Every summer, my friend Paul comes to Maine to teach violin at a music camp nearby, and I have the amazing opportunity to play duets with him at church (I play the piano, he plays the violin). He's so beyond me in ability that I always feel lucky and overwhelmed at the chance. This last summer he sent me a song called Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring to learn. It didn't seem like a hard song, and as I played it I realized that I recognized the tune. It was a beautiful song, and I was excited to play it with him.
Then we played it together. Or rather, I would play one measure, and then I'd get tripped up, listening to him play and he'd play a few more measures and stop. This happened over, and over, and over. Whenever I heard his part, I thought I'd come in at the wrong time or was playing at the wrong speed, but I was wrong--it's just the way the two parts come together. It is gorgeous when it works, but I couldn't seem to make it work.
So, we moved on to other songs, but I still wanted to play this one with him, so we kept practicing. I finally realized the only way I could do it was if I blocked him out completely, and focused completely on my own part. But listening to him play is one of the joys of my life, so I figured out how to record us so I could listen to it later. Here we are, in all of our kids-whining-and-people-coughing-in-the-background glory playing Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.
And I can't have a post like this without giving a shout out to my own daughter. I love to listen to her play Cristofori's Dream and Dream of the Forgotten Child on the piano. Unfortunately, I don't have the audio of her playing, (when I get one, I'll post it).