Friday, February 1, 2013

Does playing metal mean I'm losing my religion?

I've recently purchased an electric violin.  It's something I never thought I'd play, but I borrowed one over Christmas break, and the sounds that came through my amplifier made me feel like I was playing an electric guitar!  It has catapulted me into wanting to hear and play the craziest guitar-driven songs, primarily. . . metal.

I wasn't allowed to listen to pop music growing up, let alone metal!  My days were filled with Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, as well as some Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Debussy.  I was trained classically on the piano and violin, and with all of the practicing required of me, I didn't have a chance to explore any other types of music unless I stealthily changed the channel on my radio while I was studying late at night.  That's when I was introduced to bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure, New Order, and also Chicago,  Cheap Trick, U2, and of course, George Michael.  "Got to have faith. . . yeah, yeah. . . got to have faith, faith, faith!"

Interesting point George.  I do have faith in God and a personal relationship with Jesus, but now that I am listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Baroness, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Guns 'n Roses, etc., does that mean I've lost the faith?  Can I listen to some of their dark lyrics yet still call myself a Christian?

Here's my answer: Yes.

Why?  Well first, I'm actually not listening to any lyrics, so I'm not looking to change my life philosophy.  I'm only interested in the music, and can I say, these metal guitarists are mad talented!!  It's not easy to play their riffs, and they have created some very innovative melodies that when stripped from high-octane lyrics and performance antics, are incredibly beautiful and technically challenging.  Dare I say that some riffs are practically on par with Paganini and Mendelssohn as far as level of difficulty?

I'm also finding that when I take the skeleton of the song and put flesh on it with the electric violin, it becomes a completely different animal.  Is there a name for it?  Violinist David Garrett calls it "Rock Symphony," pianist Scott Davis refers to it as "Rockfluence," my name for it is. . . "Metalin."  I never dreamed I'd listen to metal and then want to play it on the violin, but it is my newest hobby and has completely taken over the hours of 10:30pm-1:00am almost every night.  I just plug in my headset on the electric violin, and my family doesn't have to be bothered while they sleep and I practice!

But the other thing about my faith is this: I believe that God loves me, and because He loves me, He takes joy in my joy.  Just as I take great delight in my children's delight of something I've given them, I believe He delights in my love of music.  He's the Creator of music, and when I play, I play for Him, regardless of what genre the song comes from.  Colossians 3:17a says, "And whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord."  That means that everything counts; everything I do can be an opportunity to give God glory, whether it's washing the dishes, making a meal, teaching lessons, or practicing metal on the electric violin!  God desires to be at the center of everything I'm doing, and when I give Him the best in every aspect of my life, it's all about Him and not about me.

So no, I don't think playing metal means that I'm losing my religion.  In fact, I lost my "religion" a long time ago- I don't like that word anyway!  Playing "metalin" allows me to spend time enjoying the gift of music that God created, and there's nothing I love more than being in His presence, playing for Him.