We Play Like We Think

This is going to be a musicians post.  It actually will apply primarily to musicians who play in a church, or religious setting.  It doesn’t mean if you’re not an instrumental musician, instrumentalist if you will, or maybe just a musical person, you can’t read it.  But be forewarned, you might not ‘connect’ to it if you’ve never been in the heat of a performance playing a musical instrument.  
 The reason this applies primarily to instrumentalists and not vocalists (singers) is that, well, just read the article, I think you’ll figure it out!


Our worship pastor shared in a seminar recently about the importance of ‘watching our words’ during worship.  The premise was thinking through the lyrics we sing and making song choices that center on God, His characteristics, attributes and His glory.  I started thinking about this verse, Psalm 19:14, in light of hearing him speak, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer”, and how what he was pointing to, and what this verse says, might apply to instrumentalists during worship, or any setting for that   matter.

So I started talking about this last week in rehearsal and challenged our instrumentalists to think about what they think about while they are playing.  Are they meditating on the lyrics?  Are they focusing on the God as they play? Are they thinking about the next note(s)?  What is on their mind and in their heart as they play.

Personally, I find myself almost ‘day-dreaming’ at times when I play during worship.  I’m a little ADD so that doesn’t help! It’s easy for me to be singing, or playing and my mind is a thousand thoughts away from ‘the moment.”  Sure, I get it, we can almost be mechanical or rote if we’ve played a tune many  times before.  It’s also easy, as musicians, to get caught up in the chord structures (or lack of at times), or the harmonic progression, or groove, or what the guitar playing is doing.  Of course we all wonder what the guitar player is doing at times!

But you see, it’s easy to be distracted by anything and everything during worship.  This is especially true as instrumentalists.  I remember a friend of mine saying he used to have his players write the lyrics in their music to help them focus on the message.  Great idea!  Whatever it takes to get the ‘meditation of our heart’ moving in the right direction is worth the time!  During the ‘heat of the moment’ in a service it’s easy to forget Who we should be focusing on, I believe this is especially true for instrumentalists given all of the technical things that can, and often do distract us.


I know I’m challenging myself with this and also our players and hope it sinks in more and more.  Verse 14 in Psalm 19 follows beautiful descriptions of the heavens proclaiming God’s glory even though we never hear it audibly, at least not with human ears, and how they also reveal God’s glory.  The Psalmist also recognizes the absolute sovereignty and purpose of God’s Word, and His eternal and never-changing truths.  All followed up by a prayer-like response of repentance and humility.  Do these go hand in hand?  Absolutely!  When we direct our mind’s focus and our heart’s desire solely on God’s glory and worship of Him, we will desire to live according to His Word and be humbled by His great power and glory!  We will be changed!  Even while playing an instrument!

So it should be during worship.  If our focus, as we play, is on anything else but God and His greatness, what we give to Him will not be acceptable in His sight.  The challenge for us, and our players, is to keep that thought at the forefront of what we ‘present’ to Him in worship each week.  In fact, it doesn’t even have to be during a worship service!

My prayer, the Psalmist’s prayer, is that everything I say and do and think about during Sunday worship, and my daily worship, will be acceptable and pleasing in His sight.  Nobody else matters, including, most of all, myself.

New Christmas CD

It has definitely been another very busy Christmas season, and it is NOT over yet!  The Lord has allowed health once again this year to accomplish all that He has allowed and I am grateful.

Part of that has been the creation and delivery of a brand new Christmas CD project entitled, Christmas Kaleidoscope – The Beautiful Incarnation.

I am pleased to announce that it is now available for digital distribution through CDBaby.


Thank you for interest in this project and may your Christmas be filled with the hope and glory of Jesus Christ!


BIG Announcement Time Is Here!

So, the suspense is over!  It’s time for the BIG announcement from DSGMusic and NorthStar Music Group, Inc.

New for 2012, my first recorded project in almost 7 years and the first since transplant!

Brand NEW for 2012!

Check out sample track here:  http://soundcloud.com/dsgmusic88

CD’s will be available for pre-order starting Monday, November 19.  Product will be available for shipment Friday, November 30.  You can place pre-orders at:  www.dsgmusic.com.

Once physical product is available you’ll be able to find it at the following:

CDBaby, iTunes, AmazonMP3 and Amazon Marketplace, among others.

Tell your friends!

The Power of a Song

We have a print in our home that someone gave us a long time ago. It is a wonderful thought about music and concludes with this statement;

Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart.

Martin Luther

In the lobby here at Duke Medical Center sits a piano. Patients, staff and guests are encouraged to sit and share their talent with those who are passing by. There are several places to sit all around for those who might want to stop and listen a while. So, with it being Sunday, and not getting the opportunity to participate in corporate worship anywhere, I decided to head down and play some hymns for a while. Even if it was just for me, but in hopes someone else might be interested as well.

When I first arrived, there was nobody there. I mean the lobby was empty! I first thought, “What’s the point, if there isn’t anyone around.”. Then I heard “a voice” quietly speak, saying, “Just start, whoever needs to hear will be here.”. So, I began.

When I started playing, I could see out of the corner of my eye, a lady had quietly taken her place in a chair to my right. After a few moments I noticed she was crying. I kept playing and after a little more time, I noticed a couple of others who had joined her.

I looked up at a break and she said, “Keep playing, you have a gift.”. So I played for 10 more minutes and stopped to head back up to my room. Kind of thought the nurse might be looking for me!

Upon exiting, I stopped and spoke with her. She began to tell me how much she appreciated the music, etc. and I asked her why she was here and shared my story too. She told me her 26 year old daughter had been diagnosed with cancer and at this point, the doctor’s aren’t trying to find a cure, just trying to make her feel as comfortable as possible. She is receiving chemo, but the prognosis isn’t good at this point.

We prayed together and she said, “It has been so great to be able to connect with people while being at Duke and walking through this with her daughter.”

After leaving her, I started thinking about how music can be such a bond between us as humans. How it can affect us on SO many levels all at once. How music has such magnificent “connecting powers.”. That it can draw two strangers together so they can help “bear one another’s burdens” in a time of crisis. What we think is a simple act, God can use to do a thousand things!

I am not a preacher, but I also thought about the fact that isn’t it incredible that God can take music and turn it into a sermon that someone needed to hear.