Sunday, April 10, 2011

Glory to Your Name: Another Personal ESOL Moment

I am a part of the Praise Team at my church, the West Cocoa Mission Church, in Cocoa, Florida. Well, our Minister of Music asked us to be a little more participatory in choosing songs for the praise team. She asked us to at least choose some and giver the lyrics to it. That was like a year ago. So far, only one praise team member has done this, and it only happened about a month ago.

Today, I was listening to JangoRadio, the Internet radio portal where users get to develop their own stations. I was listening to one of my Sunday Morning stations, when Byron Cage's "Glory to Your Name" began to play. Being at a computer, I remembered my previously failed task of gathering new songs for the praise team, and quickly found the lyrics to the song.

Rather than stopping here, I also began to look up chords for the song to aid our musicians. During my search, I found this phenomenal tutorial on YouTube that breaks down the entire song for the piano.

Dahv is AWESOME!!!!! There are lots of online musical tutorials, but many of these are only previews and segmented versions of an actual tutorial that the user has to pay for in order to get. Dahv's tutorials are TOTALLY FREE!

Our Minister of Music is pressed for time. So, I thought I'd help out by trying to learn this song on the piano.

There was a time when this would not have been very difficult for me, even following the tutorial at the speed presented. But that time has long since passed.

What was once familiar territory for me has slowly transformed into a foreign landscape. As soon as I played a chord, the keys were instantly foreign again, even with Dahv practically spoon-feeding me the correct notes. Needless to say, I was not happy with myself. I literally screamed and pounded, having my first grown-up tantrum of the year.

The thought occurred to me that the frustration, the emotional and physical exertion, the inadequacy I felt must be common to students dropped into a world where the culture and words are all foreign. I can't imagine what this must be like for them.

As an adult, I was able to utilize the tools at my disposal to assist me in learning the chords. I found a visual of all the chords for piano, even those real funny-looking ones with all the weird numbers. I had already located a copy of the lyrics that included the correct chords for the song. I was able to use the combination of these tools to figure out how to play the song on my own as opposed to simply following along with Dahv, no reflection on his superness. Dahv's tutorial is practically perfect for those learners who work well with visuals and explanations. But I am more of an auditory learner in a way that I am able to learn piano songs best by figuring out the correct notes on my own. While I have yet to learn the entire song, I'm sure that using the same kinds of adaptations used for students of limited English proficiency will help me to re-acquire the familiarity I need for my fingers to again prance knowingly across the keys.

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