Thursday, November 15, 2012

Glory to God

Last week I got to perform a somewhat difficult number on the piano, to accompany a friend at church.  She was singing "Gesu Bambino" for a Relief Society Christmas dinner, and gave me the music to learn just under a week before we were to perform it.  I practiced my heart out, and when the night of the performance came, I prayed.

I've played the piano since I was very young, so I would say to most, with an aire of humility, that I'm a pretty good pianist.  I can sightread well, differentiate a singer's wishes with ease, and do quite well accompanying.  But usually, at least once a song, there are flub-ups, especially if I haven't had months to hone the piece.  With months of practice, I can play a song with my eyes closed.  This was not the case last week.

However, last week I tried something different.  Typically before a performance, I will pray and ask God to help me perform well.  I ask to not make a fool of myself, not lose pages off the piano, not lose my place, not have a train wreck on the keys.  All of these have happened to me or others, so I pray that none of those things will happen.  Often I'll pray while I'm playing a song, so when anxious jitters come, they will hopefully quickly dissipate and allow me to focus on the notes with clarity.

What was unique about last week's performance was that I had 5 friends attending the event who were not members of my faith.  They decided on a whim, after I had invited them earlier that day, that they would join the activity, and it would be their first encounter in an LDS meetinghouse.  (Who could turn down a free dinner with free babysitting and great music and devotions?)  Before I left the house, I prayed, fervently, that the night would be inspiring for them.  That they would be uplifted, draw closer to God, and be edified by the events.  I prayed for help in playing this newly learned song, for no disasters, and for any glory that I might receive to be given to HIM, rather than to me.  I didn't desire any attention, and recognition, any praise for my skills and lifetime of practice.  I asked for maybe a little inspired help from the composer, if such a thing were possible.  None of this has ever occurred to me before as something to pray for, besides basic enlightenment or edification for the audience.

Beautifully enough, my fingers played well.  One of my best performances ever, I would say.  Beautiful piano and fortissimo sounds, beautiful changes in pace and spacing.  Dramatic sounds, beautiful words sung by the vocalist.  No train wrecks, no lost pages, no losing my place on the page.  I think my fingers may have missed one note.  Just one.  

Interestingly, no one really said anything to me, besides my mom, pointing out mildly that it sounded nice.  One of the sisters commented in her talk that she believed angels were singing with us tonight, which is something else I added to my prayer request.  But beyond that, I got no glory.

It was awesome.

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