Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Song You Wish You Could Play

I'm not sure how this differs from the previous topics, but I hate to give up so close to the end.

As I've said, I am not particularly talented at any musical instrument, but I've already had to ponder what I would play if I could play an instrument... so I suppose this topic is supposed to be a piece of music suited to something I can play that I just can't perform.

I started singing in the church choir when I was six and I've sung in a variety of different capacities since then. As more than one person has told me, sometimes kindly and sometimes not so kindly, I cannot read music and I audition terribly, which definitely limited the experiences I could have that might possibly have, you know, improved my ability to read music and perform better at auditions. There's nothing wrong with my voice (and I did have the lead in the high school musical, thank you very much) (the director knew I could sing, just not audition) but it's been next to impossible to find a situation in which I didn't have to audition but would be pushed enough to learn.

About two years ago, I switched congregations and joined the church choir. This I do not say lightly, on either point. The church appealed in part because I wanted a place with strong solid music, and I spent several months listening to the choir and thinking that there was absolutely no way that I would ever be able to pant behind the group, let alone keep up. Note that I joined *after* Christmas and well before Easter; I thought I would escape challenges for a while. Ha! They threw me into Evensong rehearsals right away.

This choir is hard core, work you hard, push you harder and then give you an extra shove. Because God is kind, the woman who sits next to me teaches music to grade schoolers. With a great deal of patience (I marvel at how many times she is able to calmly remind me of the same basic principles of music theory) I am slowly but surely learning stuff I wish I'd learned at six or sixteen or even twenty-six. I can often, though not always, hear a chord, and where I fit in it. I know what's a crunchy chord and why they can be good. When I mess up I am more likely to know that I have messed up, though that's not to say that I get it right the next time through.

By the by, I should say that this choir laughs a lot and that it's a really incredible group of people. All of this work is fun (work, but fun) because of them, and the director works hard to keep it that way.

Last year, because this is a hard core choir, we did Bogoroditse Devo as part of Christmas. Yes, that is High Church Slovonic. Yes, it is a bear of a piece, and we sang it about twice as fast. Really. Last year, I would have listed this piece as my goal, the Song I Wish I Could Sing.

We did it again this year - with the help of the endlessly patient teacher, I did it. Ha! Take that, High Church Slovonic sadists!

I suppose that my goal this year is to approach a Mag & Nunc, any Mag & Nunc, without fear and trembling. 'cos they last a lot longer...


Tracie said...

There was a guitar piece my great-grandfather wrote, and which my dad could play, and somewhere there were lyrics to it. It was a gentle twangy little song with a rhythm I loved, and I guess now that Dad's gone it doesn't exist anymore except for snippets trapped in my head, because I cannot play any instrument at all.

That, for me, is the one I wish I could play.

kittiesx3 said...

This blog post reminds me (again) how grateful I am to have learned to read music in elementary school. I've taken it for granted all my life in the same way I take for granted that I have brown eyes. What you wrote made me appreciate again that I was allowed to learn to play various instruments.