Extending Your Musical Boundaries

Featuring Tony Marvelli Posted on April 29, 2011

  One afternoon you get a phone call from someone, on referral, interested in hiring you to perform a concert with his band.  Since your calendar is free for the date, no sweat!  Here’s a new opportunity to demonstrate your technical prowess on your instrument and tap into the extensive library of songs you have memorized over the many years of practice and performing.


   “We’ll be playing traditional Celtic folk songs with a modern twist - a contemporary rhythm section and programmed loops.”  Are you still up for the gig?  You’ve performed in the praise team at church for years.  Deep down inside, you’re a dyed in the wool rocker, or an old R&B player, or maybe you’re a steadfast jazz player at heart.  Either way, Celtic folk songs are certainly not your forte.  Think about the number of times you’ve reached for the remote control when the “River Dance” special appeared on the TV screen.


    Do you still want the gig? Absolutely!! Every musical experience outside your comfort zone is a great learning opportunity.  You may be asked to play the simplest of parts.  Yet, the artistry lies in your sensitivity to the detail of the music.  You are surprised by the organic beauty of the melodies in major keys and the eeriness of the minor key melodies.  Quickly, the music grows on you and stays in your head for hours.


    It’s likely you will be working with some of the best musicians you’ve ever heard playing some of the most exotic instruments. Of course, there is the repertoire. Theses musicians have performed these songs for years.  They have a special relationship with the music, just as you have a special relationship with yours.  You quickly realize no other experience validates Proverbs 27:17—As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (NASB)—better than this one.


    Some might be satisfied with performing “How Great Is Our God” every Sunday morning.  There’s nothing wrong with that—it’s a great song with an inspiring chorus.  But stretching out in unfamiliar territory brings new perspective to your musicianship.  There is the joy of honoring God with your talents in new venues—being salt and light, if you will—and the satisfaction you’ve pushed yourself to try something new.  Jabez, in 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NAB) “…prayed to the God of Israel…that You may truly bless me and extend my boundaries!”  Such opportunities are blessings from God when iron sharpens iron and your musical boundaries are extended. 

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