As a musician there are several things you have to know when you read music. There are time
signatures that tell you how to count the beat, key signatures that tell you what key to play in, and specific notes that tell you what tone to play, when to play it, and for how long to hold it. Another thing we musicians have to know is the use of rests.
Rests are symbols marked in place of a note. It tells you to be silent. You count it in time because the beat continues on and the music hasn’t stopped, but you withhold playing anything. It’s a time to wait for your next turn to play.
Just like notes, rests have time values too. Some are long and some are short. And many times, depending on what instrument you play, you may rest for a very long time before you have a note. For example, if you play crash cymbals — those loud percussion instruments that look like two trash can lids you hit together — your part in music is usually those gigantic big bang accents. Your part involves a lot of resting and waiting for just the right moment!
If we didn’t have rests written into music, all instruments would be playing at the same time, all the time. That would be disorganized noise, not music. When you watch a band or orchestra, there are times when most everyone is playing and times when only a few are playing. This is what makes music, music.
Each of us has our individual part to play in this beautiful song of Creation, and, just like that band or orchestra, there are times to play notes and times to rest.
Without resting we become tired and ineffective. We can’t catch our breath if we’re playing all the time! Rests are just as important as notes. In other words, sometimes doing nothing is just as important as doing something!
Listen to the music in life. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there’s a time for everything. There’s a time to play and a time to rest. Observe the rests. They are necessary. They make for more beautiful music and a more beautiful life.