“How Do You Learn Your Music So Quickly?”

May 18, 2017 by

The answer to the above question is, I have no idea.

“How do you learn your music so quickly?” comes up whenever I join a new choir or worship team. I start out with my face buried in my sheet music, and by the end of rehearsal I’ve set it aside. On Sunday morning, everyone who knows me knows I can’t read the PowerPoint slides that the other vocalists rely on, but those who don’t probably assume I’m reading them too. I know where the slides are; depending on the location I might even be able to see that there are some fuzzy words on the slides, but if the worship director decided to slip in an unfamiliar verse at the last minute, I would be sunk. My ability to sing publicly depends on my ability to memorize.


Only recently did I truly grasp that memorizing music is hard for most people.

This is the #1 benefit of living with low vision – it forced me to develop my memory.

According to Mom, I recited “T’was the Night Before Christmas” in front of Grandma’s Christmas tree at age three. Mom recalled this story whenever a teacher mistook my vision problem for a learning disability.

In my first public speaking class, I always earned the extra points for presenting my speech without notes. I didn’t do it because I was an overachiever who wanted the extra credit; I did it so I wouldn’t have to speak with my nose pasted to note cards.

When performing in plays, I memorized my lines before the deadline, and by opening night I knew many of my fellow cast members’ lines as well. I just thought it was fun to know scenes by heart.

I’m one of those annoying people who enjoys reciting lines along with the actors when watching my favorite movies. Now that I know it’s annoying, I only do it in my head.

It’s hard to focus on knitting or crochet stitches and the printed pattern at the same time, so I do as much as I can from memory.

This is the #1 benefit of living with low vision – it forced me to develop my memory. Click To Tweet

I can’t take credit for putting any special effort into memorization. It has become such a natural part of life that I don’t even know how I do it anymore. There are some things that slip out of my mind, like phone numbers, Scripture references, and verse 3 of most old hymns, which hardly anyone sings anyway (poor verse 3). After talking to some fellow faculty members at a recent writers’ conference, I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t the only one whose data base for recalling names had reached capacity. But my ability to recall songs and lines and stories and speaking notes and random facts is a reminder that when God creates us with an extra challenge, He equips us with strengths that we will need in order to keep up.

I’ve read that the blind and visually impaired do not possess special powers when it comes to their other senses—that they simply tune in more to sound and scent and memory and develop them like muscles.  Whether a sense is stronger or we’re more tuned into it, I know God is behind it. He has a beautiful way of making up for our limitations, to the point where we no longer see a need to let them hold us back from what we want to do.

How have your limitations brought out other strengths? What has God equipped you to do that others can’t?

Psalm 100_3


How have your limitations brought out other strengths? Click To Tweet


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