Why A Life Of Music

by Robert Cunningham

Trees give birth to fruit, goats give milk, bees secrete honey and the clouds provide us with water to quench our thirst; what right does the musically gifted have to deprive humanity of a serenade?

I feel that those who are aware of their possession of inherent musical ability have a natural germ which should be fertilized and nurtured so to realize fruition. We owe nature this much for being blessed with so gracious a gift. Nature does not endow all individuals with the proficiency to create or perform fine music.

There are those who have physical handicaps which prohibit them from drawing a bow smoothly across the strings or to play a drum or piano with an even touch. There are those whose hearing is so insensitive that they find it difficult to hear the delicate variations of tone essential to the tuneful playing of a string or wind instrument. There are others who cannot hear the low sonorities of instruments such as the string bass, and therefore they would find it almost impossible to master their intricacies. Today’s world of music calls for a superb mental tool, a mind which is alert, able to ingest, absorb, retain, recall, synthesize, dissect, evaluate, formulate, regulate, and convey an intelligible execution to the listener. The developing musician has a great need to be the tic and aggressively progressive, doing all that is within his power to continuously improve the state of his physical, mental and spiritual health and strength.

For the creative musician imagination is a gift of the greatest magnitude. For the painter or sculptor it is the visions which come to the mind’s eye; for the musician it is the sounds that are rhapsodized by the inner ear. Imagination is the plane where mind meets spirit and man is inspired to original creativity. Imagination is the plane upon which old themes are churned and dispensed as new inventions. Imagination is the link between here and there, the known and the unknown, the metaphysical and the physical. The imagination may be fed by the cosmic forces from within and we may also feed it from without by perceiving various constructs of the finite world, which in turn may be used to form new works of art. For the creative musician imagination is a meaningless gift unless it is linked with action which persists until that which is used becomes manifest as a work of art.

“Give a little take a little,” is an adage of the old and such is the spiritual relationship of music to the performer. The performance of music with others gives an individual an opportunity to develop habits which lend themselves to spirituality, Le., ritual, self-discipline, sacrifice, selflessness, and empathy. The vitality of the music produced by a performer is dependent upon his level of spiritual development. Spirit, the highest aspect of man’s being, is an extension of nature’s divine energy which permeates the universe. As a musician becomes more and more aware of his need for nature’s divine energies, the more intense becomes his love, respect, reverence, and homage for that source of vital energy.

Religion is said to be a way of life. For me, music is a way of life. My religion is music. This is not my design but providence has destined it. Following my intuition has allowed me to take no other oath than that of music, the production of organized sounds. Through music I have gained a greater feeling of empathy with, and realization of, my creator. For those of us who may prosper from the revelations of the Bible I present the150th chapter of Psalms:

Praise ye the Lord.

Praise God in his Sanctuary: Praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts: Praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: Praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Praise him with the timbrel and dance: Praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Praise him with the timbrel and dance: Praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

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