Expression matters more than form in music, faithMenahem Pressler, 89, renowned pianist and professor of music at Indiana University, was recently asked what a man of his advanced age had to offer budding, young students under his tutelage.
Menahem Pressler, 89, renowned pianist and professor of music at Indiana University, was recently asked what a man of his advanced age had to offer budding, young students under his tutelage.
He replied he presses upon them their playing is a gift to their audience.
The gift is the ability to make the composer’s intentions come alive in their playing so the listener can experience what the composer wanted to share.
In the highly competitive world of classical music, it is significant that Pressler challenges his students this way. Undoubtedly, his pupils are concerned with the mechanics of style and technique. Yet, this seer emphasizes the importance of expression over method.
The same question can be asked of Christians today. What do we have to offer the younger generation that look to us for understanding? Our first attempt might be to stress the “mechanics” of the faith, such as what to do and not to do. Yet as important as obedience is, the greater desire of God is to have the reflection of His nature expressed from within His followers. It is not simply whether someone knows how to act morally, but whether they know the person of God from within.
We have the gift of God’s essence to share with our youth. Are they seeing the person of Jesus Christ expressed in our actions, or do they see a following of rules and ritual that rob them of a personal encounter with God? What are you offering?