I’m channelling Big Kev right now.
I’m channelling Big Kev right now.
I know it’s bad blog-technique (blognique?) to post two posts back-to-back like this, but I don’t care. I forgot about two other great Noisetrade offers, and rather than update the previous post, I figured that they could have a post of their own.
I blasted this all over my BookFace page a week or so ago:
Zac Hicks (if you’re involved in sung worship ministry, you must read his blog) is giving away his semi-live album of pop-rock Hymn retunes:
The Brilliance are, frankly, brilliant. I love their sound:
There’s always a ton of great (free!) stuff on Noisetrade (I’m so thankful, Derek Webb), so I figured I’d post about it..
One of my favourite worship songwriters, Matt Papa (he’s like what you might get if you put John Piper and Keith Green into a blender), has just released an Easter EP with some of his more recent songs, including the wonderful track ‘It is finished’:
One of the best things about Noisetrade is discovering new artists (and a big thanks to Brad at worshiplinks.us for his weekly noisetrade updates), and a recent ‘discovery’ for me was this album from Arthur Wachnik:
The instrumentation and arrangements are fantastic. He writes:
Let Us Run was inspired after befriending Romani Gypsy refugees and playing with them in church services. Their beautiful music greatly influenced the culture of the nations they found themselves in and yet they were never truly welcomed to make their home in these lands. Their struggles inspired the songs on Let Us Run. This album is for all the people who make beautiful music with their lives but never feel like they are welcomed to make their home in this world. Let Us Run is about the journey to find a home and the One who helps us get there.
If, like me, you like Gungor, check out this new track from his group The Liturgists:
Have you found any great free music lately?
One of my aims this year is to develop a better discipline of songwriting, and so I aim to write a new song each month on this year. I’m calling it the #twentyfourteenproject. (Here is January’s song, in case you missed it) I think I’ll use it as a creative stimulus for working on recording, arranging and video editing skillz too, and hopefully I’ll be able to continue creating a decent demo track and video to go along with it!
I came up with the piano motiv after International Worship at the start of February, just noodling about, and decided to try and write a response to Vimal’s sermon that evening from 2 Corinthians 4. The pre-chorus came pretty quickly, and the chorus settled fairly quickly also, but I took most of the month working on the verses. The benefit of doing this excercise is that it sets a helpful boundary – in some ways it forces to me to edit and rethink ideas instead of just thinking it’s done, but it also sets a deadline for this process. I tend to otherwise swing between not developing ideas (thinking they come out done) or not being able to stop fiddling and commit to something.
I decided to try doing another video, but this time cut and paste clips of me doing the multi-tracking. Instead of the basic Windows Movie Maker, I’ve starting using Lightworks, and I’ve really only scratched the surface of its capabilities. I ran out of time to figure out captioning for the lyrics, and there are still some sync issues which appeared after I exported the mixdown – I suspect it has to do with the framerate settings on my camera (Fuji X10). Peta did a great job filming the hand-held clips! My favourite bit is the playout…
Here’s just the audio, in case my out-of-sync ginger beard is off-putting:
Let Your light be seen within me
Show Your strength through my weakness
Fill this broken, earthen vessel
With Your life-giving Spirit
I am clay
You are the Artist
Make of me
A new creation
By Your grace I come to You
I offer up my life; Jesus make me new
I trust in Your all-sufficient power
To make me like You
Make me like You
Every moment for your glory
Be my only desire
Burn away my worthless idols
With Your refining fire
(c) 2014 Andrew Finden
A month or so ago a friend told me about Patreon.com , a new model of artist funding based on the old idea of arts patronage. While Kickstarter campaigns are often used by indie bands to fund specific projects, the idea of Patreon is that backers pledge an amount to give for every new piece of work created. So, for example, one might support a songwriter by pledging to give them a dollar for each new song they write (you can set a monthly cap).
I thought at the time that it was a great way to encourage worship songwriters, and seemed like a viable and fair alternative to CCLI system. A few days later, I saw that Trevor Hodge, a Sydney-based songwriter, who has contributed some great songs to EMU Music has decided to do just this:
Trevor has already put up some great new tracks, and it’s exciting to see this process, and in fact, be a part of it as a patron.
What do you think of this idea? Would you consider support songwriters like this (e.g. me..)?
This is why I haven’t been blogging this month:
Zac Hicks wrote this about Worship Leader burnout, but I find it helpful for my day job (or should that be night job?) as a performer as well:
The Gospel declares that, when we hear criticism, whether it is true or not, we’re free to receive it because all the approval we need has been met in how God the Father sees us through the finished work of the Son. The Gospel places a gentle hand on our shoulder when we’re feverishly running on the performance treadmill, saying, “Jesus ran, so you don’t have to.” … The Gospel puts an end to our self-defeating comparisons with others, because we are in Christ, the only One who measures up. And the Gospel heals broken relationships, because all the guarded walls of defensiveness and “rightness” can come down due to the fact that in Christ we’re free to be wrong, free to be evaluated, free to apologize, and free to submit and trust.
Ron Man has a really helpful article over at TGC Worship: 7 Characteristics of the Ministry of Song which I recommend to you.
Ron takes a look at Ephesisans 5:18-20 and pulls out 7 foundational principles for congregational sung worship, but his observation about the first point, that our singing is to be “spirit-filled” caught my eye:
With all the debates about the filling of the Spirit, it’s intriguing here that the first result of the filling of the Spirit mentioned by Paul is singing!
As an opera singer, the first step in the process of singing is inspiration – that is, to breath in. My singing teacher frequently reminded me to take the appropriate breath; if my breath was too shallow, the sound would be unsupported and weaker. In order to sing well, a deep, full, healthy breath is needed, and then that breath flowing out again freely is the basis for a healthy sound.
