When a Pianist Cannot Play a Piano

I am appreciative of the keyboards I have been given and provided in the bands, at home, at church. I play them all and it satisfies…

When a pianist cannot play a piano, however, there is a yearning left unattended. A keyboard does not have the same flavor, the same passion, the same presence. That being said all pianos are not alike and some are not better than a full sized keyboard.

I have a piano that sits awaiting renewal. It needs love to play to its potential. That love costs a great deal of money we keep having to put into house repairs and maintenance. I suppose all those things are more important…

A pianist longs to pour into a piano. A pianist without a piano is a visitor, is not home yet. There is no home without a piano there. It cannot be home because the passion remains bottled up. Waiting…

I see us Christians as pianists awaiting their piano in heaven. (I hope there are pianos in heaven… I would love to play for God and for you all.) But I think our home with God in heaven is like our great piano to make it home and pour our passion into. I long for it, look forward to it. ❤

Piano Passion

When I was younger, the Lord, art, and nature were my great passions. Not much has changed except that awkward 20-year phase where men snuck into that mix. I love my family now, adore my children, but more rare-for-this-season moments of passion still center around the Lord, art, nature and music.

I love playing the piano. To me, piano playing is my strongest outlet of all these passions. When I play, no matter what it is, it somehow takes me outside to nature in my mind and soul. It is an expression of art and a release of passion welling up. And of course the ability to play well and with this passion is without question a generous gift from God. He saw fit to put the piano into my dna.

I hear nonsense that anyone can learn to play the piano passionately. Anyone can learn to push the keys down, can learn timbre, methods, theory, timing, sustain pedal, etc. Yes, you can diligently study those things and apply them with professionalism. But the passion part, the art, the creativity, the mastery can only happen with God’s touch. There is no doubt in my mind.

Any craftsman and amazing artist is inspired by God, gifted by Him. This is true for any craft.

Because God is the ultimate Master of every craft.❤

Playing Piano for Worship 101

I was taught piano by my mom (music conservatory trained) from a young age, before preschool, to play the piano. I am classically trained but also trained to play for church/worship. These are two differing philosophies. While both are fun and rewarding, one, classical, is played to show off your skills and the composer’s skills and one, worship, is to show off God. The key to being successful in leading hearts into worship lies in whether or not you have adequately prepared, and I do not mean having the chord sheets or notes ready or memorizing the song, though that is a tiny part of it. “You cannot teach what you do not know.” You will never lead another to worship if you are unfamiliar with the concept. You must worship as a lifestyle. Loving God, studying the Bible, praying, serving Him and others, loving people are all forms and extensions of worship to God. When you live in that and keep humble, God will play through your fingers when the time comes to smooth out any imperfections or distractions during live worship after you have practiced ahead of time and lived in this state of worship. As you are diligent to God, He rewards with blessings of being able to share that and draw them in. And do not underestimate the power of a sustain pedal and inflection- building up a song vs. quiet moments of contemplations. Be ok with pauses. Be comfortable in your skin. You play for God and not people. That is a key ingredient. I always sing, out loud or in my mind, while I play. When you mean it, you play from the heart fearlessly and just play for Jesus, like it is you and He in the room. I do this whether I play for Jesus alone or play before thousands of people gathered to worship Jesus. Same thing. Numbers never matter, but your heart does. I detest emotionless playing for worship. God deserves our passion, our putting of ourselves and intention into what we play for Him. We represent His worthiness to be worshipped when we play so it must reflect that. It is an honor and a privilege to lead worship from the piano and He blesses those who do it well, meaning from a heart of constant worship and dedication to God. Nothing is better, so do it right, do it well. Go with God!! ❤

Tickling the Ivories or Ode to Piano and Music

The absolute best thing in the world my mom taught me was how to play the piano. I could play and read music before I could read books well. Not always the best student, I readily admit, I often did not practice. But when it came time to perform, I nailed it and no one ever knew. Except me. And mom. But I digress. I loved playing, could play for hours at a time on a rainy or snowy day, wrote many many songs and loved hearing the music that came out of my emotions and thoughts of the moment. I was encouraged by my church and played for church. Music is a benefit to the soul and the body and mind. It was a gift of healing from God. Many years I left it alone because of no access to it with school (too many years of college) and work and life. One day I went to the music department and asked for special permission to use a practice room. Hadn’t played in years and had to try out for a college piano master teacher. I played a little piece I wrote and he offered me not only the practice room but also a position in his department teaching dynamics and original composition. I had to turn it down (like a sensible idiot) because I was in premed and had a full time PCA position at the hospital. But I felt confident again and started to play again when I could. Years passed, I tried out for a band at a church playing piano. Then I had access to the church piano anytime. A gorgeous grand, I loved going late at night and playing on it. Piano has always been my staple, my comfortable home wherever I have been. When nothing else made sense or when crazy became too crazy, piano was my outlet and calm. It was my friend I could turn to wherever I was for any reason or emotion. It was always also my saving grace link to my God, who I am so thankful provided music to my life. And when the kids came, I lost it again, having much to do until the last several years of being in bands at church and oldies rock and roll. I even got some of my classical pieces out the other day and was surprised I could play them, though a tad rusty. Piano is my home. Nothing is more perfect than standing or sitting behind those familiar keys, always beckoning me to play, always accepting of my successes and failures, the perfect way to express where my heart is, the love of my life. I think all musicians feel this way with their instrument of giftedness. So musicians speak in this language of mutual respect for this same deep bond of music we share. It is sacred and irrevocable. No one but a musician can truly get that aspect of another musician. They can try but never quite understand its importance. So, play on and rock on, my beautiful musician friends. And thank you, God, as always for music, a piano, the opportunity to play and a mom who started me on this path of no return.