I originally recorded this experience as a guest post on Notes About Music Notes last Fall. I am currently practicing for another musical number with my daughter and each time I sit at the keyboard I relive this memory. I thought it was time to post it on my own blog.
I was nervous. I’m always nervous when I play the piano in public despite numerous occasions to do so. This musical number needed to be perfect. My daughter (a flute performance major and talented musician) was playing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” during a Sacrament Meeting and I was her accompanist. It is my mother’s favorite hymn and we were playing it for HER prior to her leaving on an LDS mission to Germany.
I wanted the piece to be flawless—no jarring moments from my anxious fingers. Just let me be the beautiful background music that no one notices, I prayed. The piece was difficult and I felt fairly confident with it. BUT, I also knew that nerves could wreck havoc.
The pages were photocopied and spread out across the music stand. The flute began. The piano followed. “I can do this,” I thought as the music flowed through several stanzas. Gorgeous.
Enter The Nightmare: without warning my last two pages flew off the piano and onto the floor!
“Stay focused,” I told myself as I pleaded internally for assistance. The bishopric and flutist, whose backs were towards me, were oblivious to my plight.
I turned my head briefly towards the congregation with a look of quiet desperation—begging for someone to read my mind.
What was I going to do? I did NOT have the piece memorized. Would I just have to stop and pick the music up then join in again? Could we start over? But then, the spirit of the piece would be lost forever.
Focus. Stay focused. Keep playing. Closer and closer we edged towards the notes on the missing pages.
Nightmare Diverted: An attentive gentleman stood up and swiftly made his way to the front.
I was saved!
He picked up my pages, placed them carefully back on the piano and sat close until the piece was finished.
“Thank you,” I breathed quietly with utter relief.
- Don’t be afraid to be THE ONE who takes action. Don’t think someone else will do it. Just do it!
- Always back pages on cardstock to waylay errant breezes.
- Be grateful for tender mercies and kind souls.