Alternate Fingerings

After you’ve played your instrument awhile you one day turn the page in your lesson book and see the words  “Alternate Fingerings”.  Life has “alternate fingerings” as well.

When I taught beginning band and beginning strings in a Christian school, I smiled to myself that some students loved the idea, some didn’t want to hear it – at first.  But after a while nearly everyone warmed up to the idea.  Sometimes it’s easier to use an alternate fingering. Sometimes the alternate fingering is the only way to get there from here and stay in tempo.

Whether it’s your band or orchestra instrument, your piano, guitar or keyboard, you need to know alternate fingerings.  It’s part of mastering your instrument.  After all, that’s what mastery is, isn’t it?  Instruments are inanimate. They have no emotions, no feelings, no temperament.  But in the hands of one who can make it do what he or she wants —one who’s mastered it— the feelings and emotions are unmistakable, even strong!

I was thinking yesterday afternoon, that we used alternate fingerings approach yesterday in the tech booth at church.  We had a series of things that needed to be shown on the large screen during worship.  Though we don’t know why, the computer just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do them all.  Unless we did things differently than usual, that is.  We figured out another way to do things and got the job done.

For most of us, life’s alternate fingerings help bring about desired, lasting results. While usually more important than getting around an obstacle on the way to work, an alternate approach can make a huge difference, especially if you’re working with people and their personalities.

Four things to remember about alternate approaches:

Be willing to use life’s alternate fingerings whenever necessary. Know what they are, Should you need one.

Stay teachable. Always be ready to learn yet another one.

Always ask God before choosing one.  We saw in our Life Group yesterday that David did precisely that in 1 Chronicles 14. “Shall I?  Will You go with me?”  God said yes and the victory was his for the taking.  He’d done similarly in 1 Samuel 30, and I get the impression if God had said “No, don’t” David would have obeyed.

When an alternative approach succeeds, remember to thank God for what He did, and thank the people in your family or on your team for being willing to flex.

Alternate fingerings may not be much fun to learn when they’re new to you, but as you master your instrument —or life— they can save the day!

Something to think about . . .

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