Why it’s important to memorize all your music

It figures that during a Mass in which it’s more than the usual honor to play, I would make a rookie error and have to cover for it. But cover I did.

I had been requested for the funeral of a nice old lady who often sat in the front row at my main parish. She had asked me to play and sing alone, which I was. Things were going smoothly, save a bit of coughing, until Communion, for which the hymn was “I Am the Bread of Life.”

I played the introduction and started in. Was halfway through the first verse when I realized I had the music for the refrain, and half the verse, but, um, not the last half of the verse. Oops. This was my fault, as I had pulled the music from the big three-ring binder and put it into a little three-ring binder.

This is potential, of course, for disaster. But fortunately, “I Am the Bread of Life” has reached standard status at many Catholic churches, so I’ve done it so many times that I had actually memorized the whole thing without fully realizing it. So I was able to keep going until Communion had ended.

So there you have it, kids. It’s important to memorize everything you play. Because you may never know when you have to inadvertently play it from memory, and that way you will be prepared.


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