Friday, 8 February 2013

Music in my Life

I've been playing piano on and off - mostly off - for twelve years. But I was never able to stick to it, or practice, or get anything out of it. I'm not even sure why I started in the first place. I never thought I'd ever start again after I quit for the third or fourth time about five years ago, but for some reason, I started playing again.

It all started a few weeks ago when our band met for the first time in the new year, under a new leader. So we went around the circle and introduced ourselves and told everyone what we do. For some reason I mentioned that I can play piano. And I can, I'm pretty good, but I'm not sure why I brought it up.

One thing led to another, and that day when we started rehearsing, guess who was playing keys... I was.

Something was different though. I thought it might have been because my band was counting on me to perform, or the whole youth ministry really, and I thought it might have been because we were playing Christian music, but I later realised why I was enjoying it so much.

And not just enjoying it, I was practicing... hard. I never practiced piano before when I had lessons as a child, so it came as a surprise to me one day when I was practicing one of the songs for about three hours straight.

I worked out what was so different about this time around. I was playing with a purpose in mind. I wasn't learning to play piano for the sake of learning, like I was many years earlier. I wasn't playing because my parents wanted me to, or because it was cool, or because it's meant to be good for you.

I was playing in a band, with a goal, to bring glory to God.

That changed everything. When I had a purpose, everything was meaningful, special, and significant. I loved it so much. I had my first "performance" tonight, if I can use that lofty term, and it was amazing. It was incredible, not like singing, I've been singing my entire life, and I've sung on stages so much it doesn't ever bother me now.

After the night had finished and all the kids had left the room; I kept going. The room was completely empty, and the sound equipment was still set up, so I went to the sound desk and unmuted the keyboard. Then I got back on the stage and played to an empty auditorium.

People came and went as they went about their business, and I just kept playing the same four chords over and over. We'd played that song all night just about, and I kept going and going. Getting more and more elaborate and technical with my improvisation.

It wasn't long before a friend of mine saw what I was doing. She got up next to me and started singing along. So then I started singing too. We stayed like that for about ten minutes, singing and playing, making most of it up as went.

And it was an incredibly powerful experience. One I'll surely never forget. Music has such a profound impact on my life and the lives of others that the opportunity to minister to someone through music, and impact the course of their evening in a significant way, is awe-inspiring.

It's my goal to continue playing keys for the youth band, maybe even for the Sunday services too. I want to get better and better, and become the best pianist that I can be. Because tonight I saw what kind of a difference it can have, even if it's four chords over and over and over.

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