The value of music

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I was thinking about this as I was on my walk. I had put together a playlist of songs on Amazon, and wanted to do a test. Previously, I would listen to podcasts, and not a steady beat. The songs I chose were upbeat and had fast beats. Not surprisingly, I walked at a faster speed with the faster, steady beat!!

There is this power in music. Not only the emotive powers that bring joy and exuberance, but also reflection and contemplation. But even with exercise, music with a faster beat gets us to move faster!

No doubt, music has plenty of value. I sometimes wonder, though, if we’ve devalued it in our culture because of our over saturation. Wherever you go, for the most part, you hear music. That can be good and bad. We tend to tune it out and have it as background noise, and we can lose the value and power in the music.

What do you think? Have we lost the value and power of music in our culture?

Lessons learned from Oceans drummer

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Last week, Carlos Whittaker uploaded this video to YouTube. You may have seen it.

The video has over 1 million views in one week.

Today, Carlos uploaded this video. You may have not seen it yet.

Why am I blogging about this? There are a few reasons. First, there’s always more to the story than what meets the eye. Right off the bat in watching the first video, I wondered how much of the video was a mix issue. Why? Well, initially, you hear the keyboard and vocal strongly, then the drums come in even louder. Yet, you see 2 other guitarists. They’re strumming….do you hear them? I don’t. I think sound-wise, that could have been fixed and it would not have stood out as much.

Yet there’s more to the story. In the video that Carlos posted today, the drummer speaks out. He uses this platform, one which many could run away and hide from, and honestly and openly speaks. Not really about the drums or the video, but he tells his story.

The video is a reminder that in spite of our flaws and failures, when we worship, God is glorified. Whether it is drumming, singing, or whatever we do, God is glorified. Our best efforts and intents will fall short. But, that’s not what God looks at. God looks at our heart. Many look at this video and laugh. They may mock. Many others look at it and see an opportunity to teach. God looks at it and says, “Thank you, my child, for using this opportunity to tell others about me and what I’ve done for you.”

I encourage you to readily share the second video. Let’s share this story, because in it, God will be glorified!

Concentration and focus

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Many times in music we have to be focused and concentrating on what we are doing. Sometimes, there will be distractions. I’ve had people try to talk to me while I am focused on playing the organ, or people sneeze while I’ve been playing, or plenty of other things. But check this video out.

Are you kidding? A butterfly lands on her nose! WHILE PLAYING! She just keeps going like it’s supposed to happen. This is the lesson that I learned early on in making music. If something happens, roll with it. She could have tried to get the butterfly off of her and probably would have broken her concentration. Yet, she kept making music and it turned out to be something extraordinarily beautiful!

Sharing songs

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I have two daughters. Ella is 5 and in kindergarten, and Emily is almost 3. Ella has always sung since she was born. her musical aptitude is quite excellent, and that’s more as a professional music educator than a proud daddy (although the proud daddy is there, too!). Emily hasn’t always sung. She’s been a bit more on her own terms with things.

But then Emily heard the song “Messengers” by Lecrae and For King and Country. She can’t stop singing along with it! Lecrae is going to be in concert in Houston next week, and when we hear the promo for it on the radio, she immediately asks, “Daddy, can I hear Messengers on your phone?” I play it, she sings along and life is good. My wife relayed to me last night how the song came on when both girls were in the car. Ella starts singing along and Emily got mad. “Ella, you can’t sing. It’s MY favorite song!!”

Sharing is a great lesson for children to learn, and when it comes to music, for all of us, sharing is a great lesson as well. Whether it is the music in our head or heart that needs to be shared with the world, whether it is our favorite song, let’s do more sharing. Be encouraging. You never know how that song will connect with someone.

Words of Worship

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Please take a look at Books.NoiseTrade.com/craigharmann/words-of-worship and consider downloading my resource! It’s 30 devotions based on hymns and songs, I pray that it blesses you! It’s free, but if you wanted to tip, that would be great!

Encouragement matters

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I recently came across this video and it completely floored me.

You want to talk about being an encourager, this guy has got it! It got me to thinking about why encouragement is important.

It was a little over a year ago that I received an e-mail from Jon Acuff, titled “Adventurers Wanted”. It was a very vague e-mail about going on an adventure, needing a machete and a passport. It intrigued me, so I replied. It led me into this Facebook group that became a community. This community is filled with encouragers, not only through words, but actions. You see, the group was started in connection with Jon’s book “Start”, which encouraged me to figure out what my dreams were and to start working toward them. I’ve received much encouragement from this group and God willing, I’ve provided encouragement to others.

As I look back through my life as a musician in the church, I have received plenty of encouragement there. And in my struggles and trials of trying to figure out how all of this “ministry stuff” makes sense and to do it in the best way that I can, I have been so blessed to be encouraged by countless amazing people.

Isn’t that one of the roles of music in our lives? To provide encouragement? Isn’t it amazing sometimes that at just the right time, a song comes along that speaks to whatever struggle we face, or gives us hope to fight through whatever situation we are going through? I think that is one of the most beautiful and powerful things that music can provide. Hope.

While I am nowhere close to being an expert on things relating to church music ministry, I’ve had enough ups and downs and trials and errors to be able to use that knowledge and experience to encourage others. This blog post came out of a Facebook conversation with another church musician, that I was able to give this person some ideas and insights. They may not work, but I think that the other person was in need of encouragement and hope. I’ve been that person. It’s a struggle.

I want to be Apollos Hester. I want to provide encouragement to others. I may not be able to do it in the most passionate and excited way that he did, but I want to be able to provide encouragement by being that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on, that voice to provide hope. Because encouragement does matter. Those words “you CAN do it” matter. Those words have been spoken to me over and over again and it is my hope and prayer that God continues to provide me opportunity to encourage others. If you need that encouragement, let me know. I’ll be happy to help.