Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eyes Up!

I've been teaching piano for about 35 years.
One thing that's a constant is:
 beginning students do not want to look up at a musical score for fear that their hands will get lost on the keyboard.
Some kids quickly acquire the skill of  looking up at the musical score, then looking down to check where their hands are, then looking back up.
Others struggle.
I had one student recently (('ll call him Jon, not his real name) who, in spite of my constant reminders, kept his eyes glued to whatever his hands were doing.
Sometimes I'd take a large notebook and place it over the keyboard so he couldn't see what his hands were doing. This helped remind him to keep his eyes up on the score.

Just like the student who's trying to build his speed and accuracy on a computer keyboard:
you don't achieve much speed if you continue to if you use the "hunt and peck" method.

Over a two year period, Jon clung to his old, safe, ineffective method of staring at his hands.
Even when he couldn't remember what notes to play.

Me: "Jon, your fingers don't know what to play."
Jon:  staring at his fingers as if waiting for them to think up the correct notes.
Me: "Your fingers are waiting for your brain to tell them what notes to play."
Jon: still staring desperately at his fingers.
Me: "And how does your brain know what to tell your fingers?"
Jon: "Oh, right, I have to look up at the music."
Me: "Right!"

I find myself behaving a lot like Jon at times.
In my life as a Christian, I know very well where to look when I am perplexed or troubled.
But many times, looking upward is the last thing I'll do.
I'll spend way too much time "staring at my hands," as if somehow these brainless appendages can direct me toward the right way to go.
I'm getting better at consulting the Lord, first thing.
But for me, it's still a daily challenge to break the old fleshly habit of trusting my fingers rather than the score.

The crux of my challenge is this:
The new nature that God has birthed in me knows that God knows best.
But my actions prove that I trust my old self a little bit more than I trust Him.
My "fingers" may let me down, but I've known them all my life.
And I'm still in love with my fingers.
It's a scary thing to rely on the new way of reading and following the "score."
But if I want to make music that God has designed, I'd better get my eyes up, away from the old finger method!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will make your paths straight."
(Prov. 3: 5, 6 NIV Bible)


  1. You mentioned learning the computer keyboard. I learned how to type of old manual typewriters. A huge chart was posted near the ceiling in front of the room. We had to keep our eyes on that chart as we hit the letters our teacher called out. Mighty boring, but effective!

    I love how you tied in our spiritual walk. Maybe if we kept our eyes on His Word, we'd learn our lessons.

  2. Susan, I also learned on the manual typewriter. The lesson is similar to the piano: resist the impulse to stare at your fingers!