Both sides of my family are loaded with musicians. I missed out on an early duet performed by a cousin. The other pianist dropped his sheet music in front of the surprised crowd but that didn't cause my cousin to miss a beat. He played on despite the mishap and the audience applauded.
My dad loved the piano. I never observed him playing with sheet music. One of his favorite sayings was, "play it by ear." This comes in handy when you can't find your sheet music. It also works well during times in your life when your chords are broken. You are capable of finding harmony during those times if you can hear the composer's notes in your head. Maybe these ideas will strike a chord:
- You don't have to be a soloist. Surround yourself with a chorus to enhance your music.
- Remember the refrain. In life, you often need to repeat your actions until you get the notes right.
- Every note counts. Even the interval of silence known as the rest. Use the pauses in your life to find your rhythm.
- In case you lose your partner in the middle of a duet, play on. Keep the music you made together alive in your heart and ask God to harmonize with your broken chords.
- Avoid harsh tones. Play your life with pianissimo -- very softly. Draw your audience in with your quiet ways.
David Mulligan on tour with Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers