Happy First Day of Fall! And to all my New Age brothers and sisters, happy Autumn Equinox!
I <3 Fall! It's the best season of the year! It has all of my favorite colors, temperatures and types of clothing! It's pretty exciting! I am especially excited about APPLE CIDER! (Hello Moca Moment)
However, the MOST exciting part of the season---the beginning of Fall officially marks another year involved in church music ministry!
I started in 2001 playing here and there and then in 2002, I started playing with the big leagues! September 2002--that's when my entire life changed. Life began to revolve around organ lessons, YMT practices, Breaking Bread Hymnals, conventions, seminars, 8AM masses and so much more. Pretty much what started as a way to "avoid political annoyances" turned into something much greater.
So, in honor of all of that--I came up with a list of things that I have learned from working as an organist over the past 11 years.
Eleven Lessons I Have Learned From Church Music Ministry
11. Don't Take No for an Answer
Somebody tells you, laugh and then rise to the occasion. I'm not talking about things you aren't supposed to do, but things that people think you cannot do (but you know you CAN do at work.) For example, people used to tell me to NOT play organ on certain hymns. Then I would go play them on organ. I would then go HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Usually because it turns out to be...um...awesome! (Hello Marnartha!!!!) To this day, I chuckle every time I sing in the mic for "This is Jesus," because I remember being in the Children's Choir and hearing the voice saying "no microphone for you..." Hey it may have taken me like 15 years to do, but I stole that mic (okay Carrie told me I had to sing in it one day) and people didn't know what to think...it was that good! (Or they were in church and were just being nice.)
Regardless...this lesson was BIG. It taught me to do whatever it takes to make your visions come true! I mean I got kicked out of a college man and I STILL became a teacher! It may have taken longer and more money, but I did it! And look what happened to me! I got a job right out of college and I <3 IT! I moved far away, met the love of my life and became this wonderful thing called happy. So yes, please, deny me that microphone again! What doesn't kill you make you stronger!
10. Learn From Your Mistakes
Listen to your mentors. They know what they are talking about. If they are good mentors, they will start to trust you and leave you to have room for floating and growing. If they are not good mentors, either tell them or move on. Sometimes people just don't know how they are hindering you.
9. Work Hard=Discipline
My father always had a saying; hard work makes good discipline. He's right. Work hard and results show. Trust is built. Success continues.
8. Be Responsible!
When you are working at a job that requires you to be on time, dress professionally, act your best, etc, you learn how to do that outside of the job. I remember when I was at a Sophomore Block and the professors were talking about "dressing professionally." That mean kaki pants, nice sweaters and OMG NO JEANS! While all the kids were freaking out, I was smiling because it was old news to me. I also am proud to say other than ONE mishap, I have never missed a day of work because "I forgot to show up." (I have missed because I was sick, but that's a different story!)
7. Professional Life Does NOT Equal Personal Life
Imagine having your dream job at 15...well that was ME! Working with a bunch of older people taught me how to interact with the professional world. There are people who I've worked with that are great...and people who I have worked with that personality-wise I don't get along with. Over the past years, I have learned how to work with those people better and better. It was a long learning curve for a while, but after a few years, it's gotten easier!
6. It's Who You Know!
Let's face it. It's true. I probably wouldn't have gotten some of the opportunities I have gotten if it wasn't for a name. It is what it is. Point being--network and get to know people. You sometimes need their help.
5. Your Reputation is Who You Are
My reputation proceeds me.
4. Defuse Things Through Humor
People are going to say things to your face--at the mall, at the library, at the bar, at church--good or bad. When it's good thank people for their kind words. When people say bad things, like calling you a funeral dirge, or outs the fact you didn't have time for preludes on Facebook--laugh it off! Some of those people mean well, but don't know how to be graceful.
3. People Stare
It's true...when you play at a church where the instruments are in the front. People stare. They notice when you don't wear Packer Colors the weekend of a home game and they notice when you look tired. People are always watching, even when they shouldn't be! So look excited and you'll convince yourself you are excited!
2. It's Not All About You
Your job is important, but it isn't all about you! The point of music ministry is to take the song that has scriptural words and convey it to the congregation in a meaningful way. That's bigger than you. Sometimes you have to step aside and let others do the task because they are more equipped to do the job. It is what it is. If you want that task, then make strides to earn the trust of the higher ups so you have that opportunity as well! As long as the message gets across, that's all that matters!
1. The number 1 lesson I learned: BE YOURSELF! I love playing music, but when I was younger, I didn't really think it was so cool. That was because nobody else seemed to "get it." I felt super depressed in college because nobody got it. It seemed that people actually were making fun of the fact I had this passion and excitement. It really got me down and got me into stuff that I regret doing to this day. However, after some road turns and interventions with God, those circumstances changed. In result, I changed as a person. I became more comfortable being myself. There are still people that don't "get" what I do or appreciate my passion for it, but I don't care!:) I <3 being myself!
So that's it! Thanks Res for 11 great years! Here's to more!