Practice Tips with Cheryl Lemmons

In my 15th year as Coordinator of Accompanying at Lutheran Summer Music, I again get to reflect on how this one-month experience so profoundly shapes my year (as it has now done for 15 years). Of course, there’s the obvious: getting out of the Texas heat for a month would give anyone a better outlook on life. But seriously, this month has become a “coming home” time for me again and again. I’m given a reminder of who I am and what it is I am to be about in this world during this month-long experience we call LSM. The monastic-like rhythm of our days here at LSM is grounding, calming, and life-giving. We pray together daily. We work hard daily. We have much fun daily. We bear one another’s burdens daily. We are reminded of why we have had the privilege of being put on this earth. Each morning I treasure the singing of Luther’s Morning Hymn by Carl Schalk. The progress made by my small ensemble students gladdens my heart. The time spent practicing and preparing for performances makes me a better and more focused person. Rehearsals are an opportunity to connect and grow together. Every meal is an opportunity to encounter my fellow faculty members in an ordinary, yet profound way. Ending each day with Evening Prayer has shaped my soul in ways I will never fully understand. Holy moments all.

For several years now I’ve had the privilege of sharing “Practice Tips” every morning with the community. They run the gamut from “Schedule your practice time,” to “Practice mindfully,” and everything in between. The older I get the more aware I become that every practice tip is just another way of realizing the sacredness of every moment, every note. What we’re attempting to do is to be fully present in every moment, with every note, alongside our colleagues and fellow students, aware of the holiness of it all. LSM is where I’m reminded of the sacredness of each ordinary moment. Every encounter with another human being is something to be treasured. The music we make together reflects a beauty far beyond our comprehension. Through our work together this month, we have the privilege of encountering the divine. And my entire year is better because of it.