One day an e-mail appeared in my mailbox with a link to this page "My Thoughts on Music" by Jeffrey Kastner. His words gave me a totally renewed appreciation for music :-) I also remember thinking, this guy is "in love with God." But after reading his website, I would have to say he is also "in love with life." Jeff graciously granted me permission to share his thoughts here. He is currently residing in Springfield, Mo. To read more about Jeff, visit his personal website.
By Jeffrey Kastner
By Jeffrey Kastner
Music...There is truly nothing else like it in this world. It is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Growing up, I was very poor and I remember how I always felt so blessed that God gave us music...that it was this beautiful gift that was completely free. My family sometimes went without electricity or water and I remember thinking that it was no big deal because I still had my music...and it couldn't be taken away from me. I remember climbing to the top of my treehouse as a boy and turning on my radio and just listening for hours...doing nothing but lying on my back and staring at the stars. I remember that Triumph sang the first song that really touched me. I would listen to the words over and over again. "I'm young, I'm wild and I'm free....got the magic power of the music in me...."
The Bible teaches that the soul is always wanting to be released from the body. I believe that music is as close as the soul can come to being set free without the body actually dying. That may seem like a strange statement but there is something so unexplainable that happens inside when you sing or play a phrase or song and you put your whole heart into it and block everything else out. It's the most spiritual feeling I have ever felt and I feel like God is standing right by me when it happens. It's a complete release. Sometimes I'll write a lyric and sing it for the first time and I'll get chills when I sing it....or I'll even tear up if it's personal and emotional to me. I've never been able to publicly perform with this feeling and that's somewhat tragic. Unfortunately, that's true of most people. This is why we are awed by people who have this gift. I went and seen Russ Taff sing earlier this year (2000), and as he was singing, he began weeping and crying out to God. I stood in awe and marveled at his ability to pour his emotion out into his song. Sometimes, I'll go see a singer that I've never heard of...not at all knowing what to expect...and I'm humbled and numbed by the power of the music and the passion of the singer. This is actually a rarity...as most people just sing and do an adequate job...but a special few singers can move me beyond words.
I believe that everyone has a song in their heart. Some people just refuse to listen. Others acknowledge it but they don't allow themselves to feel it's power. They feel like it makes them weak when it actually makes a person stronger. What can possibly be bad about any feeling created by a song that moves a person to tears...or laughter...or joy? Life is too short to be so cautious. My favorite basketball coach of all times, Jimmy Valvano was stricken with cancer and before his death, he gave several speeches about what he felt were the most important things in life. He said, "a good day is when you have laughed, cried and loved." This being true, one good song can make for a great day.
As for my own musical talent, I am thankful. I may never get the chance to stand on a stage and sing to hundreds or thousands but I have been able to sing to many audiences. I'm thankful that I can sit and play guitar/piano and sing to myself and to God. I still have hopes and dreams of recording my own cd and/or being part of something much bigger than anything I could ever do on my own. Longfellow once wrote, "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done." All musicians have felt this way. We know that at any time, we are capable of producing that one song that we have wanted to create our entire lives. Part of me wants to "make it" to show those people who never believed in me...who only see my for what I've already done and believe that this is as far as I will ever go. Maybe it's wrong to feel this way, but I do. I know the truth. I know what I'm capable of.
So these are my thoughts on music tonight. Ask me tomorrow and I'm sure I would come up with something completely different.
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk rejection.
To place your dreams before the crowd is to risk ridicule.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to risk ridicule.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow.
Chained by his certitudes, he's a slave.
He has forfeited his freedom.
Only a person who takes risks is free.
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