Thoughts on Tuning

Tuning has been hard for me since November. Not that it ever was a piece of cake, from breaking a string on day one to starting to set the temperament. But November was the hardest month of my life so far, and mostly because of tuning.
I tried for 10 hours over two weeks. I cried and prayed and read and listened. I wondered if it was a bad decision, started weighing pro’s and con’s.
It hurt very badly. I was physically tired from all of the hours of tuning, emotionally stressed and worn, and spiritually tired and confused. I talked with daddy and ASPT and James. I sought help elsewhere online. I tried again and again. I did it once. And then I began having issues with the piano. All through December we tried setting up a time for a tuner to come and tune it and for me to watch and ask questions, but nothing worked. It was a nice hiatus. We’re still trying to get a tuner to come. I’m having issues with strings sounding muted when they’re not, and have only set the temperament successfully twice because of that. After a month of no-tuning I was thinking maybe it would just be forgotten. But one of my Christmas presents was a quote from daddy.

“The tuning up of the orchestra can be itself delightful, but only to those who can, in some measure, however little, anticipate the symphony… even our most sacred rites, as they occur in human experience are, like tuning, promise, not performance. Hence, like tuning, they may have in them much duty and little delight; or none. But the duty exists for the delight. When we carry out our “religious duties” we are like people digging channels in a waterless land, in order than, when at last the water comes, it may find them ready. I mean, for the most part. They are happy moments, even now, when a trickle creeps along the dry beds; and happy the soul to whom this happens often.”
– C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

It was the best Christmas present I got (maybe ever).
I’m back to tuning again. I tuned some unisons Monday night, and then attempted the temperament, but only had 15 minutes to work so it was pretty sloppy and way too slow. But God is good. He has strengthened me to keep going, and not get discouraged and rely on the support of my family. I’m starting to plan my home business to start up next year. Tuning will hopefully be a part of it, but it will also include teaching, tutoring, and some handicrafts and photography. Right now I’m thinking of “Tune My Heart,” as a name.
Because He has tuned my heart, to sing His praises, and to worship Him.
And I was thinking about it, about tuning hearts and the pain and hardship I’ve suffered learning how to tune pianos. Because God is tuning my heart as I tuned pianos. Tuning is stretching, turning, fixing, perfecting, making in unison… sanctifying, shaping me to be like Christ, in unison with His will. It’s like pulling weeds. Wrenching out – sometimes bit by bit, slowly, painfully, other times quickly and easily – what doesn’t belong, making it right and beautiful.

As C.S. Lewis said so loquaciously, the tuning itself isn’t a delight, but the result is. The tuning itself hurts. But God is near in the pain.

I’m reading a really good book right now by Joseph Morecraft, called “How God Wants us to Worship Him.”
Here’s a few tidbits:

“Christ shed His precious blood to set us free from the tyranny of man in the worship of God. Are you willing to live and die in defense of this revealed truth, or are you willing to accommodate yourself to additions to worship in order to keep up with the trends of the time, rather than stand against he tide? if the world and church today turn against the Bible’s regulative principle of worship, are you willing to stand against the world and the church?”

“[Human] regulations and restrictions are not merely worthless as far as helping us sin less and live better Christian lives, they are actually harmful because they make God angry with us. As Thomas Watson said, “It is provoking God, because it reflects upon His honor, as if He were not wise enough to appoint the manner of His own worship.”’

“Since Christ is the King of the Church and Savior of the Body, only He may say his worship and service are to be performed. He has revealed His will concerning His worship and service in the Bible. And He personally condemns all supplementation, correction, or abridgment of what is written in its pages.”

“The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3, furnishes a picture… [of] one who has, with doctrinal correctness, has laid the true and only foundation, which is Jesus Christ, and yet has built upon it a superstructure of wood, hay and stubble… Every false doctrine, ever unscriptural element of government, every intention of will-worship perishes one after another in the fiery circle… he stands naked and alone – himself saved, but the results of his life-long labor reduced to ashes in the final conflagration.”

“God told Moses simply to speak to the rock and it would bring forth water. Moses also struck it with his staff. It was dramatic but displeasing to God. Therefore, Moses was punished severely by being forbidden to enter Canaan. Why? Israel must learn to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. She must learn not to add or subtract from that all-sufficient Word…. Moses struck the rock as if the miracle of providing water depended upon human exertion and not upon the power of God alone.”

“’The Church has no authority in regulating the manner, appointing the form, dictating the observances of worship, beside or beyond what the Scripture declares on these points, the Bible containing the only directory for determining these matters, and the Church having no discretion to add or alter what is there fixed.’”

“Jesus ‘refused to submit to and condemned something as apparently innocent as washing one’s hands. “Washing of the hands is a thing proper enough; one could wish it were oftener practiced; but to exalt it into a religious rite is folly and sin.’”

“When we allow ourselves to be seduced into submitting to false teachers who act as our judges (Col 2:16) and to the empty deception of their man-made traditions and elementary principles, we are making them the lords of our consciences and are letting them take us captive to their wills. They defraud us of the riches of wisdom, knowledge, and power we have in Christ.”

“God alone is the Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to His Word, or beside it, in matters of faith and worship.” – Westminster Confession, XX, II.
“Therefore, only God has the prerogative to dictate to the conscience what it must feel duty-bound to perform in His strength.”

Pro Christo,


3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Tuning

  1. Laura Elizabeth says:

    Wow! Very excellent and encouraging 🙂 I do love C. S. Lewis; he just had a beautiful way of putting things so that they stick in the mind for a long time. I also know how frustrating it can be just trying to tune my violin sometimes, and I can only imagine how hard it would be to tune a piano.
    In Christ,


    • kyleian says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, James! It’s finally worked out to have a piano tuner come here to help, and he’ll be here in about an hour! Hopefully it’ll help; it could be really interesting based on some of the things he’s said already.


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