Happy New Year!  

2015 is the year in Back to the Future Part II, where Doc is from and where they travel to save Marty McFly’s future children.  Can you believe it?  We thought there would be hover boards, flying cars, and automatic shoe laces by now.  We do have Skype, wii and Kinect, and increased plastic surgery, though.  

In my last post I made a subtle suggestion to add active music-making to your long list of New Years Resolutions. The reason ties back to reviving old and finding new ways to worship God the Creator. 

The act of making, practicing, performing music is a very powerful act of worship.

A lot of people find ways to do this through church, which is great.  Be it the praise band, mass choir, or a chamber ensemble, these are all outlets for creativity, community-building, art, learning, and worship.  I wouldn’t be the musician I am today without my many church jobs, praise bands, and choir experiences.  I learned how to play the guitar through my church friends, one Vineyard song at a time.  

I hope we don’t limit ourselves to worship music at church, though!  There are so many opportunities outside of the church walls that will help us to engage in the community.  Even now, thinking through all of those past experiences evoke such powerful memories: going on a cappella tours, lugging my violin on and off the school bus, and using my choir folder to hide while I passed notes around with my buddies. These are just some nonmusical memories.  Musically, I remember playing my first piano concerto with a huge orchestra to back me up, a piece by Mendelssohn that I was absolutely in love with and wanted to share with the world.  I remember my a cappella group performing my first ever arrangement I had written, a 13-minute Madonna medley!  I remember the first song I ever wrote and performed at an Open Mic night, a song I believed in.  In choirs I sang in Latin, Italian, German, French, English, Portuguese, Russian, and Korean.  

Remember some of those times in your life?  Here are some practical ways to do it now, in 2015:

  • Make memories.  Play music with your kids or with friends.  Jam nights, open mics, sheds, whatever you want to call it.  Even karaoke can be really fun!  (Koreans know this all to well) 
  • Create/build/cultivate community.  Join a choir, start a band, make a music video.  I did a music therapy research study with young adult patients with cancer receiving bone marrow implants, and the treatment was making a music video measuring alleviating symptom stress and improving quality of life.  I’m guessing that if there was a positive outcome for them, it can be positive for all of us!
  • Have fun.  Making a space in your life to create and play is important and essential to life.

                                   Play is the highest form of research.” ~Albert Einstein

  • Learn – Ever wonder how people seem to get “stuck” in a decade, whether it be music, style, decor, way of thinking?  Learning new things becomes challenging as we mature in life, but this is how we become open and stay open to life.  Music is a powerful way to engage in lifelong learning because it requires so many skills, uses both sides of the brain, and promotes community.

So would you consider adding learning/practicing/playing music to your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

God created hearts to be fully alive in Him, and I believe that active music-making can be a practice in opening more of our hearts to Him.  

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