Attention All Organists: a way to improve your playing… Guaranteed!

Would you like a surefire way to improve your organ playing? Check out this repost from The Organ Is Praise. I wholeheartedly endorse what the author has to say. This is good stuff! I will even go so far as to offer a 100% money back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you!!!

I have a suggestion that will greatly help your playing: Forgive someone!

Yes, forgive someone. In fact, forgive everyone! Forgive the ward members who talk over your preludes, the church leaders that have openly censured you from the pulpit, the people who have sent you hate mail, the people who can barely play who were chosen for special meetings over you and the people who chose them, the visiting authority who walked into your practice time and spent the next 15 minutes yelling at you, the student who didn’t practice and everyone else who has ever trespassed against you. Forgive them all, no matter how great or small or silly the insult, and do it now.

All of the things in the previous paragraph have happened to me and, quite frankly, they hurt at time they occurred. Some of them hurt for years afterwards.  One day, however, I woke up and realized that I was carrying too much baggage around. I went to the Lord and told him that this was over. It didn’t matter how much I hurt or how justified I thought I was in how I felt. It was time to end the hurt and move on.

Why do I say that this will help your playing? It is because, as church musicians, we must have the Spirit of the Lord with us as we serve others. Bitterness is spiritual poison. It keeps the Spirit away and finally destroys the soul.

Why am I talking about this? It’s because, in my many years of church service, I’ve met too many great organists who, due to pride or offense taken, have hung an “out of order” sign around their necks and stopped serving. The number of people I have met who have made that choice is, unfortunately, way more than one or two. Service to the Lord and his church are the hallmarks of a great LDS organist. Without it, we are no longer great.

Just before I met my dear wife another young man was actively courting her. She wanted nothing more to do with him after he told her that he had deliberately flunked a class because the professor had offended him. She realized that he did not understand that by this behavior he was only hurting himself.

So, please – forgive someone today! You’ll be glad you did. Also, please forgive yourself.

Thanks, Harold!

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A Moment of Awesome

I talk to myself. A lot. Especially after playing at a Sunday Service or recital. I try to be kind. But, uh…well…yeah. I try. For some reason it’s often more difficult for me to be kind to myself when I do something well as it is when I do something poorly.

A recent post by DaringYoungMom entitled Drops of Awesome offered a new way for me to talk to myself, which I think is really quite wonderful because with all the years of hearing negative self-talk, I am ready for a change!

“Drops of Awesome!” I thought. Every time you do something good, something kind, something productive, it’s a drop in your Bucket of Awesome. You don’t lose drops for every misstep. You can only build. You can only fill.

All day long I chanted these words in my head…By the end of the day, I had realized something important. If I was spending time with my kids, really listening to them with attention in the moment, then I was a good listener, regardless of the 50 other times I’d brushed them off or multi-tasked while they were talking over the past week.

As I added up these Drops of Awesome, I found that in those moments I actually became the person I had always wanted to be.

You do not need to wait three months to be who you want to be. Pick up ten things right now and say, “Drops of Awesome! I am someone who takes care of my house. That is who I am. I have proof.”

In the end, it’s really about allowing yourself to feel joy and allowing yourself to be proud of the small victories of life.

This idea of allowing myself to celebrate the small victories of life led me to produce a short video of my recent experience with the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ. I think I’m as excited about the creation of my little video as I am about my brief encounter with the 5 manual, 206-rank, Æolian-Skinner organ.

A Moment of Awesome may also be viewed at Animoto.