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New Year's Resolution: Keeping The Music of Life Renewed and in Tune

10:40 December 26, 2017
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

Music has been so integral to my life and faith walk. Like a few years ago when I was in the St. Jude Choir and our Leader, Nicholas Abraham, Ph.D. had noted, even Scripture validates this for those of us who used to think we could never sing or play music: “Make a joyful NOISE (Not Sound) unto the Lord! (Psalm 100: 1)

Now that I am in the 8 AM Men's Choir at St. Francis Xavier, it is so great for this non-traditional member to be able to join the other choir members - whom certainly have trouble keeping me in rhythm as we sing and sway with the songs ... the other tenors do their best to keep me in line!

And while I once did actually learn how to read and play music on guitar, I prefer to “play by ear.” And it is fun to improvise with others, like in blues, folk, and jazz songs, to simply see where the “spirit of the music” takes you – usually to where you need to go at the time.

An instrument doesn't sound good if it is not in tune, and I learned how to do this back in my teens for my guitar mainly by using a tuning fork – which is looked at as a dinosaur these days, but it did discipline me to be more attentive on many levels besides music.

I admit that I have gotten spoiled lately with a built-in battery tuner that is a part of my recently purchased 12 String Fender Guitar.

I had always dreamed of getting a 12 String Guitar after around 30 years of using a 6 String Epiphone Guitar at Church Worship, sing-a-longs with the elderly and at Open Mike gatherings.

Back in the late 1970s, when I was doing music ministry at Loyola University in New Orleans, I used to marvel at Susan, who could play a 12 String Guitar with her long fingernails! She just developed her callouses further down than me on the string holding fingers; she actually had great “picking fingers” on the other hand.

So when I got my own 12 String Guitar not long ago, it was so nice to hear the harmonic effect of the octave-ranged strings!

As we all prepare for the New Year with our sometimes lofty goals and resolutions - after things may have gotten kind of get hectic and we lost perspectives on our lives and our meaning, I have found a useful term that applies to more than just music, and I have used it professionally in my private practice counseling: “Tune In, Tone Down.”

Like doing an improvised playing of music with others, we need to listen to God and others more keenly, so as to join in “more acoustically and in the right timing” with things.

Still, we may, at times, get the “New Year's Blues,”

But singing them can surely help to lighten them too!

So may we “tune in, tone down,” that's what I'll do!

To cope and live each day, and help me and my faith renew!

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