Make Your Own Music
The psalmist David loved music. Maybe he played the drum or blew on a horn. Or maybe he sang in a sweet tenor voice. The Bible doesn’t tell us. But the Bible tells us clearly that David played a harp.
David learned to express his deepest feelings in music. Have you ever tried to do that? Here are some tips that might get you started writing your own songs of praise.
1. Start with the words. Choose a verse from the Bible with a few short or uncomplicated phrases full of praise or thanksgiving.
2. Select the 3-4 words that you like the best, that have the most to say. Repeat those words to yourself over and over. Emphasize the important words. If a tune comes to you, use that tune for the words.
3. Softly play a few notes on the piano or guitar to anchor your new song in a certain key, usually the Key of C, with no sharps or flats. Repeat those notes and then say the words until they start to blend. End your words with the C key or a C chord.
4. To make things easier, your song should have four beats (1-2-3-4). You might want to “sing” the numbers 1-2-3-4 to get started. Then substitute your words for the numbers.
5. Lengthen some of your notes if you need to, or combine notes that you’ll sing rapidly. Just be sure to stay with the words in the Bibleor their equivalent. Repeat words and phrases for more meaning.
6. And be sure your “stanza” ends with a C key or a C chord.
7. Finally, write out your song, indicate the notes, and you’re finished!
Most people look at me with horrified expressions when I give them these instructions. I have to demonstrate several times until they catch on that they can do it, too. And they can!
I’m not sure how David invented his tunes and hymns, but I’m pretty sure they came from his long conversations with Jesus. The tunes and rhythms familiar to David blended with thoughts in his mind and the Scriptures he had read, and resulted in beautiful psalms that were sung for hundreds of years.
Discussion Questions for Lesson 6: Worship and Song and Praise.
1. Leading Thought. Do you like singing a “new” song? Have you ever tried to teach a roomful of wiggly kids five or six or seven years old a new song? Given the choice of a song to sing, will their first choice be for a familiar song or a brand new one? Isn’t it good to sing the familiar songs over and over? Why does the premiere musician of all the Bible write a piece of Scripture that suggests we “sing to the Lord a new song? Have you ever attended a church service with no music whatsoever? Does the Bible join the concepts of music with those of worship? How?
2. By popular demand. If the second king of Israel had been chosen by ballot, would David have won the election? Do you think God sometimes attempted to please His family by giving them what they wanted even though He knew it wouldn’t be good for them? What are some examples? Crunch the dates and imagine an election between David and Saul to the throne of Israel. Who would win? Did David possess the personal characteristics of an ideal king? Is being without sin one of the primary requirements of a leader for God? Why or why not?
3. Healing a broken heart. As modern day Christians, where do we go first when we run into serious trouble? How does God help us heal from the wounds and afflictions of human life? Have you ever felt close to God and then caught yourself saying harsh words? Where did God go? Is it possible for a Christian to feel too unworthy? How might the story of King David help you or someone else who believes he or she has sinned and disgraced God? How do you reconcile the command of Jesus for us to be perfect, and the fact that He overlooks our sins and failures? Or does He?
4. Music the gift of heaven. Do you like music? Are you particular about the types of music you listen to, sing, or play? Have you ever been drawn to Jesus by the power of the words in a simple Christian hymn or chorus? Do you feel the presence of music in your body when you are enjoying a presentation? Is that bad or good? Why? Do you think the Children of Israel sang as they walked through the desert?
5. A song of praise and worship. David wrote a masterful song of praise for presentation on the day the holy ark was moved to Jerusalem. Your lesson author points out the action words in the text of this song. Who created the first church choir on earth? Would you like to hear the 4,000 singers from the tribe of Levi who were selected to sing as the choirs of Israel? What about the 120 priests blowing trumpets? And what about wars that were fought with the appointed choirs in the lead? Would you say that music was important then? Should it be as important today?
6. Heavenly singing. Imagine the magnificence of the choral music to honor the creation of this world. Do you think we’ll be able to hear those hymns of praise through eternity? Will our lives be enriched by musical festivals and grand choral events in heaven and the New Earth? Have you ever heard that Satan (before he sinned) was a leading choral angel in heaven who could sing several parts at the same time? Do you ever long for a clear, beautiful singing voice? Will we all sing in heaven? Or will some of us just be caught up in listening? What about here on earth?
7. Sing a New Song. Do people in the church you attend ever complain about the quality of music? Does church music at your place of worship veer too far to the old and boring or too far to the new and titillating? What standards for worship music do you set in your family? How do you feel when someone performing for church misses some of the notes? If the goal of church music is to draw us closer to Jesus, who should decide if the music presented meets that standard?
Sing a new song to the Lord this Sabbath!