Music From the Heart
‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.’ – Ephesians 5:19
In what is perhaps the New Testament’s most famous verse on music, we find a location for our song. The Bible clearly teaches us that our song has a location, and that location is in our hearts.
Years ago, I had a music student who was a fine trumpeter; and he was thrilled because he was able to take one lesson with a world renown member of a major symphony orchestra. In his mind, he thought that the great trumpeter would show him secrets of moving his fingers faster or special techniques of blowing air into his trumpet that would miraculously improve his technique.
I saw him after the lesson and said, “How did it go, and what did you learn?”
“My problem is in my heart,” the young man said. He explained that the great trumpeter explained to him that instrumentalists obviously have to think about technical details like where to put their fingers and how they can develop greater dexterity. But if instrumentalists focus on these details instead of concentrating on the song in their heart, their playing will always sound dry and mechanical.
Some piano players think about notes, timing, and expression marks. Great pianists focus on the song in their heart, and their piano playing sounds human and heartfelt.
“we become excellent instrumentalists when we begin by thinking of the song in our heart.”
Music, then, is a picture of God’s saving grace. We don’t become fine pianists by thinking of our fingers first; we become excellent instrumentalists when we begin by thinking of the song in our heart. Likewise, we cannot merit Heaven by doing good works; but when we are saved, the indwelling Holy Ghost begins a process in our hearts that enables us to do many good works.
Everyone appreciates beautiful music when we hear a talented singer sing or a fine instrumentalist play, but the musician should always first focus on the song in his heart, making sure that the melody there is free, open, and pleasing to our Lord.