It is no wonder, then, that to sing worship properly, we need to be inspired by the Spirit of God, to be filled with the breath of God so that it flows out in praise.
At the end of last year, I hadn’t spent any time songwriting since we finished Jahreszeiten der Seele, and so one of my 2014 priorities is to re-engage in the discipline of songwriting (you’ve got write a lot of bad songs to get a couple of good ones!).
At the end of last year we had some sad news of a friend’s death, and then just after new year, news of the death of a colleague from my Guildhall days. Out of that place, a chord progression, and the tune of the verse emerged.
Chord chart: Still on the throne
(It’s in D but I like C shapes, so capo 2)
The demo is pretty rough around the edges ( ‘pitchy’ is the term kids use these days, isn’t it?) as I recorded/filmed it in one take, to a backing track which will eventually make up an MP3 version. There are some issues with out-of-sync which I’m assuming is due to the encoding on my Fuji x10. The audio is recorded in Reaper. But you get the idea.
It’s not necessarily intended as a congregational song, though the chorus is pretty singable.
Let me know what you think…
The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Dear Mr Abbott,
I’m very glad to read that you welcome feedback, and advice as you seek to lead “an accountable and open government”. These are laudable values for any government. I recently read some comments you made, and what began as a small Facebook comment regarding these comments, turned into an open letter of sorts, which I am writing for your consideration.
In regards to the issue of offshore processing of asylum seekers, in the Guardian newspaper you are quoted as saying:
“Let’s remember that everyone in these centres is there because he or she has come illegally to Australia by boat. They have done something that they must have known was wrong.”
The problem is that this is an unnecessary distortion of the facts. Seeking asylum (even if arriving by boat) is not illegal. It is a human right. As the Parliament’s own website states:
‘There is no offence under Australian law that criminalises the act of arriving in Australia or the seeking of asylum without a valid visa.’
Moreover, it is no “idle curiosity” to ask for transparency in the treatment of asylum seekers. We are not at war with asylum seekers, but have legal and moral responsibility to process their claims fairly and humanely, and it would appear to many (including the UNHCR ) that our government is not doing this. That is why we want to see what is going on. As noted, you are seeking to lead an open and accountable government, and this is an issue of accountability.
You claim that “the vast majority of these people, as the former foreign minister Bob Carr said, are economic migrants”, but this is simply not supported by the facts. Again, see the Parliament’s own website which states that boat arrivals:
‘are in fact more likely to be recognised as refugees than those who have arrived by air. For example, the progressive protection visa grant rate for asylum seekers from the top country of citizenship for boat arrivals (Afghanistan) has varied between about 80 and 95 per cent since 2009′.
Your predecessor, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, even castigated Mr Carr for making this unsubstantiated claim. I’m confused as to why a Liberal Prime Minister would therefore choose to echo the unfounded sentiments of an ALP politician instead of the humanitarian ethos of a notable Liberal statesman.
Indeed, as Mr Fraser pointed out, the only way Australia will “stop the boats” is to become worse than that which people are fleeing from. I don’t think any of us want that.
Rather, can we stop seeing and portraying asylum seekers as the other, as ‘these people’, as an enemy to be defeated, and instead recognise that they too are bearers of God’s image, deserving of just and humane treatment, and the traditional Aussie ‘fair go’?
This interview with Bob Kauflin might be short, but it’s a suckerpunch alright!
Nothing is more important to communicate to people than the gospel of Jesus Christ. No song, arrangement, vocalist, riff, or technology will be more impressive than the Savior. People are starved for the glory of Christ, not the glory of our presentation. Another thing I’d impress on myself is the importance of knowing God’s Word and trusting it to change people’s lives. I think I tended to trust my illustrations or persuasiveness more than God’s Word. I’d also tell myself to view leading songs as a pastoral function before you see it as a musical one. Finally, I’d highlight the importance of listening. Do more listening than you do talking or singing. Listen to the feedback others give you. In fact, seek it out. Listen to the other musicians that you play with.
And I agree with Olly Knight’s comment, that Bob’s book, Worship Matters, is a must-read resource for those involved in congregational worship ministry (I’d love a German translation to pass on to friends!).
A few people have been sharing this interesting piece on busyness, which is worth reading.
I confess, I often respond to inquires of my well-being with ‘pretty busy’, and it’s true, that I have a lot to do, often. The Spielzeit tends to regularly pile unexpected pressures on, but I did appreciate the challenge about ‘busy’ become a stock answer.
My wife and I began noticing that everybody in our circle of influence, including ourselves, responded to virtually any question with “busy.” Normal questions? busy. Normal life? busy. It was evident that the new normal was a declaration of busy. It became the new mantra for living in the 21st century. ‘I am busy. Hear me roar!’
The writer shares about a challenge, which I’m going to at least think about, if not try and follow for a while:
We decided to never use the phrase BUSY as an answer for an entire year and to see if there were any changes in attitude and/or behaviour. Ours. Theirs.
We noticed alright. Instantly.
We were forced to describe our own situations with more clarity, and without our best friend ‘busy’ to blame, we engaged with people more authentically. As we did, we noticed the general depth of conversations increase as we and those we were sharing with, were invited to communicate differently about our actual states of being.
I resolved not to make any New Year’s resolutions, but instead think about prioritising certain things, certain activities and certain values. In many ways, the idea of feeling ‘busy’ in a negative sense (as opposed to a productive sense) has to do with priorities, at least, in my context. Perhaps naming those things which are keeping me ‘busy’ will help be more productive while still maintaining balance, and rest, and doing things which I value, but aren’t necessarily obliged to do.
What about you? Do you relate to the article?