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There are all kinds of amazing saxophonists out there. Some of them are downright technical marvels. Some of these guys make me sit in awe, listening to them play and getting giddy over their technical prowess and salivating at the prospect of being able to play runs like that. 

Different performers draw on different aspects of what their audiences enjoy as they listen. 

Let me give a few examples. First, I will draw attention to a couple "secular" musicians to set the stage. I just want to bring some different aspects of performance into the discussion to get to where I want to eventually go.

There is "technical playing."

There are players who give performances where their technique moves you.

Kenny G is a prime example of a guy who has extraordinary technique. He is the sax player that seems to be the sax player that every other saxophonist either loves or loves to hate. But there is no denying that he is a wizard of technicality on that soprano sax of his. For instance, listen to this recording of songbird from about 40 years ago. I set the video to start playing around the 2 minute, 30 second mark. This is where the "magic" starts to happen.

Like I said, either love him or love to hate him, but there is no denying that those are not just randomly placed junk notes without some precision. If you play that slowed down to half speed or more, you'll notice a technical excellence that betrays any assumption that he is playing random garbage.

Also, read....
In All Your Getting, Get The Anointing

Then, there is "emotionally moving" playing.

There are players with less constant reliance on rapid technique but who nonetheless evoke emotion.

Warren Hill is an example that comes to mind of a guy who draws an emotional response in many people as he plays. His technique is good (like Kenny G) but he doesn't "overdo it" like many people think Kenny does.

Listen to this recording if you've never heard this guy play before. See if this song doesn't tug on your heartstrings.

I'm working my way up to where I want to go with you; but listen to this tune and feel what he emotes in you as you listen.

I'm not saying Kenny G doesn't evoke emotion. He does. His arrangements are stunning and he has excellent sound, intonation and technique. And he moves you. But I do find a distinction here with Warren Hill in that his technique seems to augment the "emotional message" of the song.

It isn't technique for technique's sake. It is technique that augments the melody line out of what feels to me like a much more "emotional" engagement with the melody line.

And then, there is "spiritual" playing.

Ok. I will grant you, for the sake of discussion, that this music is Christian music, so the melodies are in a bit of a different realm.

The thing is, though, if you learn to be sensitive to it, you'll become aware that the way you connect with your audience is more than a musical performance travelling through the air and entering the ear of the listener.

Also, read....
Why I Don't Like Open Mic Nights

We are spiritual beings. And we interact "spirit to spirit" much more often than we are aware.

I realize not everyone is going to agree with that. And that's ok. But hopefully, as you proceed here, I might be able to convince you of this reality. 

Let me set you up here with a link to a video that I think every wind instrument player needs to experience. 

This guy is probably not the most technical player out there. In fact, if you're any kind of a good technician on your horn, you'll pretty quickly detect mistakes in this recording. But (for me, anyway) the mistakes don't even matter.

Just give this a listen. See the setting, watch the audience, watch the performer (as he worships on his saxophone).

The gentleman playing is Alexandre Malaquais, playing with a vocalist named Paulo César Baruk, in Portuguese.  Here are the lyrics, with the "google" translation.

Dependo de Ti

Paulo César Baruk

Louvar-te é bem mais do que eu mereço,
Adorar-te mais profundo do que eu pensei,
Servir-te é tudo o que eu espero
O que mais quero é estar mais junto a ti.

Derramar perante Ti os meus anseios
Minha oferta nessa hora é a verdade,
E te mostrar os meus pequenos sonhos,
Oh Senhor, como eu dependo de ti...

Also, read....
Humility - A Key To Being A Better Worshipper

Louvar-te é bem mais do que eu mereço,
Adorar-te mais profundo do que eu pensei,
Servir-te é tudo o que eu espero
O que mais quero é estar mais junto a ti.

Derramar perante Ti os meus anseios
Minha oferta nessa hora é esta música pai,
E te mostrar os meus maiores sonhos,
Oh Senhor, como eu dependo de ti...

Para me curar,
Para me ensinar
O caminho em que devo seguir.
Podes me usar Senhor,
Como Tu bem queres...
Abro o meu coração

Dependo de Ti

Paulo César Baruk

Praising you is much more than I deserve,
Worship you deeper than I thought,
Serving you is all I hope for
What I want most is to be closer to you.


Pour my desires before You
My offer at this time is the truth,
And show you my little dreams,
Oh Lord, how I depend on you ...

Praising you is much more than I deserve, 
Worship you deeper than I thought,
Serving you is all I hope for
What I want most is to be closer to you.


Pour my desires before You 
My offer at this time is this dad song,
And show you my biggest dreams,
Oh Lord, how I depend on you ...


To heal me,
To teach me
The path I must follow.
You can use me Lord,
As you well wish ...
Como Tu bem queres... 

I open my heart

Also, read....
Making Room For A Wind Instrumentalist On A Worship Team

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Paulo Cesar Baruk

There is something happens when we invite The Lord to show up. He does.

Obviously, when we are playing music designed by its creator to be used as a tool for worship, there is an advantage for it to be a vehicle to usher us into the presence of The Lord.

And there are all kinds of things at play here. As you watch the video, and if you relate emotionally to others (if you have a reasonable sense of empathy) you're going to tune in to the emotion of the people in the audience.

But....

Don't underestimate the presence of The Lord that your heart toward Him draws into the situation as you enter into the experience of the video.

Is the Lord always present with us? Yes. Of course He is. As the psalmist said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit?" (Psalm 139:7-12) But it's hard to deny the reality that we are more aware of His presence sometimes than others.

And as we focus our attention on Him, part of what happens is that we train our "spiritual senses" to be more aware of that presence; and in doing so, He manifests more to us.

Also, read....
In All Your Getting, Get The Anointing

Consider the power of "presence-centered" playing of your instrument.

Have you ever made a conscious effort, as you play, to focus on the reality that The Lord is with you?

Follow with me here. Even as you are doing technical exercises, working on scales and practicing for technical excellence, have you ever considered focusing on an awareness of the presence of the Lord?

Think about this. You are a spiritual being inside a physical body. God wants to commune with you, to be ever-present to you, to enjoy spending time with you.

And He has given you a gift. He has given you a gift of a musical ability. He loves it when you play for him. But have you ever realized that if it's important to you, it's important to God, too? Do you realize that when you want to strive for technical excellence as you play, that God is pleased if you're striving for that technical excellence for the right reasons?

Do you realize that His desire is for you to perfect your technique on your instrument because as you do, you will become more connected to it, you'll become better equipped to play what is inside you on that instrument as you breathe through it?

Do you know God is pleased with your heart when you want to play scales and arpeggios well - for Him?


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