So I played the piano in public for the first time today. That is, in front of more than a few people. I’m not much of a pianist — invariably, I stumble; chalk it up to a lack of perseverance and stubby fingers, as well as a lifelong habit of stumbling. The only reason why I thought I’d be able to do it ‘properly’ this time was because it was in the context of the worship team at the Chinese church I’m attending in HK — for the smaller youth service, at that.
I was frantically, and then not so frantically, practising away the past few days. Through having to make up the accompaniment for the melodies, I realised that I am a cheesy music-maker. That is, my playing betrays a lack of skill and imagination. (Actually, I first realised this years back, when I thought up a half-baked arrangement for JQ, and of course through the years and years of ABRSM-isery.)
Then Sunday morning came, and I scraped through by the grace of God and His provision of a last-minute guitarist and an experienced, patient and polite worship leader. Thank God!!! (Also for there being fewer kids cos of the mid-autumn festivities, and that the resident super-pianist wasn’t there to overawe me.) So many mistakes and fumbles, covered over by solid guitar-ing that buoyed me through. And I also thank God I didn’t run away screaming. And that no one groaned out loud in disgust. (Except me, inwardly.) I’m mostly frustrated at myself, as I should have done better — is this all I can offer as a sacrifice of praise? Must. Try. Harder.
After being warned against the terrible danger of reaching for a position that I’m not naturally equipped for, e.g., wanting to be a teacher without having any talent for it, I’ve been viewing all and any opportunities coming my way with a critical eye. I’m no stranger to embarrassing myself, really, so it’s not about the shame of failure, initial or extended. It’s about the fear of failing to see my limitations clearly.
Apart from this worship team thing, which isn’t even monthly, thank God again, I’m trying out teaching English to some youths at the church — may God be with them in these dark times. Now that I’ve sort of confirmed that I’m not naturally made for playing piano for worship, I’m quite worried for those kids, that they’re going to be the ‘way’ by which I find out I’m not naturally made for teaching, either. (Actually, I might have discovered that with the first and last tuition lesson I ever gave, years back …)
Anyone with tips for leading worship and/or teaching youths English as a second/third language, let me know!!! Already had the first lesson, in which (thanks to good advice from a colleague) I got them to introduce themselves and each other. Then found out that a concurrent class did way more with their time, oo-er. Set homework was a one-minute presentation on an English movie or book (um). Good grief, what am I doing?