Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is hard to keep up with! I do love to write...unfortunately many things stay in my head. Crowding stuff! Here's a little blogella.

I never learned how to read or play music. I took a little bit of guitar and sang in chorus, but never learned how to read music. In fact, thinking back, I suppose I faked it a bit in chorus because we did those "sight reading" things and I just pretended. Interesting. So, like any Mom trying to redeem her own childhood, my children are learning to read music. As many of you know we've played the tin whistle a bit, and we are now taking recorder classes. Feel free to hum Hot Cross Buns right Isn't that the only thing most of us learned? It makes me giggle. So, I did buy myself a recorder, just like I bought myself a tin whistle. I'm going to learn, too!

The nights that I remember for all of us to practice is fun for me. The kids want to hear themselves play, but I want to play, too! One evening I noticed that Julia was blowing with her cheeks, which meant that she wasn't using her tongue to stop the notes, but her breath. I gently corrected her and we moved on. She is really good at recognizing the notes and playing them properly. She sits up straight, left hand on top...she's good.

A few days later at practice I looked up at her and got a sneaking suspicion that she wasn't playing. I crawled over to her chair to listen and guess what, "I was right!" She wasn't blowing. She was sitting straight up, hands properly positioned on the recorder, looking straight at her Coach, and...nothing. I leaned in and said, "Play, Jules. Play." She shook her head and began to blow.

Hmmmm. There are many places I could go with this. First I am thinking I want to be sure that I don't freak my kids out to the point of not playing. Julia is a perfectionist and I can imagine that she didn't want to make a mistake and be "found out." I need to be sure that she knows screwing up is part of the rules! That's why there is Jesus. So, there's the mental note of parenting, then there is this...

I know the right things to do. I know the right things to say. However, sometimes my heart isn't fully engaged. I'm just not playing. Sometimes when people make comments about me that are very kind, I just think, "You have no idea. That I wasn't even playing that day you saw me." I don't want to be like that. You know what folks like that are called? Jesus called them Pharisees. We call them hypocrites. Our minds are engaged but our hearts are out to lunch, maybe even reviewing our scripture memory for all the world to see.

So, here's the thing. It happens. We just flip into auto pilot and we stay there. We look the part. We show up, we sing, we know the verbage, but our hearts are far. So, do we quit? Do we stop taking recorder? You may have a different answer, but I simply repented. I asked the Lord to change my heart and help me to be engaged. Help me to play. Help me to play even if I am holding a whole note while everyone else is playing a quarter note. Help me play even if I'm playing G when everyone else is playing B. God, just let me play.

It's an absolute privilege to be used by God in any capacity. I don't want to fake it. I want to play. I don't have to be first chair. I just want to make some noise for His glory and in His name. I think He's OK with that. I'm thankful, because nothing brings me more joy than playing for Him.

How about you? Is your head in the game? Or your heart?


Linda said...

good for you for giving your kids an opportunity to learn music, in whatever form is acceptable to them. Music combines a lot of other educational skills. It's math (quarter notes, half notes, counting, etc). It's reading (following notes in a pattern, learning terminology, etc), and of course, it's beautiful. No matter if it doesn't right to human ears. If it is done for the glory of God, it is perfect to Him.

Ali - I've been a musician for the better part of my life. As a kid, I was told I couldn't sing, so please stop. I took up the trumpet at 9...and never looked back. Music came naturally to me. I could learn most instruments, and I was good...and I knew it. But that pompous attitude never got me anywhere.

Only after having my heart broken a few times (regarding music, that is), and putting my horn away (for all the wrong reasons) did I realize that it wasn't ME. It was God. HE gave me the ability, and I wasn't using it for Him.'s not about making money or being the best and first chair. It's about bringing my gifts for the glory of God. I am not faking it. I don't think I'm great or the best. I have a talent, one that GOD Himself bestowed upon me. He gives me what I need to make it through a hard rehearsal, a long performance. But all those rehearsals and performances are for Him. And when I get ready to perform, I aways thank Him, ask Him for strength to make it through and play right. And I say this: to His glory, for His glory, WITH His glory.

(by the way, I am starting piano lessons along with my daughter!)

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