With Jon Vallier

A Musical Confession

A Musical Confession

An old composer once said, "Music is an outburst of the soul." If that's true, why is my soul always off key? Over the years I've had a love/hate relationship with music. Marrying into a family of musicians has certainly grown my love for it, but nothing seems to ease my horrible inability at creating it. As a pastor, music impacts my world more than most people. In fact, Scripture even tells me to be, " addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart," (Ephesians 5:19). Now although I entirely agree with this verse, you won't find me serenading anyone. The truth is, I don't have a single musical bone in my body! Do you know how self-conscious a pastor who can't carry a tune feels sitting in the front row? I've often looked at a piano and longed to make something beautiful come out of it, but all I can create is chop-sticks and the melody from "The Pink Panther." Even after five years of violin training, I wasn't much better at even finding a simple rhythm. In fact, I'm lucky if I can clap along with a song. 

Yet, with zero ability to engage with the music, my soul is still stirred by it. The other day I was driving home from a long day at the office when Pharrell Williams' song "Happy" came on the radio. It was as if my soul sunk into a La-Z-Boy recliner and smiled with relief. And even though my clapping, tapping and humming was way off, I could feel my heart start to breath again. Perhaps that's why Hans Christian Andersen once said, "Where words fail, music speaks." That statement is incredibly true. What is it about music that can change a whole environment? How can it draw a tear or pump you up?

Perhaps my true confession about music is that I simply don't get it. I don't know how it changes things or motivates me or connects with my soul. I don't know what the rhythm is or what key we're in. But perhaps I don't need to get it. Maybe instead I should just let it speak for my heart. Even if it's off key. 

Jonathan Vallier