Greg Boardman – On Music

I am coming to understand life’s journey to be the ongoing bridging of certain alienations we seem born into: alienation from God, from Nature, from Others, and from ourselves. I see Music, which is my principal door of perception and engagement in this world, as a gift from God to assist me and others in his redemptive work.

In Romans, Paul declares of God: “ Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” Just as the power of God raised Jesus from the dead and through him calls all his creation unto himself, God with the same power inhabits sound, and the sounds we make with our voices and instruments create a physical, aural and spiritual habitat in which we meet God, and share an intimacy that has the capacity to grow in time. In our worship, whether alone or with others, alienation becomes communion, we dwell in the house of the Lord, and music aids this process as it bypasses our emotional and intellectual defenses.

In music, especially with voices and acoustic instruments performing without the aid of electronics, whether out of doors or in a room of any size, I enjoy a renewing connection with the natural world.

Melodies and harmonies bring musicians and an audience together, expressing and understanding community on a progressively deeper level—and when dancing is involved, whether the whole body is moving or just gently rocking in our seats, well, it doesn’t get better than that. Music shrinks the distance between us and our neighbor.

As a musician, the sounds I make and listen to are a direct reflection of my mysterious heart. I love Nathaniel Hawthorne’s words in House of Seven Gables:

“What an instrument is the human voice! How wonderfully responsive to every emotion of the human soul! In Hepzibah’s tone, at that moment, there was a certain rich depth and moisture, as if the words, commonplace as they were, had been steeped in the warmth of her heart.”ardman

In these tones of the voice or of an instrument manipulated by our bodies we find the contents of our innermost being, whether we can decipher them or not, and we come to know ourselves better in a very real way.

– Greg Boardman