Play Skillfully

Verse 3 of Psalm 33 voices musicians to play with skill.  Make a note of this!

I know some Christian musicians may not totally appreciate this post, but humor me, and for just one minuet, give it a try.

Conversely, to performing with skill, I think that “making with a joyful noise,” a lyric in several Psalms, is the counterpoint to playing with skill.

The Lord loves JOY!  A JOYful giver.  A JOYful shout.  JOY in trials.  Paul even fluted the Kingdom of God is, “righteous, JOY, and peace in the Holy Spirit.”

Sometime, for a children’s sermon, I will raid the churches’ kitchen and give all the youngsters a pan and a large spoon:  and tell them to go for it.  Then, just watch the kids’ faces — that would be JOY! with a whole lot of noise.  . . .and if you can say those kids are NOT making a JOYFUL NOISE I’ll pray for your scales to fall out of your eyes.

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Many times we kinda throw the music together.  You know, gather together a short interval before the service, choose a few songs, hardly rehearse, and go right into the service while we are still composing out what to play.  I am not saying God does not want, like, or appreciate a “jam session for Jesus,” as the band wings it.  And, I will admit, at times it’s fun to not think too much and just play for the fun of it; play what “feels good”.

But on the other hand, how does “throwing something together” compare to knowing the music and masterfully create, learn, and execute an arrangement that artfully brings out the textures and meaning of the song?  I am not harping on practicing a song to death and kill your spirit, or more importantly the Spirit of God with a tasteless monotony of musical theory; followed by cutting yourself down if the slightest little mistake is made.  Anyone makes mistakes.  To me: leading worship without arranging a part that fits and blends with the other band members’ instruments and voices, and matches the melody, lyrics, and song style leaves something important undone.  Now that’s the key!

I know the time we have in this world is limited: the service is scheduled for a certain time, unexpected matters take us off our guard, (there are times we put stumbling blocks in our path).  To truly perform a piece you (the individual) and the band (the group) need to have parts written — even if the part played is “written in your head” instead of a music staff — and practiced before taking the stage to lead the Body of Christ in worship.

Worship deserves to be good.

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Dedication is needed to play a musical instrument with skill:

Practice to develop your personal skills,
Perfect a piece of repertoire,
Keep your instrument / voice in shape — change strings, reeds, drumheads, etc,

Go back through some scales you already know, and learn a new one.  Songs are pieces of scales.  Chords are built upon scales.  Scales are sound advice for you — like eating solid, healthy food.

Build a song and a music team coupled with members who work together on an arrangement.

But have Joy:  noisily or harmoniously.


Author: myasceticnotebook

Hi, I'm Jeff. Husband, Father, Christian musician. Free-thinker in Christ.

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