When I studied jazz years ago at music school, I asked my piano teacher to write down some riffs and turnarounds, (melodies based off of chord progressions leading to a new chord or key change.) I copied and practiced them in all twelve keys, and worked them into my improvisations, but they still sounded mechanical and constrained.
My executions were alright, but my mind was still too immature and wouldn’t let me relax and enjoy the music. The riffs became my nemesis. I was too nervous and afraid that I would make a mistake instead of losing myself in the music and using it as a form of worship.
I let the music control and intimidate me, but shouldn’t worship be a form of mutual admiration between God and me; he the supreme artist and me in his image? He is the non-judgmental one and I let my own self-judgment belittle me.
The only critical thing to him is what transpires in my heart.
Because I didn’t understand how music was supposed to make me feel, I was still disconnected to it. Music was still an unreachable art form and I was its perennial slave.
Because I let myself be intimidated by it, my rhythm was weak, because I was weak. I let my worries affect my playing. Music should be an expression of love and joy; love that is strengthened through the spirit, and joy that is strengthened through the enlightenment of love.
Musicianship is a painstaking ordeal up to a point, until it becomes a musical form of worship. Then those riffs take wing and become music that colors the visualization of heavenly bliss.