Synesthesia In Worship

Sometimes when I am practicing songs for Sunday morning service, I am honestly not sure to what depth I am to practice them. Do I listen and become familiar with every single sound and feeling of the song? When is it enough practice?

My brother also does worship and he has told me that when I don’t have to think about the song anymore that it’s enough practice. It’s hard for me to not think about the song I’m playing. My brain processes sound and senses through something known as Synesthesia. Everything I hear, touch, taste, smell, and feel create involuntary pictures inside of my mind—I mostly notice this when hearing and touching things.

When I am learning a new song, I like to listen to it a few times so I can get used to “seeing” how everything fits together. It’s sort of like a puzzle. I feel responsible to feel an overall orientation of all the parts. When I learn a new repetitive melody line (common in contemporary worship), I have to line up what I am playing to the pattern I “see” as it goes by in my head. It’s not that I don’t use my ear or music theory–I do. I’m just used to processing it visually, as well. And because of this, I feel like my practice is a lot more tedious than it needs to be. It’d be nice to just hear something and play it…but I see it, too. I have to match it in two ways rather than one, as well as block out the other images in the picture if I am learning a piano part with different notes being played at the same time. One of the notes is seen lower than the note which maybe I am focusing on.

I know that color synesthesia is common for musicians who have it. They automatically relate certain colors to notes. A note just happens to be “seen” as that color in the mind. I bet that type would be sort of fun as someone who does worship…seeing colors when creating music about God!

But, in all the frustrations, I am thankful for it. It helps me, during practice, to “see” if everything is lining up or not. But I also sometimes feel like a jerk when I bring something up in practice that doesn’t seem right because there are times when I cannot seem to explain how to fix it, or where I don’t want to make another vocalist feel bad if things don’t seem to be in sync. I’m not saying that I am perfect all the time, but it can be annoying when I can involuntarily witness every element at once and be able to deduce what is off. And then again, I am human, and so there is always room for error on my end of things.

Just sort of rambling about what’s on my mind into the night.

Thoughts? Anyone who can relate?

Goodnight! ❤

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