Working Around “Stuck”

I had made up my mind to add “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” to my dulcimer repertoire. I tackled it slowly like any new piece, but some of the fingering just wasn’t coming; I became disappointed in my sound. After a week or so, I noticed I was finding excuses not to practice; the dulcimer was no longer the joyful time in my day had been for so long.

After a few days away, I longed to return to my music–but not to that piece. I brushed off some old favorites. I found comfort in a set of Irish jigs I always enjoyed but never really mastered. I took on that challenge instead and became reinvigorated.

While still working to get these jigs to where I want them to be, I thought about Jesu again. I gave it a try. Interestingly, my fingering came more naturally than I remembered; I found I could rearrange some passages to be more musically pleasing–and with that came the added benefit of greater playing ease.

I came to realize being stuck did not have to mean standing still. I allowed myself to choose another path–and returned to the first only when the time felt right. In the end, I let my heart lead and the “Joy” of making music returned on its own (pun intended!)

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