Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Easy" Hymns

Today I settled down into our church pew, snuggling Esky after a dash across the carpark in the rain. "Mmm, you smell good," I thought. I butt-hopped closer to Haki and leaned into his side.

A dear friend approached and said, "Hello beautiful!" I looked at Esky and nodded in agreement. "I was talking to you, actually!" she clarified, looking me in the eye. She wanted something. I could smell it. Okay, I couldn't...because this particular human is generous with praise, but she did want something, and smell it or not, she made her wishes known; "[Our Plan B pianist] is away at a camp today," she paused, and I considered saying, "Oh, that's nice," and then engrossing myself in conversation with Esky...but instead remained silent; "Would you be able to play for us today?" I did my best not to grimace. I reluctantly parted with my squishy lap-warmer, and made my way to the front.

If you're new around here, let me fill you in. I can play the piano...but not that well.

The dear friend - also our branch chorister - followed behind me some of the distance, and sincerely attempting "reassuring" whispered, "Don't worry, they're easy ones today."


"Easy?" I think you mean "familiar."

A Short Lesson in "Angela Music Theory"
  • An "accidental" is a little symbol in front of a note that means, "Do not play the white key, play the black key to the left/right of it instead" OR "I know I told you to play the black key, but this note is an exception, play the white key -- this little symbol cancels out the other one that told you to play the black note instead."***
  • My perception of a song's difficulty directly relates to the number of accidentals that star as a screaming headline at the beginning of the song...none - no sweat, two - okay, three - you're pushing it, four - that is a lot of this*** to hold in my head...I will make mistakes.
Now let us return to those "Easy Hymns," shall we?
Read 'em and weep. I did

I survived, obviously. But not without a few wincers and head-shakers.

I scooted off to Primary after a few postlude numbers (of my own choosing, and so "easy" by my own definition), where I got to fill in for the missing pianist again. Not only that, one of the Primary members asked we sing, "Baptism."

Awesome. My go-to example of the hardest song in the Children's Songbook. Seriously, when a child approaches me and asks me to play at their baptism, I am chanting in my head, "Please do not say 'Baptism' is on the programme, please please please."

I know, I'm meant to be getting better at this so I'm not a lame stand-in. Lame like a horse is lame, not like a blonde joke is lame.

Progress Report:
I have created an
Excel spreadsheet listing all of the hymns in the LDS hymnbook, with corresponding columns in which I will designate each hymn's key, perceived difficulty, and my "before" and "after" confidence playing it. I will also use this to find the hymns I hope to master. Have I practised daily? No. Is my spreadsheet glorious? Yes. Have I played easy, action songs for Esky? Yes. The quest continues.
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