I was reading through an article shared by Rhonda Headley titled “Is Music the Key to Success?”, in which the author, Joanne Lipman, suggests that music making helps the average person become a higher achiever. Lipman says that music promotes such qualities as: collaboration, creativity, discipline and the capacity to reconcile conflicting ideas. “All are qualities notably absent from public life. Music may not make you a genius, or rich, or even a better person. But it helps train you to think differently, to process different points of view — and most important, to take pleasure in listening.”
Throughout the article Lipman makes a point of stating that practicing music on a regular basis—despite one’s own lack of talent on that instrument—can promote other areas of life skills. It is essential for wind instrumentalists to rehearse their discipline daily in order to keep up their embouchure much less their ability to play their instrument well. For a classically trained pianist such as myself, lack of practice promotes simplistic chording, rounded rhythms, and sloppy playing in general. While my mind still remembers how to play, my hands become weaker and lazier without the necessary rehearsal.
Lipman states that if we look carefully we will find musicians at the top of almost any industry. “Woody Allen performs weekly with a jazz band. The television broadcaster Paula Zahn (cello) and the NBC chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd (French horn) attended college on music scholarships; NBC’s Andrea Mitchell trained to become a professional violinist. Both Microsoft’s Mr. Allen and the venture capitalist Roger McNamee have rock bands. Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, played saxophone in high school. Steven Spielberg is a clarinetist and son of a pianist. The former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn has played cello at Carnegie Hall.” And the list goes on and on.
What if the same could be said for music within the church?
I would suggest that the correlation not only exists, but is blatantly obvious. Christians who spend daily time connecting to God through worship (typically expressed through music) are much more “successful” Christians than those who only “practice” the discipline of worship once a week or even less. If you want to become a more successful Christian, I would suggest that the way to draw closer to Christ involves rehearsing yourself in the discipline of worship. Spend at least a half hour a day expressing to God His worth.
As I reflect on all the “spiritual giants” that have had a profound impact on my life I remember that each of them had a prayer life that was contagious, a voice that didn’t sound beautiful in song but was robust in worship, and a spirit that reflected God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. If I want to become a more successful Christian then I need to spend time letting music shape my emotional connection with God on a daily basis. I long to become a worshipper that resembles St. Augustine who said of worship,
“God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them, and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage. Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory.”