I am actually grateful that I did not come from a musical family. My exposure to music was limited to the role of the superficial radio consumer. I never play an instrument seriously (but a little guitar). I never sang in any choir . . . not even at church or in high school. I did do a solo performance once at a college retreat . . . but that was truly an anomaly.
Now the reason I make such a statement isn't because I don't like music, but because I do. But I the fortunate position of coming to music as a novice, like a babe to milk.
I remember when I was required to take music appreciation to fulfill my undergrad requirements. The class was considered as boring and an easy "A." I chose the 8 AM class, where I thought I could sleep in the large music hall with its soft theater seats. But the professor took us on a philharmonic journey trough places and times. We sat and listen to the high fidelity recordings on the giant speakers in the acoustically correct auditorium. I became consumed with it. As an Appalachian hillbilly, I had never been exposed to opera, save the Grand Ole one. I had never listened to jazz, show tunes nor classical. But the classical possessed my soul like an intrusive spirit.
I briefly started to collect classical LPs until, unfortunately, a fellow Christian told me how bad "non-Christan music" was for me. You know,the heathen's like Bach, Pachelbel, Chopin and of course Handel. So I turned my back on music . . . in exchange for Larry Newman and music from the Maranatha label.
Then there was yesterday. I took my lunch hour, drove down the hill from our little hospital and parked at the marina. In front of my little jeep were a fleet of fishing vessels mixed in with yachts with beautiful lines and shapes. Denise spotted me and pulled up beside me. I jumped into her car. She had a CD of Handel's Messiah playing. I put back my seat, turned up the volume and looked out over the blue water with the snow capped back drop. It was extremely powerful.
The most powerful thing about the Messiah, wasn't necessarily the glorious words, but the complex interactions of he violin strings, the French horns, cello, oboe and harpsichord. What I'm talking about is what was expressed by Beethoven when he said he had to write out the music of the Handel's work for himself so he could get the "feeling of its intricacies and to unravel its complexities." There is something deep within music like that that resonates with something deep within your soul. It is in the same thought that Pythagoras had when he said, "There is geometry in the humming of the strings, music in the spacing of the spheres." From that point, he drew the conclusion that we were not of only material things . . . but of that which supersedes creation. Plato followed his thought and developed it further.
So, what I'm trying to say, is that I consider myself most fortunate to come to music as an outsider. I believe (and many would argue this point) that a castaway rescued from a decade-long imprisonment on a deserted island would have a greater appreciation of fine food than a famous chief, who is in his kitchen every day. I am that castaway.
Once again I must draw from something that Francis Schaeffer has said. He once visited an art museum in Amsterdam (I believe). It was an exhibit of some sort of contemporary (1970s) irrational art. It spoke loudly to a belief that all was chaos and that life had no real meaning. He said by the time he got out and by the time anyone would get out, their faith in a creator would be shaken to some degree.
When I hear the complexities of fine music, resonating in my soul . . . I know that there is something there. There is a piece of a personal universe which can not be explained by time, impersonal mechanics or simple electrons down an axon. That's why listening to fine music, even without words, brings me closer to God.