A big time for Harmanny Music!

Hi there! I wanted to make you aware of two upcoming things for Harmanny Music, which are both exciting and gigantic at the same time.

First, October 22nd marks the 2nd anniversary of Words of Worship being available on Amazon. Because of that, on ONLY the 22nd and 23rd, I’m giving it away as a FREE DOWNLOAD! You can look it up on Amazon, click on the link I’ve got, but my one main request is, if you do download and read it, please, please, please give a review! That’s a huge help!

The second, and the one that is going to be ongoing, starts Monday. I’m in a sales competition on SheetMusicPlus.com. I’ve got 8 piano arrangements, as well as all of them compiled into one resource that you can purchase. If I sell the most between Monday and December, I’ll win a prize. So, if you’re a piano player, if you know a piano player, have them go and purchase it. I’ve got each individual piece at $2.99 each, and all 8 for $10…..you can do the math there!

Thanks for all of your support of Harmanny Music. Please keep passing the word along to friends and acquaintances. There’s much, much more to come!


Making Music Fun

I have regularly fought a fight with myself throughout the years of being a musician. I love music. I love making music. I love making music in the church. But sometimes, being very honest, it isn’t always fun. I find it to be work. I find it to be difficult. Recently, I was reading an article about NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who said “Football is my sanctuary. It’s where I go to escape. It’s where I’m most happy. I’m not having fun anymore.” Here’s a professional football player, being paid millions of dollars to play a game, who says that he isn’t having fun. I know that at times, I could substitute the word music in that quote for football and have it apply to me. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there. You love making music. You love making music in the church. But there is something or somethings that are frustrating you, there are those things that aren’t making it fun. What do you do?

From my experiences, the first thing you have to do is look in the mirror. Is it something you’re doing or not doing that is sapping the fun out of your music making? In my experiences, a lot of times, it has been me and my attitude that has sabotaged myself and sapped my fun. I found reasons, real or imagined, to put walls up in my mind to be taking the fun out of what I was doing. This one is probably one of the more challenging problems to face, as more often than not, we’re our own worst critics and our own worst enemies.

The second thing is simple, but difficult. Go back to what made it fun to begin with. Sometimes, when you’re preparing songs for worship every week, it can become tedious. Go back to music you loved when you first started. Do something different to challenge yourself or something for fun. It’s a simple answer, but the difficult part of it is….where do you find the time? You make the time. When I’ve incorporated the fun and the challenges and the something different into my regular routine throughout the week, I find myself having more fun.

Finally, the criticism. The reality is that this probably one of the biggest things that saps our fun. Ministry is difficult, and what makes it challenging is that we are working with and serving people. Sinful people who have opinions and ideas that they want to share with you and make sure that you do it their way. And sometimes, much of those opinions are conflicting. It wears you down. It was the criticism that made me want to walk away from what I was doing, because I couldn’t take it. And there was a two year period where I did take a break. Not exactly by choice, but it was exactly what I needed. Maybe sometimes that is what is needed. But that’s not always the case, and that’s usually my last recommendation when talking to people. What can you do when the criticisms take away the fun in making music? Pray about it first and foremost. Take refuge in God’s Word. Find listening ears to be your sounding board. When someone criticizes you, listen to what they’re saying. Sometimes there is validity in what is being said. Sometimes, there are other circumstances that aren’t even related to what is being said to you. Sometimes the person saying these things is negative about everything. But the key part is to listen.

Thankfully, I have been blessed over the past 2+ years to serve a congregation that is healthy. It isn’t perfect, but it’s the healthiest congregation I’ve served since I’ve been out of college. And it makes music fun for me. Do I still struggle with it from time to time? Absolutely. But I’ve found that these 3 ways help to cope with about 98% of those struggles of music not being fun. I hope that they help you.



Improvisation on Hyfrydol by Charles Ore, played by Craig Harmann



Yesterday I signed up for a 5K. I haven’t done one since last year. This is for a great cause, Coreluv.org, and my goal for this year is to run more than I did last year. I walked it the whole time. I’m very excited to take on this challenge.

But why take on the challenge? Well, as with anything in life, taking on challenges help to encourage, push and better us. And that’s how I’m looking at this challenge. Last year, one of the things I struggled with in preparing was getting my time below 17 minutes per mile while walking. I just couldn’t. On the day of the 5K, I was shocked when on my first mile….it was under 17 minutes! So, I’m looking forward to something like that again this year.

I don’t encourage everyone to do 5ks. But I do encourage everyone to move more. If you’re rarely moving, start moving. If you walk, walk more or walk faster. It’s such a stress relief and there are so many benefits of exercise. So get out there and get moving!!


How to be the best parent and church musician

About 7 and a half years ago, I became a dad for the first time. It began my quest to be the best parent and church musician that I could be. Really, the quest started before then, but obviously, once the reality of being a parent happened, I had to figure it out. I’ll give you the quick and easy (but really, it’s difficult) answer, which is, there isn’t a magic answer. You have to do your best and figure it out. But, I’ll share more.

The priority to keep in mind is that you are a parent first and foremost. That is your first responsibility. Your child needs you just as much as they need your spouse. So….how do you do it? It’s all about seasons. Not just seasons of the church year, but there are seasons of life. When your child is an infant or a toddler, these times come with their own challenges. When your child is older and involved in more activities, these bring their own challenges. As my girls are 7 and a 1/2 and almost 5, I’ve realized that the time goes by so fast. And as many people told me, enjoy each moment as they pass. Being a parent, being a grownup, being responsible isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of sacrifice. Being a parent who is called to serve the church as a musician is also a sacrifice, but all of it, it’s worth it.

Here’s some tips from my experiences. First, do your best to leave work at church. What I mean is that when you’re home, be home. Spend time playing with your kids, helping them with homework, whatever it is. If you have to work, work after they go to bed. Second, do your best to do a least one family outing once a month. Much more is even better, but go to the park as a family, go for a bike ride, a walk, whatever…..just do it together. Third, let your kids see what you do. For the longest time I didn’t do that, because I felt like it would be an extra hassle or frustration while I was practicing. But once I let my oldest come and be my “audience”, she would dance, sing along, and do her own things while I was practicing. And it has been moments like that that even now, just thinking about it, bring a smile to my face.

But what about the busy times? Especially Advent/Christmas? It’s tough. The one thing that we did early on is to make a time during Christmas, usually a Friday night or Saturday night, get in the car, let the girls put their pajamas on, have hot chocolate and goodies and drive around and look at Christmas lights. Again, it’s back to that doing one thing as a family, but especially during that time, it’s finding things to do as a family to make memories for the kids. Growing up as a pastor’s kid, Christmas Eve was all about going to the children’s program, coming home and having snacks and opening Christmas presents. For my girls, Christmas Eve is about going to church, coming home, and going through stockings, and when Christmas morning comes, opening presents.

The whole thing is about what works best for you and your schedule. I can’t say that I’ve done it perfectly, or that what I’ve done will work perfectly for you. Do your best, ask for help when you need it, and make your kids the priority. Those are the most important things that I’ve found in my goal to be the best parent and church musician that I can be.