Worship as Lifestyle

As has been my tradition, every sermon that I preach will be posted here. This sermon, Worship as Lifestyle, was given at The Salvation Army Devonport on Sunday 11 October, 2015. The Reading was Amos 5:1-15

Stop-watch, isolated on white, clipping path included

There are 3600 seconds in an hour, 86,400 seconds in one day, 604,800 in a week and  over 31 million seconds in a year.

To put that in perhaps more realistic terms, we know that there are 60 minutes in an hour, but that makes 1440 minutes in a day, 10,080 in a week, and 525,600 in a year.

All of us, no matter how good we think we are, only get the same number of minutes in a week. So how well do we use those minutes?

On Average – and these are all figures I sourced from the internet so they must be true – we will spend 168 minutes a day watching TV. That’s 1176 minutes during the week, or almost 12% of the week.

The average American spends 128 minutes on either their smart phone or computer. That’s 896 minutes a week, or almost 9% of your week.

You will spend, on average, 456 minutes sleeping each night, that’s over 30% of your week. We’re up over half of our week gone already!

You’ll spend only 66 minutes a day eating, that’s only 5% of your week.

If you’re employed, you will spend 516 minutes a day either working, thinking about work, getting ready for work and other work related activities. That’s 35% of your week. And by my quick maths, that leaves us with less than 10 percent left. How much have I left out?

When I was teaching violin, I would always stress the importance of daily practice to my students. I would get them only once a week. If they were lucky, and received an hour-long lesson, that would be only half a percent of their week. If they were to practice for an hour each day, their time spent learning violin would come to nearly 5% of their week. Continue reading “Worship as Lifestyle”


Well, I better have a Well-Being Plan

The Salvation Army Training College, Melbourne

I’ve practically finished my first week of orientation at the Training College. We’ve had a lot of different orientations – to uniform, to education, to prayer and more. Yesterday, we had a session called “Coping with Change”. We have all had to go through a big change in order to come to the Training College. At a very basic level, the shift from Perth to Melbourne was a big change. We were discussing yesterday the differences in language that we share – from Milk Bars and Delis, to Stobie Poles and Power Poles and even the way we pronounce Lego.

One thing we did was to create a well-being plan that focussed on some goals in four areas – Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. By setting goals in these four areas, we can help take control of certain areas of our life so that we can deal with the change better, but also be in a better mental state. Part of the exercise was to write down some names that we would share the plan with so that we can be accountable with it. So I’m going to share my goals with you, and post regularly on how I’m going. Continue reading “Well, I better have a Well-Being Plan”

Top 5 Violin Showpieces

Pablo de Sarasate
Image via Wikipedia

Violin show pieces are the pieces which are at the limit of violin technique. They are difficult, flashy, and impressive. Here’s my list of the top 10 violin showpieces.

Paganini – Caprice 24

Paganini’s 24 Caprices are some of the most difficult for the violin, and being able to play any of them is a great accomplishment. However, the 24th Caprice is by far the most famous, and most difficult. Based upon a Theme and Variations model, this caprice employs many of the most difficult violin techniques in a musically solid base. This video is of Hillary Hahn performing this Caprice. Continue reading “Top 5 Violin Showpieces”

Favourite Class at College

Just a quick one as it’s late, and I need to be up early tomorrow.

My favourite class in college (well, University), would probably have been String Class. This was where we would play for the other string players at uni, and get specific feedback relating to string playing.

I remember my first performance, and I hated it. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. It probably didn’t help that string class was joined with the other Music Uni, because “there weren’t enough string players for their own class” (despite there being more string players than brass players, and brass players had their own seperate class). While they may not agree, we certainly felt like second class citizens, as if we were the string players who weren’t good enough to get into their school.

Anyway, eventually, WAAPA granted us our own string class. And it was awesome. It really helped bring the strings together, and start supporting each other. And while there were many things that I would say helped along the way, I would say that giving us our own string class really helped kick start the redevelopment of the strings program at WAAPA.

So that was my favourite uni class. What was yours?

How many instruments can I play?

Difference / Unterschied Violin - Viola (Alto)
Image via Wikipedia

Thought I’d share a little bit about the instruments that I play, and my journey on them.


The violin is my main instrument, and I’ve been learning it since I was seven. I’ve played in various orchestras over the time, played on stage with a band or two, and had a whole heap of fun doing it. The violin opened up the world of music for me, but it will always be my first love.


When I went to Uni, there were very few string players. There were only a couple of viola players. So, in order to help out with chamber music groupings, I taught myself the viola. I used my spare violin and converted it to a viola, learned how to read the alto clef, and started playing the viola. I didn’t play it for long, but I still count it as an instrument I can play.


My parents have a piano at their place, and over time I taught myself how to play it. I’m not great – and play the piano much in the same style as the guitar – I play the chords more than the melody line. However, I have taught myself to play a couple of easy pieces, so I’m not as bad as I was. I really enjoy playing the piano, but not having one at my place means I don’t get to play as often as I used to.


