I've recently been asked to be our ward organist. This means that every Sunday I play prelude before church starts, I accompany the congregation for 3-4 songs, and I play a postlude while everyone is leaving the chapel. I am not really an organist (I don't play pedals) but I have done this job for many years in many other congregations and for the most part felt pretty good about my skills being sufficient.
I have been having a really difficult time doing it here though and I have felt so inadequate. I thought it was because I hadn't played piano in over a year, since I sold our piano before moving to Hawaii and haven't replaced it since. I have been getting so frustrated that I seemingly forgot so much and that my fingers just weren't working properly, especially my left hand. I have been really mad at myself for letting this talent just slide right out from "under my fingertips".
This Sunday morning, after returning from my quick trip to Washington where I didn't practice at all, I sat down for a long practice session before hitting the bench at the chapel. As I practiced, and practiced and practiced I began to notice a pattern. The problem really was my left hand. But not just my left hand. More specifically it was my left pinky . . .
Oh yes! That's right, last year I cut off the tip of my pinky! Though I have most of the sensation back in my digit it is not quite the same. I've gotten used to the feel on the computer keyboard but I don't have to stretch and feel quite as much on the computer as I must on the piano keyboard.
Though I still am frustrated with my shaky skills I do feel a lot better realizing that there is a little more to the problem than just forgetting how to play.