My Philosophy of Music
NOTE: I am attempting here to vocalize my beliefs on music. These beliefs are subject to change as I hopefully mature in knowledge and understanding.
I believe… that music is a language that crosses cultural, national, and political barriers. Why? Because it speaks directly to the spirit- the mind, will, and emotions. This is why it both effective and scary in the realm of so-called “Christian” Music. I believe music was originally created by God for His people to praise Him with. Since the beginning, much of it has been corrupted, and is no longer bringing honor and glory to Him.
I believe… that all music has a message even if there are no words written to it. The question is, what message do you want to portray?
I believe… music has a definite purpose. Some music is a means of bringing praise and honor to the one we serve whether directly, or indirectly. Music can be used to tell a story, make a point, entertain, woo a lover, heal the soul, make you joyful or sad, put you to sleep, keep you awake, lead you into battle, etc…
I believe… that Scripture has a lot to say about music, but very little that can be directly applied, as some have attempted, to the style of band used, or the instruments, or lack thereof. Rather, I believe it has a lot more to do with one’s heart. While the Psalms do speak of “loud sounding cymbals”, they don’t mention 4, or 6 or 12 stringed instruments. Or, for that matter, amplifiers, trombones, clarinets, or acoustic pianos by name. What we do know from scripture is that we are to praise the LORD with everything that has a breath. With stringed instruments, loud sounding cymbals, organs, harp, trumpets, voice, and definitely with our heart and in our spirit.
I believe… the list of instruments mentioned in the bible is in no way exhaustive. We are to bring a Psalm, hymn, and spiritual song, and make melody in our heart to the LORD. You won’t however, find “Thou Shalt Not Have Drums in Church.” In fact, I believe with all my heart that drums can be used to bring honor and praise to God. (Before you click that back button, read on!) Drums seem to have become a dividing line between fundamentalist, and contemporary Christians: Guilt by association is the unspoken thought. This is a touchy subject and more will be written on it later and in my blog. While I don’t prefer to have them in most church music, (and you will rarely find them in music I endorse whole heartedly), there are however, a few times when I believe I’d heard them tastefully used and appropriately used. That being said, most of the time in Christian music, like an excess of makeup on a beautiful face, they have become a distraction from the message of the music.
I believe… this is more a matter of the heart than of the instrument. I’m not saying there isn’t a proverbial “line in the sand”, just that we aren’t the ones who draw that line, God is. He demonstrated this with the law when Jesus was on earth. Jesus “broke” many of the laws the Pharisees religiously kept, and Jesus said that their heart was wrong. In other words, it is not the letter of the law, but the spirit of it that is important.
I believe… that when our spirit is in harmony with the Spirit of God, than our music will reflect His character.
I believe… that not everything called CCM is necessarily bad.
I believe… that some hymns and a lot of “gospel songs” are not good music.
I believe… that most modern CCM is not good music.
I believe… that one does not need to sing opera or even in a classical style in order to bring praise to the LORD. In fact, I believe that Opera is gaudy and obnoxious, and way too much vibrato is distracting and annoying!
I believe… that Christians should not make “Christian music” as opposed to Rock Music, or some other genre, but that everything we do should be inherently through and through “Christian”, in that we are followers of Christ, seeking to honor Him above all else.
I believe… that music for the Master should be the very best that it can be, and that mediocre and lousy music should not be accepted as worthy of praise. (Would you give less than your best to play in the presence of your biggest hero?)
I believe… we should write, sing, play and record new songs, and new melodies and arrangements to old songs. I also believe there is some music which is outdated. Music that is out of tune, gaudy sounding, terribly played, horridly orchestrated or terribly sung should be gotten rid of. It shouldn’t be on the radio or performed in churches. If God has given you a song, and you can’t sing, but joy is welling up within you, by all means, sing! It’s okay to sing in your home, prayer closet, or in the shower, just don’t buy a bus and go on tour!