But make no mistake; whether external or internal a difference in perspective can hugely dictate and differentiate peoples' experience of a particular circumstance.
Perspective can work two ways â both how you are perceived and how you perceive yourself. I find it interesting to note that a lot of things can look very similar on the outside, but be profoundly different in reality. For example, one person can work for a family every day, caring for the children, cleaning the house, obeying commands, and even living with the family, and be called a slave.
But another person can (from an outside perspective) be doing the exact same thing as the former, but be called a servant. It is interesting to note that their actions are largely the same, and to the casual observer their roles would be presumed exactly the same, but in reality their titles are worlds apart.
Internal perspective and the power of one's choice
So, if the actions of a freeman and a slave are exactly the same, what then is the difference between the two? The difference is choice. And whilst the power of choice is on the inside, like an internal perspective, it in fact changes everything. Whilst the outcome can seem identical, the definition of servant hood and slavery is both a matter of internal perspective and the power of one's choice. T
he former does a task out of desire and the latter does the same task out of necessity â and often the outcome in many circumstances can seem similar, but in art it is certainly worlds apart.
Freedom is empowered by law
In my study of a Bachelors of Music I learnt a lot about the laws of written music, the rules of harmony, the forms of composition, the classical conventions of voice-leading and the stylistic discrepancies between periods and genres. A lot of what I learnt were boundaries and instructions designed by people to guide composers and judge forms of musical expression against each other.
This is all very well and good, but as my learning developed and my degree pressed on, I started to notice a huge difference amongst the students in how some reacted to the syllabus. We were all learning the same course, sitting in the same lectures, studying the same songs, and completing the same homework tasks (some more punctually than others), but the thing about art is it is both a transcendent form of pure expression as well as a structural form of communication.
Some students were producing purely regurgitated principles, ticking all the boxes in form and arrangement, but neither gained anything from the lesson nor communicated anything in the expression. Then there were other students who (often feeling suffocated by the course criteria) took the principles learned and played with them, deciding to use some and to disregard others, but understanding their purpose and use in simply articulating one's personal desire of expression.
And I soon came to realise that the difference between these two groups was both a matter of internal perspective and the power of one's choice.
Whilst the study of music theory can often feel monotonous and stifling of one's creative instinct, the skills learned â when implemented properly â can actually empower a composer in creative expression and communicative ability. What many people don't realise is that it is entirely up to them to take that step from learning the laws, to using the laws to freely express and communicate in their artistic field; and since the difference is mostly internal, people often miss this crucial fact when teaching or learning art, namely music.
But the outcome can be heard in the sound and felt in the rhythm, as one heart connects to another, transcending time and place, via this powerful tool we call art. Just ask a drummer if there's any difference to an automated metronome beat or sitting in the room with Steve Jordan playing that same beat, and watch the drummer passionately preach about some undefinable but undeniable element called "groove".
That is this connection between law and human expression, when an artist understands the theory and he does what he needs to do, but pours his heartfelt emotion into that structure.
That is true art â unbound freedom and sincere expression working with the laws, structures and forms to create something personal, eloquent and moving. When perfected and used purposefully, it can move people; anyone, anywhere. This is what sparks revolutions, spreads religions and conceives cultures; and I believe there is no more powerful substance that man can create.
And maybe, just maybe, God wants us to use it.
Daniel J. Mathew has finished his Bachelor of Music at Sydney's Wesley Institute and currently volunteers in Hillsong Creative, City Campus.
Daniel J. Mathew's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-mathew.html