- By Admin
- Posted on December 3, 2014
- In Featured, Organs
- With 0 Comments
When one mentions the word discipline, many different ideas come to mind, from raising children to athletic training. Those in the arts immediately think of the hours of training, practice, memorization, etc. that must precede a successful recitation or creative presentation.
While these ideas impart some of the nature of discipline, the thoughts of rigor tend to overshadow the spiritual commitment necessary for motivation. Discipline stems from the very word that the writers of the Gospels and the Book of the Acts used to refer to the “followers” of Jesus Christ.
Since I enjoy a bit of etymology, I am fascinated by the discovery of the roots and root meanings of words and treasure the richness they bring to understanding language and life.
The English ‘disciple’ has origins in the Greek, mathētēs (μαθητης) and the Latin, discipulus, both which carry the idea of a student, learner, apprentice or even protégé. It is curious and illuminating that the Middle English usage appears to convey more of our current sentiment regarding discipline, i.e., ‘mortification by scourging oneself.’ This is understandable for those who have undertaken the near asceticism of intensive study of the piano and organ!
For such study, motivation is the key factor and that, at its core, must be a passionate love of the art and practice. Fame, fortune, success and other motivators may propel one for a while, but cannot displace love as the necessity. This truth is evident in the teaching of Jesus when he says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If you are familiar with Jesus’ commandments, it is impossible to consider obedience without a deep, abiding and growing love of Jesus.
I have found this in teaching organ many times. It is possible to train a good student to become a fine organ player, but it is not possible to implant in the student’s heart the love of music and the instrument that produces the unquenchable thirst to excel.
Similarly, Jesus’ parable of the rich, young ruler speaks to another side of loving that teachers struggle with – the gifted student who loves (or wants to love) but refuses the discipline. In the parable, the rich, young noble asks, “What must I do…?” When Jesus responds, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor and follow me,” the young ruler’s response is that of many of our talented students: they shrink back, pout and walk away saddened. Though their riches might be great, their love is just shy of discipleship and discipline.
Wherever you are in your musical life, your spiritual life or relationships, discipline is one of the indicators of the depth of your love and commitment. Also, discipline, like love, can be cultivated and can grow. With whatever you love, if you haven’t already begun, start practicing discipline today – it’s never too late to start!
Finally, I Corinthians 13, the chapter all who play weddings know quite well, states, “If I possess [everything] and have not love, I am a resounding gong.” When you have love, you will have something valuable to say and people will listen.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability. – Roy L. Smith