Robert Ashton is learning to play the piano, and finds that his increasing appreciation of music is helping his faith to develop.
This year’s Norwich Festival saw a promenade performance at Norwich Cathedral. Many still chose to sit, but most of us moved around the Cathedral, witnessing the choir sing Rutter, Bach, Allegri and Wesley and Walton from different parts of that magnificent building. As the choir moved from place to place, the organ played Bach. It was a powerful, moving performance.
I’m sure I was not the only person in the audience who felt the presence of God that evening. It struck me that music can be as much ministry as, say, a bible reading or sermon. Of course, as a Quaker my Sunday mornings are free of sermons and the bible is only read by those who wish to do so, silently. But music is always there in the background of our everyday lives.
Clearly, music transcends language, both in the way it is written and heard. Only in the past few years, as I am learning to play the piano, have I learned to read music. As my musical literacy and understanding of music theory develops, so too does my appreciation of the music I hear. Like faith, it adds a fresh dimension to life.
But just as composition is, in my view, musical ministry, so too is teaching music to a beginner. My teacher happens to be a Jehovah’s Witness. We never discuss religion, but it’s slowly dawning on me that music can bring us all closer to God. Slowly but surely, my fluency and dexterity at the keyboard is improving. That doesn’t happen unless I work at it. As I’m discovering, both music and faith can only improve with practice!
The above image is courtesy of https://pixabay.com
Robert Ashton is an author, publisher, social entrepreneur and Quaker.
For more about Turnpike Business Centre, Robert’s ethical business centre, click here.
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