Category Archives: Music Stories

Chinese Food and Piano

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I was in the Sunday morning service and knew something was wrong.

Usually, I try to have coffee and eat something somewhat substantial on Sunday morning…especially if I’m playing for the morning service. I don’t have low blood sugar, but there are times when I feel lightheaded or weak or “out of it” if I haven’t had enough to eat.

This is how I felt when I started to play for the soloist. I had already played a ten minute prelude, played for four congregational songs, and the choir special.

I didn’t remember eating. I didn’t remember what had happened up to this point in the service. All I knew was that I couldn’t focus. My head was spinning and I felt all wobbly.

During the middle of the song, my hands started playing the wrong notes. I heard the notes as if they were in a tunnel. The soloist turned and looked at me questioningly.

I tried to recover. I had to keep going. Concentrate. Focus.

Nothing was working. Where were my hands? I couldn’t even see my music.

I would never live this down…

…I stirred and opened my eyes. Where was I?

Oh, it was a dream. It didn’t really happen. I’m in bed on a Saturday morning.

Whew. Praise the Lord!

Yes, I really did have this dream Friday night/Saturday morning. It was so real.

I don’t normally remember my dreams, but this one stuck with me.

I even went and practiced the song for the soloist for the next morning. Amazing how motivation works!

I was telling this story to my sister (who didn’t believe at first that I really had that dream), and she reminded of the time when she actually experienced this in real life.

I’m very thankful it was just a dream. I’m also thankful it happened Friday night instead of Saturday night, or I might have really been freaked out.

Sunday morning (the “real” Sunday morning), I remembered to have coffee and eat something with sustenence. And, thankfully, the worship service went well, even though my arms were a little tired when I was done.

Oh…the Chinese food, you ask? Couldn’t you guess? That was my dinner Friday night. It worked almost as good as pizza.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

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On this day…25 years ago…

Today’s date holds a special meaning for me.

Nope, it’s not my birthday.

Twenty-five years ago, on October 3rd, I started taking piano lessons. I was seven years old, and my mom dropped me off at my teacher’s house and watched me walk up to the door. According to my mom, I rang the doorbell then turned and waved excitedly at my mom, and sort of bounced up and down with excitement.

I don’t remember all of that, but I do remember that I was very excited about learning to play the piano. I had been wanting to learn how to play since I was five.

I would sit in church and watch the church pianists in awe, wishing that someday I could play like them.

My dad told me that if I really wanted to play the piano, I should pray for us to be able to get a piano. So, of course, I prayed with child-like faith. And on Christmas Day when I was six, I got my answer to prayer. You can see my huge smile in the picture below.

My Christmas present - a piano!

I was one very excited 6 year old!

I’m very thankful to say that twenty-five years later, I’m still playing the piano. And I’m the one now sitting at the piano with little girls looking up to me. I don’t take that responsibility for granted.

I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed playing every day of those twenty-five years. Have I ever wanted to quit? YES! Have I gotten worn out? YES! But, with the Lord’s help, I haven’t quit. And, for the majority of those twenty-five years, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I couldn’t have done any of this without the support of my parents. They never complained about paying for lessons, or driving me to the teacher’s house, or hearing the same song played over and over and over and over.

I was telling my mom the other day that this twenty-five year anniversary was coming up. She said that all the money and time that they invested was totally worth it. She never once regretted it or thought about how she could have used that money elsewhere.

Also, my sister (and my closest friend) encouraged me. Part of her “encouragement” was by playing my hard-practiced songs by ear without practicing…but that just motivated me more. She also was there when I wanted to quit and helped me keep going. (Thanks, sis!)

There have been five private piano teachers over those twenty-five years, and they all influenced me both musically and socially and spiritually.

Throughout the years, there have been numerous people (too many to count or name) that have encouraged me in my piano music.

Playing for a Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Concert in 2011

Playing for a Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Concert in 2011

Lastly, my husband is my constant supporter. He thinks it is “so cool” that he can have a private concert anytime he wants.

Twenty-five years (yes, a quarter of a century) have come and gone, and I still love playing the piano!

Here’s to twenty-five more years!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Band-Aids and Accompanists

So…I was washing the dishes last night and one of the items was a glass spaghetti jar. (Always good to be frugal and reuse things, right?) Anyways, as I was carefully washing the glass jar, I was reminded of the time when I was traveling with a music group in college…

We were traveling during the summer and visiting a different church almost every night. At this particular church, they decided to feed us before the service. We were supposed to be polite and offer to help clean up, do the dishes, etc. I actually enjoy washing dishes (weird, I know) so I offered to do just that. However, during the dish-washing, I had my hand inside a mason jar when the jar just broke and, consequently, I cut my hand. (Remember, pianists have super strong hands!!)

Fun stuff!!! I was supposed to play for the service in less than an hour and now my hand was bleeding. (Ok…so it was just a small cut, but it did bleed. We pianists have to do something for attention every now and then.)

Someone found a Band-Aid for me, and I was able to get the cut to stop bleeding. It’s always kind of fun to play the piano with a Band-Aid on…makes you feel like you’re being so strong and brave!!

I remember during the intermission of our presentation (during the video), I went to the back of the auditorium and changed to a new Band-Aid…just to be on the safe side. I don’t recommend getting any blood on the piano keys, especially if you’re visiting the church.

So, that’s my story of being oh-so-heroic!!! Have you ever had a similar experience? I would love to hear your story!!

P.S. And, since you’re wondering…no, I didn’t cut my hand last night washing the spaghetti jar. But I did wash very carefully and with much concentration and prayer!!

Weirdest Experience by Far

I promise – this really did happen! I was accompanying a special music group and had my music spread out across the piano. During the song, the air conditioning blew one of the pages, the last page, off the piano onto the floor. Thankfully, it landed with the music facing up. My mind started racing. What was I going to do when I needed that page?

Picture this: I was on the stage, about two steps up from the main floor. The page fell on the right side of the piano – the side that faced the congregation. Remember, I was playing the pedal with my right foot. So, I switched my left foot to the (right) pedal, leaving my right foot free to move. My right foot stretched to the music and turned it around so that it faced me. When I reached that point of the song, I just looked at the page on the floor and read the music from there! Whew – what a scary moment! I’m not sure what I would have done if the page have flipped over or flew farther away from me. Now I always check for air drafts, plus I use page protectors to secure the sheet music.

Has something like this ever happened to you?