Monday, August 2, 2010
That's what I call little Daniel, a nine year old piano pupil of Barbara's who plays with feeling. He comes to lessons with wild enthusiasm. When she told Daniel that next week she would begin to show him how to read music from the Trinity Hymnal, and she would give him an assignment, he showed up at the next lesson with the announcement, "I have learned 'Jesus Loves Me'." Then he proceeds to play it through with all four moving parts! She can't give him too much. After his 30 minute lesson has expanded to 55 minutes, she tries to dismiss him, but he objects, "But I haven't played another new piece I've learned." "No, Daniel, that will have to wait til next time. I have more students who are coming."
He is such a likable little kid that I knew I had to make up a nickname for him. I frequently label little friends of mine with a special nickname. For Daniel, the first thing that came to my mind (for some reason) was Elton John's old number about Daniel. The line I sing when I greet Daniel is: "Daniel you're a star..." He seems to get a kick out of that, and even reminds me if I don't sing it right away when he comes. "Here's your star."
Barbara says he is ready for Bach, and he is beginning to play Bach (not simplified versions). He seems to have what it takes to be a concert performer some day. Barbara does not wish that for Daniel. Too many very good musicians just don't make it. But she does have the hope of contributing to the musician pool for church music. She takes special delight in helping young people to play for worship services. Yesterday was special for Barbara because we were able to worship with the folks at Branch of Hope OPC during their 8:30 a.m. service in which another of her pupils is the pianist.
Last night at the evening worship hour, the pastor had scheduled Daniel to play the prelude and the first hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness". This little kid plays with feeling and good timing. Few people seem to appreciate just how difficult it is to play for congregational singing. If you make a mistake you can't afford to try to go back and correct it because the congregation sings on. And the parts all must be played correctly or else it confuses anyone who is trying to sing parts. And the timing must be a natural flow for singing. Besides all that stuff, it has to be a bit nerve wracking to accompany 30 or 40 people who are actually following you. Daniel is up to it. My little star impressed me again. I had to hug him and tell him he was great. He brushed me off, but I know he was glad to please me.
Daniel is half Korean, and he looks it. When you get to know him, he is an all American and a dynamo of energy--a very real boy. I love this kid, and still consider him my star.