In July our Ward split. I had been serving as the primary president. This was a very time consuming and busy calling so I was happy to be released and then not immediately called right back into that calling in the new ward. However, I now have three callings. I have almost always served in Primary. I have been Nursery leader, Sunbeam Teacher and in the presidency for years and years. Almost my entire married life that is where I served. I was asked to lead the music in Sacrament Meeting and also to play the piano for Relief Society. I have never been given musical callings. I am really not all that musical so these were somewhat of a surprise to me. But with the split of the ward almost all the piano players were seemed to stay in the old ward. I had played piano at a Baptism a few months before the split because they were desperate for someone in a pinch and I was there as the representative of the primary. I had never played for anything before and certainly not to accompany anyone and here I was suddenly forced to play on someone's special day. It wasn't a stellar performance and I had to fudge my way through a bit because my nerves got the better of me.
My music training is a bit limited! I have been teaching myself to play the piano the last few years. I took piano lessons lessons for about a year or so when I was about 8 or 9 but never really got very good at it. I played flute in band starting in 4th grade and switched to Euphonium in High School. I credit 4 years of high school band to helping me get into BYU. I remember writing my application essay about band. I didn't play in college. I started to play flute in the community band a few years ago and enjoyed that but really felt like I needed to learn to play piano. So I pulled out my piano lesson books and the Primary songbook and started there. I could read music so that wasn't the hard part. I just had to train my brain to read both the bass and treble clefs at the same time and get my hands to respond. It was slow progress! I started my kids in piano lessons and it certainly helped that I could play at least a little bit better than they could, that way I could help them. Still playing primary songs was really difficult for me. I picked one and worked on that one. Slowly getting more accurate. I tried to play for my kids to sing along and it would all fall apart. Having people sing along really threw me off. But over the years I had taught myself to play a few of the Primary songs. I usually tried to learn the ones that were being sung for the primary program that year. That is about where I was when I was suddenly faced with playing piano at that Baptism. I could play I am a Child of God, If the Savior Stood beside me, and a few others. So I did alright with prelude music and fumbled through the opening song. Thank goodness there wasn't any musical number planned!
When faced with a calling to play piano, even if it is only for Relief Society, it was a bit daunting to me. I could only play a handful of primary songs. The Hymn book scared me! But I have always been taught to say yes to a calling so I tentatively said yes. I knew playing for RS would be a great training ground and that I could stumble my way through and the ladies wouldn't be too particular. So for the past few months I have been learning Hymns. Every week I prepare two songs to play. Sometimes I throw in a primary song but I have tried really hard to practice Hymns. I am amazed at my progress. I can actually play Hymns that only a few months before would have been scary to me. My kids get tired of me playing the same Hymns over and over again for a week but I do enjoy practicing.
My calling to lead music in Sacrament Meeting isn't too strenuous. I arrive to church a little early, grab a program and change the Hymn numbers posted on the board at the front of the chapel and then quickly look at the Hymns that were chosen for the day. In our ward the Hymns for Sacrament meeting are chosen by a Music chair person. Even the organist doesn't get a whole lot of notice. This usually isn't a big deal. I only have to wave my arm but there have been a few times I was bemused by the time signature. Who really knows how to lead a song in 9/8 especially when the rest of the song was in 3/4 and it switched in the middle. I have been told my facial expressions are fun to watch as I lead because they can always tell what I am thinking. I guess I am not to good at faking it. Thank goodness most people don't even watch the conductor and the organist is nice enough to just ignore me when I don't have a clue. How does one conduct when the song starts with a fanfare? I should know such things but I don't. It is all a learning experience for me.
My third calling isn't music, I am a Cub Scout Bear leader. I get to have 9 year old boys over to my house once a week. Ian and Henry have already moved on from Bears. Ian is already an official Boy Scout and Henry is a Webelos scout. However, having had two boys go through cub scouts and having already seen scouts from the Primary President's perspective, it really isn't too difficult. The new Cub Scout program is a bit different but still fun.
So I am kept busy learning Hymns and planning scout meetings. Even with these three callings I still feel like I am getting a break after being Primary President for over a year. Far less meetings and way less daily headache. Besides I get to attend Sunday School and Relief Society every Sunday.