Saturday, January 24, 2009

Limitations force creativity

A favorite saying of Jeff McBride, one of my friends and teachers. A truth I'm going to be living tomorrow.

I have my first church organ job in many months, on an organ that has this very bizarrely proportioned console. Everything is in just the wrong position, and most problematically for someone (like me) who has malfunctioning legs, the pedal board is especially oddly proportioned. It took me several days of working with the instrument to convince myself that yes, my legs weren't working so well, but no, a lot of this is the console's fault and this does not augur the end of my organ-playing days.

So tomorrow I need to make everything sound "just right" when I'm not able to play at even close to "just right" levels.

It's going to be interesting. Fortunately, this organ does have an "auto bass" feature that couples the pedals to the lowest note you're playing, so if my legs simply go out, I can just hit "auto bass" and keep the hymns going. But there's going to be a lot of "use the Force, Luke!" moments tomorrow morning.

Which, fortunately, is something I've always been pretty good at... strange, that in some ways I've been preparing for my current limitations all my life.

And if I'm creative enough, my "limitations" won't limit the quality of my performance—just the method.

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