Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Piano to Organ to Organist!

It all started 15 years ago when a wonderful piano teacher spotted something in me and let me start lessons when I was 6 instead of her customary cut-off age of 7. I took piano lessons for 9 years, progressively getting lazier and lazier. I made excuses not to practice, I don't like the song, I'm good enough I don't have to, etc. Finally, when I was 15 I took the plunge and quit piano lessons, and decided that I would take up the organ. My mom found me a teacher; a woman who taught at BYU-I and did private lessons on the side. I loved it! I really enjoyed the challenge that organ presented me. I still didn't practice as much as I should have, and I didn't put as much effort into it as I should have, but I loved it.

The Mormon tabernacle organ.                                                                                The manuals on the Mormon Tabernacle organ.
Someday I will play this beautiful instrument.

Now pan to my first semester at BYU. Through my mom's promptings, I signed up for private organ lessons. After learning that I was expected to practice an hour a day for five days of the week, I chickened out and dropped the class, rationalizing that I just didn't have the time with my busy schedule.

Winter Semester 2010, the first winter semester as a married student. Once again through my mother's promptings I signed up for private organ lessons. My teacher was a grad student named Joseph. He pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed before. To meet his expectations, I had to practice those five hours a week and instead of resenting it like I thought I would, I adored it. Joseph inspired me to do my best and because I wanted to show him that I was a good organist, I worked my tail off. I had never played such difficult pieces before, piano or organ, but I enjoyed learning the new skills needed to pull them off. It was during this time that a member of our bishopric, who also happens to be a good friend of my husband's, heard me mention to Alan that I was off to play the organ. He inquired as to how long I had played and I told him and I rushed off not thinking anything about it.

Two months later I was called as the ward organist. I absolutely love my calling! Since I had started organ I had wanted to be called as the ward organist (I know, wanting callings is bad) and I was in heaven. But I started slacking off again. I didn't/don't practice throughout the week as much as I should and that has made for some embarrassing Sundays where I completely fall apart on a piece. But I still enjoy it and I'm trying to do better and magnifying my calling.

Well about one month after I was called as ward organist, our ward's high councilor was talking about stake callings and releasings and at the mention of Joseph's name I start paying attention. Since I had missed what he was called to do, I turned to my husband. "Stake music chair," he whispered in response to my question. And within two weeks, Joseph had called me to see if I would play in stake conference. What an honor! I said yes and started practicing like a good, diligent little girl should.

Once again stake conference has come around and Joseph has asked me to play. I am so grateful  for this opportunity. I love playing the organ; I love the happiness it brings to my soul and to the souls of others. I was just practicing for it, and can I just say that it will be a lovely meeting and that I am so very excited  for what our stake presidency is going to teach us.

1 comment:

Katie said...

It's funny all the things you don't think about. I, for instance, have never thought at all about someone spending hours practicing the organ for stake conference. I'm touched by your dedication both to your instrument and to your service to the stake. I'm looking forward to listening to you play at stake conference. And I think I'll be paying a little closer attention this time.

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