I love playing music, it brings me such joy. Especially playing in a group, where each person brings their own creativity into the mix. For me, one of the coolest things about music is its emotionality — the ability to swell with emotions, rising and falling.
This “emotionalism” (I will call it) is really just building tension musically and releasing it. Every type of music has it. From Aerosmith’s Dream On with Steven Tyler screaming those words over and over intensifying until finally hitting the chorus, to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony’s intro with “Da-Da-Da-Daaaa/ Da-Da-Da-Daaaa,” you can feel the tension grow then mellow out. Even the hymn, Amazing Grace, has a wonderful marriage of words-to-melody in this mounting up/relaxing down with the phrasing: “I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see” — a delicate lifting, then gently settling down. This development of tension and release is one of the keys to good music.
And it’s also a key with life. There are times in our life where things are tensing up — stress, maybe fears, those things that get our adrenaline pumping up — which can be exciting, with a period of rising, amping up. But it eventually we must let loose of all that tension and return to a time of peace and stability. (Ps. 46:10)
During our worship band rehearsal the other night this concept was pointed out by our sound man. Sometimes we have a propensity to “overplay,” or play as loud and strong as you can. We were excited. It was a great song and we were so spiritually heightened we just wanted to slam it with all our hearts! This exemplifies staying on the building/tension side of the swell the whole time; climbing up and up the mountain but never reaching the summit. Pushing hard. That’s not really very musical, nor sustainable. And that’s not life either.
Life cannot stay intense and full-bore all the time. If we do, we’ll probably have high blood pressure or a heart attack. Times of rest and relaxation are much needed to balance things out. (Matt. 11:28, 29) We eventually have to round the summit of the mountain and come back down the other side. Weekends with family, vacations, or simply quiet times help us keep the “music” of our lives enjoyable. There’s work and there’s play. Both are necessary.
I believe if we think of our lives like a song it could help us. There are verses, choruses, and bridges (which are neither the verse nor chorus but add a little something extra just because!). Each section has its timing, its part and purpose in the whole song. Sometimes there’s a rising, other times there’s a releasing.
So as the music of our lives play, I hope we can intensify when we need to — press in and “build,” — yet also surrender and refrain when it’s time to do that too. Personally, I want to play invigorating yet sweet encouraging music with my Heavenly Father — the kind that others would want to listen to and enjoy. (Eph. 5:19) Let the music play.