I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. Psalm 101:1 ESV
Do you feel that music just isn't for you, that it's not your thing? Well, if you answered any varying degree of "Yes!!" I'm here to sing you a different story. A story of how God has actually equipped you to make music to and for him. Whether you are young or old, a professional singer or a karaoke star, or you've been told to just mouth the words because someone else thinks you don't sound so great, you have been commanded to make a joyful noise to our God.
Scripture is replete with instruction regarding the use of music in worship, prayer, and praise to God. Many verses reference how music functions in the life of the believer, whether it be singing (Nehemiah 12:27 and Acts 16:25) or the playing of instruments (1 Chronicles 23:5 and 2 Samuel 6:5). In Revelation 14:3, the author says that the music of the saints around the throne is "like the sound of many waters and like the roar of loud thunder." Here, we see scripture revealing that music is one of the very few eternal activities in which we are currently privileged to engage.
In addition to scriptural evidence, there is extant research attesting to the fact that every human is born with the potential to make music, at least to some degree. Some studies assert that musical processing ability is seen in every human brain (Koelsch and Siebel, 2005). Others reveal that, even in the absence of formal instruction, the most basic musical elements are acquired through normal levels of exposure to music as we grow, as a result of genetics and environment interacting (Hannon and Trainor, 2007). Both musically trained and untrained people demonstrate an ability to acquire musical skills (Koelsch, et al., 2003; Hamamoto, Botelho, & Munger, 2010). Furthermore, it seems that regardless of quality of musical environment, most people eventually achieve the ability to sing, at least at a basic level (Peretz & Zatorre, 2005). Taken as a whole, the research indicates that music is an inherent and unique ability for all humans, supporting the fact that God has gifted everyone with musical potential.
So, since we know that we are commanded to make music, and that we are genetically endowed by God with at least some degree of musical predisposition, then it is important that we are guided toward realizing our musical potential.
Part 2 of this post will address what musical guidance in the early years should look like and what we have to offer here at Tenth in that regard.