Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Practice, practice... and practice some more!
That has always been my philosophy with special music pieces: practice the song till you're one step away from hating it. Thankfully, I've never gotten to the point of hating a piece because of practicing it too much... but, I've gotten close. :-) When I was still taking piano lessons, nothing would throw me off more than having to play at a recital after not getting enough practice time to feel fully prepared for the big performance. My stomach would twist, my palms would sweat, and my heart would beat like a drum... even though the audience usually consisted of ten or so families who would never remember how well I played the songs!
I'll never forget the winter I was desperately trying to practice three Christmas songs for a recital that I hadn't properly prepared for. I was a mess of nerves and, thankfully, my mother decided to have a baby the day before the recital so I didn't have to go! I took it as a sign of grace from God and passionately thanked Him for it... oh, and also thanked Him for the new baby, of course. ;-)
But that's the way I am. I love to feel prepared. Not just so I'm not shaking in my high-heeled dress shoes as I approach the piano, but also so I can enjoy the piece I've worked hard on and not just concentrate on getting through it alive! Music is a great way to bless those listening and I'm grateful for how God has helped me to get through the jitters in the past and now put me in a place where I'm playing at church on a weekly basis. That's definitely a way to kill a fear.
During family devotions tonight, my dad used the example of practicing a piano piece over and over so, when the time comes that you have to use all that hard work, you feel fully prepared and can come through without having a nervous breakdown (my version of his words!) as an illustration, as it's the same way with our Christian walk! A wise believer will take the time to study God's Word, pray, and live out his/her faith right now when it's not so hard and no one's watching. That way, when the time comes when faith is tested, the Christian will be fully prepared to face whatever difficulties they are faced with. If you haven't been practicing something, you will fail when the time comes to act on your progress.
If I don't practice a special piece I want to play for a Sunday morning, I could still probably bumble my way through it, but it would take lots of improvising, painful mess-ups, and distract listeners from where their attention should be during a time of worship: God. The same way goes for our own lives! If we don't practice our faith now and seek God guidance for our lives, what will happen when we hit a bump in the road? Most likely we will go through much more pain than necessary and maybe even cause others trouble through not being a good witness for Christ. And, worst of all, if we don't know God's Word through constant study, we will end up doing things our own way. We'll end up improvising to cover our mistakes instead of playing the beautiful piece in front of us the way it was intended.
This is something I struggle with. This is not something that's easy to live out! So, I challenge myself as I challenge you. Are you practicing for the recital? Or are you in need of preparation?
Sometimes we forget how important it is to be studying the Bible and spending time in prayer, but it HAS to be part of our lives.
And I can pretty much guarantee that no one is going to have a baby the day before YOUR "recital".