Moments Across Time
by Dr. Paul D. Christiansen

Dedication

My music is dedicated to the honor and glory f my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I give the Holy spirit thanks for His indwelling presence. I believe it is He who has empowered my musical talent. I pray, for those who listen to my music, to be inspired, receive inner-healing, and being motivated to have a grater love for the Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be praise, honor and glory! For Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

   

The Life Behind the Music

I was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on June 11, 1941. When I was about seven, my parents bought a piano. Without taking lessons, I was able to play. Some people called it, "playing by ear;" however, this was not what happened.

From birth, I had blurred vision. Since one eye was more near-sighted then the other, my vision had a "waffle" effect. When musical scores were viewed, the same note could appear on a line or a space.

At the age of ten, I began taking piano lessons from Helen Olson, a well known musician and piano teacher. While practicing, the piano I would see the notes inaccurately because of my faulty vision. At my lesson, wrong notes would be played. This created a lot of frustration. My talent of being able to play without musical scores made it tempting to play with ease while practicing, rather than struggling to read the notes in my piano book.

I would use complicated scores from an aunt's music library. I improvised while pretending to be playing a score with many sixteenth notes. This method of piano playing and having to practice while my friends were outside playing, hindered my prgress. Also, my mother would tell me, I'm not hearing your piano lesson. She placed a timer, set for thirty minutes, on the piano. From time-to-time, I would advance the time. She had another timer in the kitchen, so that did not work. When I was twelve, this phase of my "piano career" ended.

Then I started listening to my aunt's collection of classical recordings as I went to sleep. Before long I had listened to the entire collection.

Singing was another matter. With an ear for musical sounds, I did not have to read the notes. Once I heard them played or sung, I could pick-out my part. I sang in the children's and youth choirs in my church and during junior and senior high school, I sang in choruses under the direction of Robert Meyers. I looked to Mr. Meyers as someone to model. I desired to be a concert pianist or choral director, but I knew I had too many limitations reading musical scores.

After graduating from Albert Lea High School in 1959, I was encouraged to attend Dana College. As it turned out, Dana was a good place for me. I was especially encouraged by Miss McCullough—Miss Mac as she was known. While at Dana, I majored in music and history with intentions of being a music teacher. I sang in the college choir and took piano and singing lessons. I did grow somewhat after three years of piano instructions, unfortunately my visual handicap and musical talents were either ignored or never perceived by my music teachers. I was informed, by my music teachers, that I was not qualified to be a music teacher, pianist or a teacher in geneal.

In spite of my visual limitations and music teachers' proclaimations, I earned a B. S., M. S., and Ph.D. and became a teacher, administrator, university professor, businessman and composed and performed several musical works for piano and organ.

My Music

My music in many ways is not unusual; however, people have remarked there seems to be a significant difference which can be difficult to describe. One individual said, "It's like playing in the cracks." That is, hearing sounds not on the keyboard.

What is different about my music, is the method in which it is composed. The composition and performance are taking place simultaneously. New technologies enable me to digitally record and store the compositions. I do not play "by ear." I feel the music is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Naming the composition seems more difficult than creating it. If I had the scores of my compositions, more than likely, I would not be able to play them, since some of the passages would be too difficult for me to read.

Describing what happens when I play is difficult, but the more I "lose" awareness of self, the easier it is to compose and perform. After I hear what is being played, the sounds stimulate thought and feelings and set in motion the next sounds to be produced. I do not comprehend how my mind accomplishes this, especially when the rate of interaction is rapid.

I believe I have been given a musical gift, and limitations in reading music, so I am reminded to give the Lord Jesus Christ the credit. I pray each of you who listen to my music will be blessed in some way.

With Love in Christ, Paul

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Last Modified: March 21, 2016