In designing the world, God created many things. He created the earth, the moon, the heavens and us. Our main purpose for being on this planet was to fellowship with God. God created us in His own image, as is stated in Genesis 1:26. We are His workmanship, designed by Him that in all we did we would honor, glorify and praise Him. My personal philosophy statement must be based on three things: the reason for music, the components of good music, and how music functions in my life.
We see the reason for music in Psalm 92. The psalmist calls for all the instruments to play music to the Lord. He says in verse four, “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work: I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.” Our proper response to the Lord is music. It should be what we desire, what we want to do. This is also shown in Psalm 19:1. The psalmist declares that everything, not just people, praises the Lord. It is part of our duty to praise Him, not only because He created us, but because He is God.
In Psalm 40:1-3, we see the psalmist declaring that because of what the Lord has done in his life, there is a “new song” in his mouth. Our proper reaction to the transformation that was wrought in our lives when we came to Christ is to put off what was with us in our “dead” life. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) We are to forsake all worldly things, looking only to those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. (Philippians 4:8)
The components of good music are clearly given by God. Music must be focused on Him. It must be to Him, for Him, and glorifying Him. If it fails to glorify Him it should not be performed. He also demonstrates how his creation glorifies Him through the very nature around us. It has perfect symmetry, balance, and beauty. Music must also have these categories. The lyrics, melody, harmony and rhythm must conform to the standards that have proved the test of time to be elements of good music.
In the days of old, most hymns and music sung in the churches were Biblical in text. Lyrics should follow this example, being doctrinally correct. It is, after all, our command in Colossians 3:16 to teach and admonish one another through music. The melody is also a key to determining good music. Melody is what is most remembered from the song itself. When was the last time you heard someone walking down the street whistling the harmony to a song? Harmony must complement the melody well, not overriding it. Rhythm should not be stressed over the melody, but must have its place.
Music must function in my life because and by the means mentioned above. Whether I am singing a song for a church, teaching music in a Christian School, or singing in my heart, I must make sure that what I sing is honoring God. I must research the lyrics of a piece, questioning their accuracy with the Scripture. I must listen to the music to determine its effect on my life, for all music has effect, be it conviction or physical reaction. The most important aspect of anything I perform is to determine if the music is pleasing to God, whether it be sacred or secular. I must constantly think, “If God were right here and He was the only person to which I were singing (which in some sense He is), what would He think of my offering?”
My music is determined by why I am singing and what composes good music. Although there may be “gray-areas” between what I consider music that is glorifying God and what you consider good music, we must ultimately remember that it is not necessarily what either of us that matters, it is what God thinks that counts.