Playing music because–music

I’ve spent time off and on in worship bands in ELCA worshipping communities over the last 25 years or so. One of the toughest things for me about playing in an ELCA worship band is that this kind of playing just doesn’t happen very often.

It isn’t so much the skill of these two men–it’s the pure joy they have at just playing their instruments together and exploring what they can do. As a church musician, I’ve found too often we turn music into an utilitarian exercise. Music is a means to an end. Musicians are there to lead the congregation in song. Musicians are there to not draw attention to themselves. Musicians must do whatever it takes to stay out of the way.

But as a musician, music just moves me. It is not a utilitarian exercise. There are rules and rudimentary skills, yes. However, there is so much more to what music has to offer you and me. Music is one of the ways in which we can experience God.

I remember being asked, “Can Christians sing the blues?” The answer is yes. And Christians can sing Hard Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical, Pop, what ever music comes up–Christians can and I would argue should play the style.

In fact, I think we need to spend as much time gathered together as Christians enjoying where music takes us as we do following the little black notes in the hymn book, sheet music, chord chart, or choir music. Exploring music for the voice of God in big and little ways in the midst of the way the sounds of music move us.

Let’s play music because—music.

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