Church Musician Woes

Any other church organists out there? If so, you might understand my quandry: why is it that my post-choir-rehearsal ears are so different from my Sunday morning ears? Usually after choir practice, I run through my Sunday morning prelude and postlude and decide on settings. I mess around with a few things and then settle on what it will be, write it down, and go home.

Then Sunday morning rolls around and when I fire up the organ to run through the music before the first service, my ears are assaulted by sounds I don’t recall ever hearing before! But these are the same settings I decided upon just 3 days prior. How can they sound so completely foreign to me, the same person who chose them days before?

It remains a mystery why I hear things so differently, but it reminds me of a course I took in my doctoral studies wrestling with the question of hearing music—is it possible to hear the same piece the same way? Ever? We go through our days and lives with filters and influences impacting our brains and ears that we will never be aware of, so I suppose it’s possible that by the time Sunday comes around, my perspective is that much more different than it was the Wednesday before.

It’s a reminder to me to stop and consider the perspective of others. Perhaps their viewpoint is worth considering, even if I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Because who knows? I may find myself of the same opinion not much farther down the road.