A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn the guitar. So I bought one and an instructional book, and spent a couple of days learning chords and how to play. Within a couple of weeks I was playing at church in the worship team. I love the guitar now, and probably play it more than my violin these days, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t love my violin – I just love both.

Other Instruments

I can play a few other instruments, such as drums, ukulele, mandolin and recorder. I like having a go at various instruments, so there might be other instruments that get added to this list over time.

What instruments can you play?

Music that makes me happy

Aaron Barrett of Reel Big Fish playing at Wayn...
Image via Wikipedia

Inspiration today from the Daily Post topic, which is When you’re feeling down, what music makes you happy?

There’s a whole heap of music that makes me happy, and I’m going to share some of my favourites with you and explain why.

First up is a bit of an odd choice, as I wouldn’t normally listen to this band. However, Fleetwood Mac‘s Tusk always gets me bopping. I think it’s a mix of the jungle-esque drum beat and the “UCLA Sucks” Guitar riff. I think it’s hard to feel down when listening to this.

Next up is a style of music that will get be happy all the time. Ska music is so happy and boppy, I love it and it gets me happy all the time. I’ve got two favourite bands, Reel Big Fish and Sounds Like Chicken. I’ve chosen Reel Big Fish’s cover of Take on Me, and Sounds like Chicken’s Take one down

However, if I’m in the mood for a classical pick me up, it’s got to be the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

What gets you up when you’re feeling down?

Postaday2011 links



Difference / Unterschied Violin - Viola (Alto)
Image via Wikipedia

It may seem odd for a violinist to say this, but my favourite sound is that of the viola. It’s mellow, rich tones combined with the incredible soaring sound you get high on the A string, it blows me away. Don’t get me wrong, I love the violin, and given a choice, I’d much rather play the violin. But the viola has a richness that is impossible to achieve on the violin.

So that you can share in this blissful sound, here’s William Primrose – one of the great viola players – performing the Walton Viola Concerto.

Postaday2011 links

Time Travel

Example of a music manuscript: Johann Sebastia...
Image via Wikipedia

1720, Köthen. Johan Sebastian Bach has just completed his latest composition, Sei Solo – a violino senza Basso accompagnato, or as they are more commonly known, Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo Violin. Out of all the dates, all the remarkable events, this is where I would choose to spend an hour if I could time travel. To hear Bach himself play the second partita in D minor in the cathedral where he worked, to hear the sound that Bach would have made, and to ask him about the Ciaconna.

For while there are other important moments throughout history that I would love to visit, there has been no other piece that has made such a significant impact on my life. On their own, each movement is incredible. As a sonata or Partita, it is an excellent example of violin writing. As a set, it is a masterpiece.

I’m going to leave it at that, and while there’s no videos of Bach playing (because it was a good couple of hundred years before even Audio recording was a possibility), I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite violinists, Yehudi Menuhin, playing the Ciaconna (an exceprt, because the entire piece is longer than 10 minutes, and I couldn’t find the second half).

Postaday2011 links


fameI went to see Fame tonight, with a few friends. Despite having heard of some bad reviews, I really enjoyed it. Perhaps having not seen the original meant that I could enjoy this on its merits. There were a couple of parts of the movie that really stuck with me that I wanted to share.

Kevin, a dancer, knows at his audition that he’s going to get a job in a professional ballet company. However, despite working harder than any other dancer, he just doesn’t become the strong dancer that he needed to be. When the dance teacher declines his request for a letter of recommendation, he is distraught. And then, horror of all horrors, she goes on to suggest that he might become a wonderful teacher. *shudder* His life long hopes and dreams crushed, he goes down to the subway to catch a ride home, and comes very close to ending his life.

A bit later, Jenny is giving a speech on stage. I would have loved to find the text, but I can’t find it anywhere on the net yet. But she talks about how Success isn’t measured by fame, or money, but by love, and by waking up every morning and flying out the door because you’re so happy to be doing what you’re doing.

Continue reading “Success”

Pachelbel Canon in D for Solo Violin

I hadn’t realised that I had forgotten to upload this to my site. This is an arrangement I had made of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, arranged for Solo Violin. It is much adapted and abridged, and makes use of double stops to make the illusion of multiple voices in some parts, while reverting to single lines where necessary. Uses only the “interesting” parts.

This arrangement is © 2006 Ben Clapton, however I do give permission for this piece to be performed anywhere in the world, for whatever purpose (busking, weddings etc) on the sole condition that I be notified by e-mail to mail@benclapton.id.au or as a comment to this post as to the location (City, Country) that it will be performed in. Comments about the arrangement are always welcome, but please – constructive criticism or praise only.

This arrangement has been performed in places such as the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Download Ben Clapton’s arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D for solo violin.Download Pachelbel’s Canon for Solo Violin

The map below shows the locations that this piece has been performed.