Ear Training

Featuring John Telman Posted on April 3, 2009

In the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ said, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 2-3) Specific messages were given to churches that were in Asia Minor or modern day Turkey. What God had to say was so important that for all seven churches he told them to “listen up”. When God speaks, all of humanity does well to listen.

God has made himself known to man. He has made his love known through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The wise man will listen to God's call of love.

The issue that we may battle with is the ability to hear with our ears and also with our minds. It is to the fact that God, the great creator actually speaks to us causes us to carefully listen.

As musicians and singers in worship ministry, we all know that the first thing that is needed is the ability to listen. I have had singers who struggled with pitch. In order to improve their “pitch problems”, we went into a listen mode. I have often said, “listen twice”. This is a good way to approach music and life. If you don't get it, listen twice! Listening comes first. Do you want excellence in music? Listen!

As I have come across people who cannot match pitch, I have noticed a glaring problem. They don't listen to music. They don't play CD's. They don't have an iPod or an mp3 player. Music is all around us so it is amazing that some don't hear pitch.

Physical impediments to the ability to match pitch only affects a very small percentage of the population so in most cases, everyone can sing. You may hear some say, “I can't sing”. This is, for the most part, not true. Most can, they just need to hear. These people may have some other reason for the problem including past experiences where they have been criticized for their singing. I have found that most can quickly learn to sing with encouragement and simple help to hear intervals.

Lest anyone think that listening is only an imperative for singers, think again. Listening is needed not only for pitch but also for rhythm and tempo. A drummer needs to listen carefully just as much as a singer does. In fact, I always encourage drummers to sing while playing. This helps the drummer to understand phrasing, as he has to breathe like all other singers.  As an added bonus, the drummer then is more in tune to the message of the song.

Listening is how we learn. We learn that God loves, that he cares for us and that he wants to walk with us through all parts of our lives. It is in listening to the Holy Spirit that we learn God's song. This is vitally important to all who serve in worship ministry. What we do does not amount to much, no matter how well we pitch, if don't hear what God is saying to the church.



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