Music is Important 13

I worshiped God in Punjabi last weekend.
Each human soul, each person created by God, longs to cry out in praise to him for receiving life and talk with (at?) him for the struggle of life. We have a built in dichotomy of experience, each of us at varying levels, of celebration and anguish. As a creative, I feel that pull in both directions often simultaneously. Because of the miracle of interconnected global video, we can share instantly with people around the world. Brothers and sisters, I call them.
Recently, one of my mentors in India has been organizing a worship and prayer service with churches across India and bringing programmatic training and encouragement to the (marginalized, pressurized, and brutalized) church of Jesus Christ in their country. As he has pastored through so many trials, his wisdom and leadership is invaluable to the next generation and he plans to spend it on them. As a college leader and a Christian, I love this model and am joining them weekly. 
What strikes me most visibly, coming from the American perspective, is how joyful and demonstrative he is in his service to God and passion and expectation for the next generation of leaders. Me too! I am with creatives all day and when I’m at my best I recognize a stored up energy and frustrated lack of expression that many in the US are discerning as anger and struggle, when the answer is sometimes in release – in joyful celebration or impassioned expression. We live. We are here. We are not finished. Besides the fact of our existence and the relative comfort within which most of us live across the world today, we are also made to create, born to learn and connect, designed to be in community, and anxious for something tangibly real.
I worshipped God in the Punjabi language last weekend. I listened to a brother playing his original Punjabi song on a Sunday morning (it was not yet even dark on Saturday night for me) and I worshiped God because his heart matched mine. We are so alike to one another and we just need to see it – I see it when I’m closest to God. And when I’m uncomfortably listening to others and listening to the still small voice of creation.

Music is Important 12

My friend Emilee is a band nerd. She does her job every day at the music store and serves band directors and musicians behind the scenes with support and information and service. Emilee is what you might call “high energy” and she does not easily withhold her thoughts on things (we are actually in a prayer group together and she is working on that!) but her heart is gold towards people and God, with her best effort.
We all need a support person and musicians are no different.
Emilee wrote a blog for her music store and deeply researched how we can all come back to music class with COVID-19 going on and used a lot of resources and detailed multiple opinions to help band directors think through a lot of angles. When she shared this, in the “cancel culture” on social media, she was surprised at how many people maligned her motives and intentions without examining the merit of the actual information and assistance she brought to people. People were impolite and presumptive about her support. I thought, “Even if it were for a music store, that’s her job and it was well done, so relax everyone, right?” 
Emilee got to see her reward. Her post went viral and hundreds of thousands of people saw it and shared it and she did a great service to music people around the world. I was so pleased to see her satisfaction. She was helpful to people and, in the end, although there will always be naysayers, she used her gift of research and gathered opinion to support some people who really need our hands and prayers right now – band directors across the world who love seeing their students progress in music.
And as we all know, music is important.

Music is Important 11

Some music is timeless and elicits a special reaction every time you hear it. It has been heard before and it has been set in many movies and events and even commercials. It becomes the standard theme you hear when a type of event occurs, a true theme of life at basketball games, school functions, campaigns, and ads. You might think “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, but I’m talking about “Carmina Burana” from Carl Orff or Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyrie”. Music is used to inspire, honor, excite, or create a mood. No matter if you are surrounded by popular music or music from a bygone era of the classical period, we are inspired daily by “keep up the good fight” themes in music. Why is that?

So much of life is difficult.

I was listening to the soundtrack an old 80s movie this week and when the passion was really desperately needed, they resorted to scoring ancient horns and orchestra and when the evil or mysterious things were happening, it was moody and electronic modern movie soundtrack music with ambling melody and the latest synths of the time. I could not help but notice that we need directive and powerful music to cut through the noise of daily doldrums and dawdling days. We need the power of the large ensemble. We need the community of the many instrumentalists playing together, the big choir, and the loud marching group.

We need music to focus us on those heroic and powerful actions we take in giving of ourselves to others, serving a bigger vision than our self, and caring for other human beings physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. We need our big themes and to recognize that for inspiration and action – music is important.


Music is Important 10

Music is Important 10 We encourage children to sing and dance. We know that their focus on singing and expressing their natural inhibition when dancing and performing are good for their energy release, self-esteem in accomplishment (especially if cared for and encouraged by parents and adults), and building up their brain with music and motion. But what do we do with a really talented kid?

I watched the unflappable Ashley Marina on America’s Got Talent a week ago because a friend of mine manages her artistic development as an 11 year old from Pittsburgh. She’s very talented and incredibly sweet but something deeper is there. She does not project her fear, she exudes confidence and calmly adapts to incredibly stressful situations around her music and with a high level of professionalism. Some of this you cannot teach, but you nurture it in the family, in the friend groups, and in the professional artist development cycle.

I invite you to watch her here:

Ashley does choose some songs that don’t feature her voice well quickly enough for a competition like this. Simon pushes her when the crowd is ready to accept her talent alone. But he pushes her into a place where she can really shine – adaptability and personal emotive experience. The result is a Father’s Day gift for everyone.