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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Letter to an Organ

Letter to an Organ
In your next key I wish you’d sing
Silent Night and Joy to the World;
how you play, and the chords you ring,
not only X-mas, but Man In the Box twirled:

making the room come alive again
as students in the hall stop and listen,
to my clumsy playing, but you help it win;
tears in their eyes and mine in the lights glisten.

I learned how to play the organ in 2011. West Chester University is known for their music program and when I learned they offered lessons (not graded or accredited... lessons like what are given to grammar school kids) on how to play the organ, I signed up immediately. Sadly, I could only afford three lessons since it was $65/lesson, but I had unlimited access to the organ room and I would practice daily - between breaks from class and breaks from my university job. It was a good form of therapy for me. I knew how to read guitar tabulature, but I didn't know how to read music. Dr. Greenlee, my instructor, had to teach me how to read music and then she taught me how to play the chords on the organ. I started playing the organ in September and she had me learn Christmas music. I suppose Christmas music is easy for a beginner. I learned how to play Silent Night first, which is one of my favorites. I was playing Silent Night everyday and I kept thinking, "It's September! I'm getting into the Christmas spirit early!" She then taught me Joy to the World, but I didn't play that as much as Silent Night.

When lessons ended, I taught myself how to play O Holy Night and Amazing GraceAmazing Grace is another favorite song of mine. In October, I thought as I was pounding away at the keys: "I should make a Christmas album to give to people! I'm not the best, but I think they'd enjoy it!" I recorded the following songs (these are the YouTube videos, but I actually recorded these songs and burnt them onto a CD for family members, the few friends at school and then I shipped them to my Midwestern and European friends):

Merry Christmas 2011

Silent Night  
Silent Night (Vocal)  
Silent Night (chords)
O Holy Night  
O Holy Night (Vocals)  
Joy to the World  
Silent Night (Acoustic)  
Silent Night (Electric Guitar)

People seemed the enjoy the CDs. I was actually proud of myself, minus the singing (I can't sing to save my life), because I actually produced a CD. I was proud of myself for learning the organ, for learning how to read music and I was happy with my effort. It made me feel good about myself and it made me feel good because I love playing music. I think I might have made my own track for an Arabic project.

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