for myself, I’m there to cue in the congregation and to keep them on track as they’re singing. I’ve got to follow the service carefully and immediately play the appropriate piece at the appropriate time. Even keeping track of the number of verses in a song can be tricky. (Someone suggested that I say the number of the verse out loud as I begin playing it. That works)

My wife asks why do it if I don’t enjoy it. The answer is that I hope to enjoy it someday. I was nervous the first time I stood up to perform, the first time I sent a story off to a publisher, the first time I spoke to girl I liked (and pretty much all the subsequent times). As has become a theme in this series of posts, the things that give me the most pleasure tend to be the things I’ve invested in. There’s not much fun in things that come too easy.

Apart from going for a walk of course. Everyone should walk more.

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