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Instruments need tuning

In order to be classified as a musical instrument, an instrument must be tuned.
While an instrument could be tuned in a number of varying ways, the typical tuning for, oh, the world is what we call equal temperament, which divides an octave into 12 equal parts. Standard tuning will put the A below middle C (on a piano) at 440 vibrations per second. Each instrument then uses this pitch to determine whether or not it is in tune, and each player of the instrument makes adjustments correspondingly. It is imperative that all other instruments use this same tuning in order to sound harmonious when making music together.

Fact: you can own the greatest instrument in all the world (be it a Steinway piano or Stradivarius violin) but if it is not in tune it will sound like crap.

You see, an instrument is only worth value to a player if it is able to hold its tuning during a performance. If the instrument keeps letting the tuning slip then the player will get quite fed up with the instrument and likely go buy another. There are some important factors that keep an instrument in tune:

1) Frequency of tuning. Perhaps you have a great example of this sitting in your living room right now. Its your mom's piano that she gave to you last time she moved and you put it in your living room. It survived the bumpy move and you figured you should probably get it tuned but just never got around to it. And that was 10 years ago. It now sounds like something from a honkey-tonk show in the wild-wild west and no one dares touch it. Typical tuning for a piano is twice a year, when the season changes. Typical tuning for a concert piano is once a show however. Typical tuning for all handheld instruments is at least once per use.

2) Frequency of playing. Believe it or not but the best thing for a piano to stay in tune is for the strings to be played regularly. If the piano just sits there it will gradually start to slip out of tune. The vibrations of the strings when it is being played help it stay in tune and become a better resonant space.

3) Proper climate conditions. You can't put a piano in a room that shifts its temperature from 50 to 70 degrees each day. The shift in the moisture of the room will cause the wood to warp and the strings to bow and the tuning to slip. It's no good.

4) Quality build. Certain individuals do good work when it comes to building musical instruments. They know what makes the most resonant body, what design in the neck allows for maximum tension on the string so that the tuning won't slip. They use quality parts and assemble everything by hand. Whether it be Taylor guitars or Steinway pianos or Stradivarius violins, or some other company I know nothing about. Each of these creators knows the difference between a quality build and a cheap imitation.

Did you know that Christians need to be tuned?
In order to be classified as a Christ follower, we need to do as He did, and Jesus was constantly checking in with His Father to be led and guided along the way. He got up early in the morning to pray and He went away from crowds to hear from God clearly. He was learned in the teachings of the OT. Jesus is our standard for equal temperament (in so many ways!). If we are to be classified as Christians then we should hope to hold to His standards (of course it doesn't hurt that Jesus had perfect pitch). It is imperative that each of us check in with God regularly for a tuning before trying to play with each other or else we will not be making music together in harmony with one another!

I believe that the daily disciplines of prayer, study, praise, and meditation are necessary to be "tuned up" to God's standard of tuning. These same 4 principles apply to us as Christians as they do to instruments:

1) Frequency of tuning. Perhaps you have a great example of this sitting on your shelf. You have the Bible that was owned by your grandpa sitting there untouched for a decade or more. Sure, you go to church now and again but you are neglecting reading the Word throughout your day-to-day routine. You should be attending some kind of major spiritual revival/conference/pilgrimage at least twice a year if not every time a big performance/event comes up in your life. Better yet, consider yourself to be a handheld instrument and expect to be tuned every day. The more you seek to be tuned by God, the better pitch you will hold.

2) Frequency of playing. What was that? You don't practice what you preach? Oh, you don't even preach. We ought to be in the Word daily in order to know what true pitch sounds like but we also need to make music regularly. If we are always studying but never doing, then our pitch will start to slip. It is only when we regularly use our instrument to the glory of God that we can expect it to keep to its tuning. You can't expect to get tuning if you aren't willing to do anything about it (Prov. 13:4)

3) Proper climate conditions. You simply cannot put yourself in situations that potentially will compromise your faith and expect to not lose your tuning. You can't keep shifting back and forth between a good climate and a bad one. All that shifting is bad for your instrument and will lead to a warped understanding of where your tuning should be.

4) Quality build. Did you know that you were designed by hand? Did you know that you were designed with a specific purpose in mind? Did you know that you are made to be one of the best in the world? Your value is limitless because there is only one of you! God made some of us oboes, some of us flutes, and others harps, but when we all play together we create His glorious symphony!

As you seek God today, look for ways to have Him tune you to align yourself more with Him.


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