Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Refiner's Fire

Cymbals are probably one of the coolest parts about drumming. They add a large variety of sound and feel to music. From the ring of a small bell, to roar of a gong, there is almost an endless variety of cymbals to choose from. I personally like the sound of a thin 14" Sabian B8 Pro crash cymbal, but that doesn't really matter to much. What I really want to focus on is how a cymbal is made.
For those of you who don't know, a completed cymbal ,when being used, goes through a rigorous beating as a drummer is constantly hitting the cymbal. It is always vibrating and producing sound, and its a wonder that it doesn't crack instantly. It is very important that a cymbal be made correctly so that it can serve its purpose successfully without breaking.
When a cymbal is made it starts by mixing different metals together, such as copper and brass, to help give it the desired tone. Once that mixture is completed the newly formed metal compound goes through a process of rapid heating and cooling. It is heated to a certain temperature and then quickly dropped into a vat of water that is set at a certain temperature to cool the metal rapidly. This process is called tempering.
Before the metal is tempered it is very brittle and breaks very easily, and if you were strong enough you could easily snap it in half with your bare hands. On the flip side, though, after the metal has been tempered it is very hard and it won't break. Thus drummers are able to use cymbals for years and years at a time without them breaking.
I find a striking similarity between the tempering process and our lives here on earth. As we go about our lives and make choices we are constantly enduring the consequences of those choices, and as a result we learn and grow from those experiences. We are constantly buffeted by trials and temptations, and while at times we yield to temptations or allow our trials to weigh us down we can always recover and pick ourselves back up again through the atonement of Jesus Christ. As a result of this process we learn and grow from our mistakes. Because of this we are less likely to yield to temptation, and can more easily conquer satan.
There is a constant tempering process in our lives, and as we endure our trials we will be able to return to live with our loving Heavenly Father. As we constantly apply the cooling water of the atonement after the intense heat of tribulation we will slowly but surely become stronger individuals, and well tempered sons and daughters of a proud and loving Heavenly Father.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Role Models

Who do you aspire to be like?

Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan

When it came to drumming I always wanted to be like Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan. He was the drummer for Avenged Sevenfold until he passed away around Christmas in 2009. He was a child prodigy when it came to music and he could not only play the drums like an expert, but also the guitar, keyboard, and he was even a good singer. Lots of people find his music strange or different, but in my opinion that is one of the reasons he was so great at what he did. He wasn't scared to do something different than the norm, and he loved pushing his musical abilities to the limit.
Not only was he a good musician, but also a good leader. He had a way of building up all those around them so that they wanted to do their best. He was a major driving force for every band he was ever in, and all those who worked around him said he was the most kind hearted and loving individual they knew.

Captain Moroni

Jimmy reminds me of someone we read about in the Book of Mormon. Captain Moroni was also a master at what he did. He was a leader and a man who inspired many to be better, and even though he led the armies of the Nephites and was a master strategist he did not delight in warfare of any sort. All he wanted was peace. He was also like Jimmy in the fact that he did things that no one before him had done. He fortified many of the Nephite cities in a way that had never been done before, and it made them nearly impenetrable.

Jesus Christ

Helaman speaks very highly of Moroni, and in the book of Alma he says, "Yeah, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma 48:17) I think as we strive to do our best in this life we would be wise to model ourselves after people like Moroni. The best example, though, came from Jesus Christ himself. If we strive to live like him, follow his example, and keep his commandments; it is promised that the Lord will "...bless [us] and prosper [us]," (Mosiah 2:22) and we "...shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20)  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Endure To The End

You know how when you go to a concert there is usually one band that you really want to see and you could usually care less about the other acts. That is how I felt before coming out on my mission when my brother and I went to see the band Three Days Grace perform in Nashville. When the show started the band Three Doors Down played an acoustic set, and it was amazing! Everyone was pumped and I couldn't wait to hear the next band play! I didn't know what to expect when I saw the next band come out and get ready to start playing. They were an unknown band to me and when they started to play I decided I would probably never want to get to know them, as was the same with the next band that played. They played only mediocre shows, and I wasn't all that impressed with them. If they hadn't been included in the lineup for the show it would not have made a difference to me. After they played a band called Halestorm played and after them was the band Apocalyptica. I was thoroughly impressed with their performances and I was now excited to hear Three Days Grace play! They did amazing, and I will never forget their performance of all their hit songs along with pyrotechnics and lights to add to the show.
It was a fun experience, and all in all it was not a bad concert. It started strong and even though there were dull moments (in my opinion) It finished strong. The same could be said about us. I notice how when we are baptized we are eager to serve the Lord and are excited at the first steps we have taken in our lives to serve Him. Over time though I have seen to many people (myself included at times) slack off and settle for only mediocre service, and minimal contribution on His behalf.
There are two scriptures that come to my mind when I see this happen. "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." (2 Nephi 31:20) and, "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen." (Mosiah 5:15)
Just like the concert I went to, it started strong and even though there were lulls in the middle it still finished strong. So should we be in our lives as we strive to continually serve the Lord with all our strength and endure to the end so that we may receive those blessing that are promised to us if we do.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Steady Tempo

About 3 or 4 years ago around christmas time a few of my friends and I decided to get together and form a band, and play a song for a church dance. I was eager to play the drums and this was my opportunity! I figured I would be able to get a simple beat down and maybe learn a few fills in no time at all, and our band would easily learn a few songs by the time of the dance. I quickly realized that this would not be the case as we practiced and practiced, and ended up only learning one song before it was time to perform. I also realized that as the drummer I was pretty much in charge of keeping everyone in tempo as we played. If I played fast then the band would play faster, and if I slowed down the beat then the rest of the band would slow down with me.
As I was thinking about this I took note that if I messed up the beat and played either too fast or too slow it would mess the rest of the band up and the song wouldn't sound that great. I thought of how this is very true with the Gospel and our lives. I know that as I have that constant daily "beat" of prayer, scripture study, church, etc. in my life it makes the rest of the day run a lot smoother.
I thought of a scripture in 2nd Nephi that tells us to "feast" upon the scriptures.
 "...Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:3)
I know that we aren't all perfect, and as I think back to that performance I realize it was far from a perfect performence. But with a lot more practice over the years we can play the song much, much better now, and the same goes for all of us as we strive to constantly have prayer and scripture study in our lives we will be able to have that steady tempo that "...will tell [us] all things what [we] should do."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Song Of The Righteous

During the past six weeks I have thought a lot about this blog and everything I wanted it to include. I have never blogged before so I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do when I created one. I decided I wanted it to have a theme, but I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted the theme to be.
Those of you who know me you know I am obsessed with music, and as I laid in bed one night trying to fall asleep I was thinking of how much I enjoy music and how happy I feel when I listen to music. It suddenly dawned on me that the Lord also loves music. "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me..." (D&C 25:12)
At that moment I knew exactly what I wanted the theme for my blog to be!
Over the next couple of years I want to compare the various aspects of music to the various aspects of the gospel, and I hope that as I write these blogs I will be able keep that "song" in my heart and better help others understand the importance of the gospel in their lives.