Junior Emma Beachy, piano student of Susan See, recently reached her goal of playing every hymn (multiple times) in the Hymnal Worship Book. The hymnal contains 658 hymns. Susan asked her to play each hymn at least three or four times or until she could play it fairly easily before moving on to the next one. Hymn playing has multiple rewards. Discovering hymns that are not sung in your church but are worthy of notice is one benefit. New favorites are like hidden jewels that have risen to the surface. Sight-reading skills skyrocket after playing hymns on a daily basis for several months. Reaching a goal such as this is also a musical discipline which can lead to more goal setting and more progress as well as growth in self confidence. For her efforts, Emma not only became a more proficient pianist, but she earned the Mennonite accompaniment book. Congratulations, Emma on your determination and perseverance! Well done! Some of Emma’s thoughts are listed below:
Playing through the hymnal was definitely a difficult task. There were times when I was unsure I would ever complete the journey, especially at the beginning. However, as I progressed, the sight reading became easier and I saw the results in my regular repertoire. Along the way, I discovered new hymns that resonate with me and my own spiritual life. Without undertaking this challenge I wouldn’t know some of my favorite hymns today. Even though it was hard work and tiresome at times, I do not regret one piece of it. Playing through the hymnal was a great piano experience that I’m never going to forget, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become a better musician and learn more about Mennonite music and traditions.