Jamaica Music Camp Day 3 was great! The highlight was that I got to lead evening worship as just a vocalist and not a bass player, which was fun. We have worship sets in the morning and evening each day and in the morning we have a devotion while in the evening a local pastor comes and gives the message. Tonight’s message was about God searching for men and women to stand in the gap for him. My bass students are progressing quickly and we have divided the students into four bands. Over the next couple of days, we will have a battle of the bands and declare a winner on Saturday.
One of the things that our team is trying to drill into our new musicians is that when they play as a band there has to be give and take between the members. If every instrument plays as long as it can for the entire song (which is the natural tendency for new musicians), the result is a loud mess that no one wants to listen to. We are teaching them that every instrument will not play every note of every song. The bass, for example, might not play in the first verse but might come in on the chorus. It is these arrangement decisions that make the song interesting from beginning to end.
For my bass students, I am trying very hard to teach them that the bass has an important job of laying the rhythmic and melodic foundation for the song, and that too many riffs or ornaments thrown in only detract from that important task. The beginners are fine with that, because they are struggling just to play the root notes as it is. But I have some more advanced students that want to show off and play a lot of extra notes. We have talked about some spiritual principles that apply to playing the bass and one of them is humility. Every band member must be humble enough to set aside their own glory at times to make the overall band sound better.
Today, I also spoke to them a little about how that idea translates into life as well. If God has given me the gifts of a singer, but I want to preach instead, and I spend a lot of time preaching that I could have spent singing, I will not fulfill my potential for God. God has gifted us for certain roles and we should strive to do those things with excellence instead of selfishly reaching for more visible roles or the roles that we think we would like better. As Paul said, “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?”
A couple of comments before I wrap up. First, I noticed yesterday that comments are turned off on these posts. I don’t know why that is, but my wifi connection is not good enough to try and fix it now. I will see what I can do when I return to the States. Second, I write these blog posts on the 45 minute bus ride from the camp to where we are staying when I am exhausted which means they are not my most coherent thoughts and you don’t get them in your email until a day later. I apologize for both of those drawbacks, but you can always go to the blog directly to get more recent posts. Please continue praying for our team. We have certainly felt God’s hand of protection surrounding us on this trip.