Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Love Music

At best, I am a for my own pleasure musician. As long as I'm not soloing in front of other people, I enjoying singing or playing guitar (well, with the guitar, I would add ...and as long as the chords stay within a narrowly defined range). You won't get me to do so for anyone else, but I even (painfully) play a bit of piano to my own amazement.

I love music. Partly, it's my family heritage. My grandfather loved to play the piano and sing. I could be wrong, but my memory tells me that he couldn't tell you a "C" from an "F#" — he read and played shaped-notes. As a kid, I was amazed.

Music speaks to me. And mostly, it's the music itself more than the words. Our son and, especially, our daughter hear and learn the words of songs almost immediately — it baffles me. For me, even as a teenager, it's the music. My tastes are pretty eclectic ... light rock (especially from the 60s and 70s), blue grass, country, instrumental classical.... For worship, I don't mind, at all, praise choruses (as long as they're not mindless repetition) and CCM (I don't know what the current in vogue term is). I even like some Christian rap (think Propaganda), but in this case, it's the words, not the music, that I like.

The first time I heard Francesca Battistelli, I heard Free to Be Me on the radio and it immediately resonated with me, both the words and the music (okay, When I was just a girl.... doesn't describe my experience — LOL!):
‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender,
Got a couple rips in my jeans;
Try to fit the pieces together,
But perfection is my enemy.
On my own I'm so clumsy,
But on Your shoulders I can see—
I'm free to be me
.
As much as I like all kinds of music, though, when it comes to worship, hymns are my preference. Yes, I like the music of (most) hymns. I enjoy a good 4-part harmony, in just the right range so that I can sing bass. But, it's the words that move me. I can hardly sing the third verse of It Is Well With My Soul without tears:
My sin — oh, the bliss of this glorious thought: my sin not in part, but the whole — is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul!
They don't have to be old hymns, either. Lynn DeShazo's Ancient Words is a moving testimony to the power of God's Word, the Bible. Keith and Kristyn Getty are writing and singing excellent hymns that present truth in ways that speak to present Christians.

In oral-preference cultures — cultures where, no matter what their literacy level, the preferred method for storing and passing on information is in stories — songs are used to teach, reinforce teaching, and to help people remember important lessons. Hymns have performed the same function for Christians and Jews for millennia. Here's an excellent example and an interesting story of one way hymns have been used to teach — the free download is an old hymn in a modern style:

Hymn Stories: The Church's One Foundation (+ Free Download)

Oh, and let's keep the running theme of this blog. One of the ways that I motivate myself when I'm running is with music. Not via an MP3 player and earbuds, but singing in my head — whatever happens to be there.

Run well, y'all,
Bob
Nairobi, Kenya
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