Saturday, January 12, 2008

Re: One Of The Greatest?

Wilson Liew a.k.a Mole wrote on his blog, a post titled "One Of The Greatest".

He was mentioning that I'm one of the greatest pianists he has ever seen. Now, despite the sudden glow of bliss that swirled around my head when I read his flattering (but not entirely true) praises, I would very much like to disagree with him.

It is true (I'm just stating the facts, ok?) that whenever I come in contact with a piano, there is a sense of closeness with the song and the Person I'm playing it to/for that flows out of my fingers. I don't really know how to describe it accurately - It's like as if all my feelings start to unwind as I touch the delicate keys of the piano. This is one of the reasons why I despise don't really like electronic keyboards, aside from synthesizers that produce very beautiful sounds, but the original, the authentic piano is the BEST.

Anyway, as I ramble on and on about the wonders of the piano, I stress that I don't think I am the greatest. There have been plenty of pianists before me and plenty more that will rise up after me. Everyone has potential to excel in whatever they do, only if they work hard AND submit everything they do to God. Sometimes when I play, I fail miserably - that is, in my own standards. There are times when I just feel like I'm not doing justice to the piano. The chords I play may be correct, the solos may be pin-point perfect (usually they aren't), but sometimes I just can't express anything the way I want to. In these tough situations, it might be because 1) Holy Spirit is not moving. 2) Something in my heart is hindering the Holy Spirit to flow, eg. pride, sin, wrong motives, etc. or 3) People are not responsive. When this happens, I would pray, even as I play, for God to play through me so that I can worship Him through my playing. Another key point: the same way you sing a new song to God, very often I "play a new song" to God - both somehow lifts the atmosphere from just a song to a time of passionate worship to our Maker. It doesn't cease to amaze me every time!!

I am not perfect, duh. Many at times my mind wanders off when I play. When this happens, I often forget what key I am in and then play another chord. For example, (for the musical people to know) if I am in E, and I'm supposed to play C#m which is the chord 6, sometimes I forget and play in key of A, so I hit the chord F#m. Usually I instantly realize and play the right chord before it makes any difference, but it's still awkward. Also, very often I hurry a lot in my playing. Wilson would constantly say I play like I'm being chased by a dog.

So what makes me stand out and cause Wilson to say that I'm one of the greatest? (a gross exaggeration, without a shadow of doubt) Most people who play contemporary piano is in one way or another able to play freestyle. But one of my important assets is the ability to play by ear. This does not mean I have perfect pitch, but I understand chords and how they move about, so I know a minor 6th chord when I hear one. Another important thing is to remember the chords of a song. I mean, you don't have to memorize every single song but you must get the basic chords of all the normal songs you play. This is not difficult to do - once you've played a song a few times, you shold be able to remember it for some time. These two things are so important for a smooth flow of songs, especially when the worship leader wants to use an impromptu song.

Other than that, useful skills will be like learning the intros of all the songs, as I have posted in the list of intros and solos. Other than that... I would say I'm just a normal kid who loves to play the piano, loves God and loves to play the piano for God. I think that's all that matters, no?

I think I'm a very blessed person. Or cursed. One can see this in all kinds of different ways. You see, I came to Banting thinking that I can escape from serving God "full-time" like I did in EBC, playing just about every week, every Saturday and every Sunday. I was hoping to come here to just learn more about God and to enjoy His presence - but God had different ideas. Just a week upon my arrival here, Pastor Chris Long got me to play keyboard for a prayer service on Thursday (in conjunction with the Awal Muharram's public holiday). And to top it off, I had to be on the stage for almost two whole hours, about one hour with the band and another hour alone. So - am I blessed or cursed? Being willing to serve is one thing - being available to serve even when you don't want to is another. But I didn't say I didn't want to, did I? I was so blissfully overjoyed to be able to touch the piano - any piano for that matter - after 9 days of pianolessness!!! XD

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