Keep It Up, Jenna!

By Jan Pinborough

Church Magazines

(Based on a true story)

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My soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads (D&C 25:12).

For the fourth time, Jenna tried to make her second and third fingers move quickly back and forth from B to B-flat. But her trill still didn’t sound smooth and even. Jenna rested her palms on the piano keys. She looked at the clock and sighed. Twenty-five more minutes to go.

From the kitchen, Mom called out, “Keep it up, Jenna! Your trill is definitely improving.”

Jenna rolled her eyes. It wasn’t that she didn’t like music. In fact, she loved it. But now Mrs. Maitland was giving her harder pieces by composers like Bach and Scarlatti. Jenna’s fingers couldn’t get through the runs without stumbling over each other.

“This sonata is going to sound awful in the recital!” Jenna grumbled.

Jenna stared down at her fingers. She obviously didn’t have what it took to be a good pianist—not as good as Mia, the star of Mrs. Maitland’s piano recitals. Jenna’s fingers just weren’t coordinated enough. What was the point in keeping it up if she was always going to be second best? Maybe she would ask Mom and Dad to let her quit piano.

Jenna looked around for something else to play. There was her blue Children’s Songbook. She opened it to page 228, her favorite Primary song. “Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by our lilac tree.” It always made Jenna feel like spring. In the illustration under the song title, the little girl’s raincoat was the same color as the daffodil, and her red umbrella matched her galoshes.

Jenna smiled and put her hands back on the keyboard. She loved the part where the notes go up for “I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world” and then come back down for “Heav’nly Father created for me.” The notes weren’t exactly a run, Jenna decided. They were more like a walk for her fingers. And she loved the word expressively at the top. It was exactly the way she liked to play. As she played the notes with their gentle, rocking rhythm, her frustration started melting away.

Jenna was starting on the second verse when Mom came in. “Sister Hardy just called,” Mom said. “She has to miss Primary on Sunday, and she can’t find anyone to substitute for her as pianist. Do you think you could do it, Jenna?”

The thought of playing in front of the whole Primary made Jenna’s stomach fluttery. But she loved the Primary songs. She would have her blue songbook, and the music wasn’t too fast or too hard.

Suddenly, Jenna felt glad that she had kept up her piano lessons. Her fingers didn’t need to be the fastest. And she didn’t really need to be the star of the recital. She could play the songs she loved for Heavenly Father. And that made it all worth it.

Illustrations by Cary Henrie

I like taking my pocket-sized songbook to Primary.