Monday, May 9, 2011

If. Or a short essay on playing handbells

If. I read one Hotmail email and one Yahoo email everyday and didn't receive any more, it would take me more than a year to catch up.

If. ?

Anyway, I got through Sunday, always a good start. I have a job interview tomorrow. I'm trying to remind myself, this is the closest I've gotten to this kind of job, so even if it doesn't work out, it is still a success. It won't overlap with my other job, just in case anyone from my child care center reads this.

Now I think I want to sleep. Maybe it's a good thing after all that I agreed to play handbells for the next few Monday evenings. They are, um, not my favorite instrument. They sound really neat if an advanced bell choir plays, but earlier level players, well, it's not unlike early level piano. So it is a test of my patience. The highest bells hurt my ears. The lowest bells hurt my wrists (heavy to play). The middle bells? They are probably my favorite. And they tend to play more often. Nothing like those songs where you play three times, half way through the music, and hold the bells still for the other ninety-five hundredths of the song. Now maybe I should make some nice comment in case a bell player from our choir reads this. But I'm pretty sure they won't. And loosing my bell playing job (that pays no money at all) wouldn't crush me. Offending people might, though.

And better yet, being a behind the scenes bell player. You position yourself behind the child learning to play handbells but not reading music well at all. Then you touch which ever shoulder is attached to the arm which is attached to the hand which holds the correct bell. That's pretty simple, except for the delayed reaction. So then you get the extra fun of trying to tap their shoulder the correct number of milliseconds before they are to play, so that their bell plays on time instead of late or early. Yes, there is bell playing challenge. That's, well, fun, for a time. Oh, and if playing bells gets you a break at the end of the semester from working with little children who have worn your patience thin, that does make bell playing more attractive. I liked being a substitute, sight-reading music in front of an audience. Now there's an interesting challenge. Watching pages blow to the wrong page is interesting, too. If I've heard the song often enough, I might do okay from memory until I got too nervous or too confident.

And this is how, at least in my own mind, I develope a picture of myself as a naturally talented, but a careless, selfish, and stuck-up music player. The simple solution? Don't play music when people can hear you. Okay, so that's avoiding, which might not take care of the problem. Now I'm the naturally talented, selfish, stuck-up, and secret musician who only makes snide comments in my head or on my blog (or occasionally, I actually speak them). I've been doing this for the most part for a number of years now, which means that a decent number of people don't even know how much of a musician I am or could be. Well, I did achieve being known for something besides my musical skill. That's nice. But I do miss playing. With people. And I do like it when people compliment my playing, especially my compositions (because, yes, I'm a secret, selfish, sarcastic, stuck-up, and composing -though not for about a year - musician). Well, I have entertained myself at least.


  1. I just love the style of your writing. Such a dry wit. Fun to read, so thanks!

    I played handbells at church for a while in my teens. I agree, the middle bells are the best.

  2. You should read Donald Miller. His style and yours are somewhat similar. And I laughed about your snide comments about your snide comments. And about cueing the correct number of milliseconds before the event. I relate. But not with handbells!!