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Kiz_Paws Bag Of Trix

A Week In The Life Of A Musician

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I got a call on Monday, April 30th around noon. Would I be available on Saturday, May 5th at 3:00 p.m. to play at a funeral. Yes, I was available. No music selections had been decided upon at that time, however the musician must play music prior to the Service, as well as after the Service, when people are filing out. So I gathered my music and headed to the church where the funeral would be held and commenced working. It was a grand piano, so no problem there! Worked for three hours and headed home.

Tuesday May 01, again headed to the church and worked another three hours on Bach, Schumann, etc., as well as some hymns that I have played before at funerals. Still no word on hymn list, etc. However, I did receive an email after dinner, giving me a list of four hymns. Two were familiar, two needed work, I will get on it tomorrow..... But then, a phone call. I was told that the family has hired a soloist to perform at the funeral, and she was going to be singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. And as well, the family had decided to move the funeral up by a day, it would now be on Friday, May 4th at 11:00 a.m.

YIKES!! It was set up that I meet with the soloist tomorrow morning (Wednesday), and that she would bring me a copy of the music to the Cohen piece... (what is going through my mind is that I have to learn a whole new piece with 48 hours to go....)

Wednesday May 02, I met with the soloist at 10:00 a.m. and saw the SEVEN SHEETS OF MUSIC there before me, to be performed Friday morning.... As I sifted through the pages, I realized that there was a lot of repetition, so if I can conquer at least two pages, then I have conquered the whole seven. OK, this is do-able. Scary, but not impossible. The soloist left and we arranged to get together tomorrow (Thursday) around noon, to run through the piece. I remained at that piano bench for four hours, fervently trying to get the piece at a place where I was comfortable. As well, I worked on the four hymns selected by the family.

Thursday May 03, I was at that church early in the morning, to continue my work. Yes, the Cohen piece was actually coming together... now to work with the singer (which is not always easy, nor not always pleasant) .... However, the singer was awesome!! Very kind and much more relaxed that me (I am a bit of a nervous type), and we had that piece just sailing wonderfully!! Almost like a miracle, because in 24 hours, we'd be performing it!! PHEW!!! After she left, when we knew all was well, I remained and worked more on the hymn list and the pre and post Service music.

THEN: After four hours of practicing (no, I am not joking), the presiding minister called me into his office... "the family has decided to change the hymn list"......

What is running through my mind now is 'this is the proverbial 11th hour!!!'

However, the change was simply the addition of a fifth hymn.... one that is five pages long and quite complex. *pause here where I pick myself up off the ground*

The minister, noticing that I had gone white in the face, asked if this was do-able? "If you like, I can tell the family that that is not possible..."

OF COURSE you cannot tell a grieving family that something is impossible... Heck I am a musician and I better get my midnight oil burning.....!

I told him I would work on the piece and do my best. So for a solid hour, I played that hymn over and over and over. My hands were getting pretty sore (yeah, five hours of piano playing will do that to ya) and I decided that this was where I would have to call it a day.

Friday May 04, after tossing and turning the whole night long, I am up at 5:30 a.m., getting ready and heading to the church. I worked more on the whole set of music assigned, then the funeral commenced.

It went very well ... I had never experienced such an upside down ride of a week when asked to play ... but the bottom line is that you can do anything you set your mind to, provided you aren't afraid of a little work.

I am seriously glad that the week is behind me..... and also glad that I now know how to play Cohen's Hallelujah! *smiles*

I have to say, though I never like to discuss payment, that the family were very very generous.

Over and Out

Updated 05-05-2018 at 09:31 AM by kiz_paws



  1. tailor STATELY's Avatar
    Busy week... Kudos !!!

    Ta ! (short for tarradiddle),
    tailor STATELY
  2. desiresjab's Avatar
    They really worked you out. I am always amazed at the amount of good music I am not familiar with.
  3. kiz_paws's Avatar
    Thank-you, tailor and desiresjab, for your feedback.