Sunday, December 14, 2008

Playing the Offertory

I played a duet with a guitar player for the offertory this morning (you know, the music while the offering plates get passed around. It would be rather awkward if there were no music.) We played "What Child Is This" twice and then transitioned into "The First Noel" and stopped after the first chorus. I've played the flute since I was 11, and even though I'm not spectacularly good at it, I'm good enough that I've been playing with the worship team on Sunday mornings at the church we've been attending (and have now applied for membership, actually.) It doesn't get any better than that: I get to play every week AND I get to do it to the glory of our Lord!

About the fifth measure into it, I forgot what the key signature was and totally messed up on the measure. I don't know why I thought it should be E-flat, but that's what I played. Totally wrong. I didn't stop playing (I know better!), and I could see the guitar player looking at me out of the corner of his eyes, kinda like, "what are you doing?" I realized I needed to just give up on that measure and move on, so I started the next measure about when I thought it should start and kept playing. It was actually something of a relief! Now that I had messed up, I could just enjoy playing the rest and not worry about it! So I did. I enjoyed playing instead of worrying about it, and made sure that I played that measure perfectly the second time around!

Afterwards, if I confessed my HUGE GIGANTIC mistake to anyone, they were amazed! They hadn't noticed anything wrong! It sounded great to them! This astounds me. I totally have empathy for a musician if they make a mistake, but I do notice it. Especially on familiar music like Christmas carols. At least, the kind of mistake I made today (wrong notes); I probably wouldn't notice if they played the wrong rhythm. Probably. Not that I'm judging in any way! Just that I know what it's supposed to sound like and so I hear when it's wrong. I guess my ear is trained, after so many years of playing. I'm sure other members of the worship team noticed my mistake. I KNOW the guitar player did. Poor guy. It took him a couple measures, it sounded like, before he figured out where I was and got back on track.

The last time I played the offertory, it was a trio of violin, flute, and piano. I did the same thing: I forgot what the key signature was and played wrong notes. Afterwards, someone told me "at least you didn't miff it like the violin player!" I hadn't heard her play anything wrong. Talking about it with my husband later, we determined that one of two things had happened: 1) my mistake had messed her up and she made a more noticable mistake, or 2) they noticed my mistake, but they thought it was the violin. Oops.

Practicing the music more often would probably prevent these mistakes. I mean, they're key signature mistakes! These are errors that shouldn't happen after junior high! I feel terrible that I'm allowing them to happen. It's the pressure of playing in front of so many people. On the other hand, being so nervous that I'm shaking gives me great vibrato!


Laurie said...

Really nice that no one noticed! Our music is solely accompanied by a single guitar. It would be nice to have a few more instruments. It just sounds soooo good!

I am musically declined! I can barely sing a note without people covering their ears in agony!

Jennifer said...

lol, musically declined! My husband is the same way: can't hold a melody to save his life, poor guy. His dad too. Except his dad sings loudly...

wow, just one guitar. I would have thought if there were just one instrument it would be piano, so that's kinda neat to have something different.