I’m an Air Force brat. Although I never liked that designation (probably because I was one), I grew up on United States Air Force bases. I was born in Northern California and spent time in four other states “on base” as a kid and around people of every type – military people. My parents were of humble origin in West Virginia and Mississippi and my dad’s promotion through the ranks of the Air Force brought a brand new mobility and ability to travel and meet folks and go to school together, play together on teams, and listen to music together.
So, even though I knew John Denver’s “Country Roads” as a sacred anthem of the WV family, I heard every style of music “on base” and my friends were diverse and yet aligned for purpose in the Air Force. I would never trade that experience of officers and enlisted families, people from every state, social class, ethnic origin, and career path all living and working together. It makes for a worldview of openness to other people, varied opinions, and range of music, as I stress daily: WE ALL LOVE OUR MUSIC – and we can share that music joyfully.
My dad’s favorite music is marching band military music. Not a popular genre. But I love that he loves it and I’m a trumpet player of sorts, so yeah, I like it. Powerful stuff. And through time, a lot of military music has signaled war and coming doom on peoples. But this Memorial Day, I celebrate in peace time with my dad, thirty-year Air Force veteran, and with those who love the United States of America. I happily memorialize the thousands of committed men and women who have given their lives for freedom over the years and around the world. When I hear the big bands or the marching bands play patriotic music for my country, I do celebrate the music itself, important, and the message and meaning embedded in our culture.
I thought I would keep moving along and have a different topic each week, beginning with “A Visible Created World” and then “Music is Important” and then….Music is Important 2, 3, and now 4. It just is completely true that music is vital to our lives and underestimated and overlooked in support and planning and (sometimes) quality execution. So I celebrate all music and will keep doing that until the series plays out. Just yesterday, someone had some hip hop beats playing in the car next to my convertible and my passenger was a trumpet player. I said, “What would be cool would be for you to break out your horn and drop this Spanish style trumpet line over those beats out the car window together with his music bed.” That is the “Music is Important” spirit, fun and shared.
Click off the sound on the YouTube video that inspires you. Mute the video ad. Watch the sweeping drone aerial shots of mountainous glory with no music bed purchased by the creator. Heck, even check out the auto insurance advertisement with no music. Imagine that.
If you do really imagine the world with no music, and really do it, there becomes a little rise of desperation that you will notice. Music is so vitally intertwined with our response mechanisms to content we experience daily. Desperation builds around the loss of meaning and reduction of inspiration and failure to communicate any story.
We need music in our lives.
My wife Joy and I watched “The Quiet Place” this week and she had never seen it. What a great pleasure for me to see her hesitantly take in the world of fear, a world without talking and just very low sounds. I won’t spoil this thriller of a movie but I noticed one new thing as I watched it – when the first song that comes on, from an artist I definitely do not appreciate much, it was so welcome, so warm, so homey, and sweet to my ears that I noticeably relaxed and exhaled and rested as it played (in the headphones only in the movie). What a delight to hear a singing voice with so much silence and tension.
If this pandemic has shown us globally anything good at all, it is the need for connection and the longing for interaction through the realities we face all the time of life and death. Music makes that connection more focused and deeper for context and celebration and grieving and thoughtfulness. Maybe the world has slowed down a bit in the past months for you and now you can have time to sit and listen to music. Maybe you can get out those old vinyl records or tune into that terrestrial radio station that plays obscure music down low on the dial and explore people’s stories. I know my adult sons have shared music with me at a higher rate this month.
So, even though it is sometimes that same sonorous soundtrack to inspire your purchase of some cleaning product by sweeping across gorgeous countryside with ambient piano jangling, or the beat that gets you going in the morning without your workout, or the little tune a child stings while working on a project – listen to music. We need it in our lives, it is important, and those who create it are inspired by all of our stories as they create something new from 12 tones and their experience. Listen.
Music is important.
Music is Important
Every day I hear a song that gives me a pleasant memory. I might be in a store somewhere (back when we could be in stores), or walking through my neighborhood, or listening to my family activities in other rooms, and a song will always rise to give me some positive feeling daily. I will remember where I was when I first heard it, or who I was with, or that one special night with friends before or after the concert. It transports me to that place.
Music is important.
Not just important because it can transport me, but it can lift people from a dark place. It can express when we don’t know how, and it can soothe and smooth the hard spots in our heart or in this life. By now, everyone also knows it helps form the brain better, it opens up pathways with the “Mozart effect”, and schools with music programs tend to do better with student performance than those without arts. Music does a lot of complex and foundational work in human beings.
I’ve written about this a number of times and keep saying it because people keep forgetting. Music is really, really important. This article is about how music forms our view of others and how we interact with each other based on music. When we go out into this “visible, created world” and meet a new person, there are a lot of surface and peripheral things we see about them and begin to interpret who they are by this. We take our experience of who we have met in the past that look like them, or talk like them, or do the same job they do. We can get a few facts about a new person and start categorizing them into those people we want to spend time with and those we don’t.
Music is categorized like that too online, but music itself is above all that – it speaks to us, brings us new energy, and new friends. Listen to the score of your day and see if you can expand what you know, who you know, and how you listen today. Here is a photo of someone teaching music – one of our greatest gifts.
Music is important.
This Visible Created World:
It was the single most gorgeous photo I ever took. A quick, unplanned roadside stop just entering Grand Teton National Park in Northwestern Wyoming with my family. I pulled over, jumped out, ran to the other side of the car, lined up my old iPhone 6s, and shot a pic. Something in that moment was illuminated, or flashed, in my mind. As I checked the photo on the little screen, I saw it. Unmistakably, this was “the photo” for the trip. Ten crazy days in five states and multiple parks with our family of four – this was the photo. None of us in it.
Just this visible created world.
As a creative person, a musician, a speaker and an educational entrepreneur with the Visible Music College systems and partners and daily work of my life, I would be tempted to write about the “Visible-created world” and the miracle of music education in fundamentally changing artists into professionals or tentative songwriters into powerful voices in culture. But there is something far deeper than a college or song or record label. More than human made items and textbooks and merchandise.
This visible and created world.
I see a greater Artist who has imagined and designed and guided the creation of all things globally. I see the incredible series of captured moments in each life. Each one, created and meaningful. I see a global connectedness of these stories and persons that unfold into larger narratives of community and support through an often troubled and tenuous personal existence. And we are all creators. Yes, it is most obvious in the musician or the potter, but we also create food and finance and family. And gardens, and businesses, and healthful people. We, as little creators, visible to each other, outside our sacred spaces, reverberate in our daily connection to one another just as Bonhoeffer intoned the meaning of “the visible community” some 80 years ago in The Cost of Discipleship.
Visible Music College is a part of that visible community. We are in and of the visible, created world. We work globally to train artistic people to grow personally and professionally in a dozen places with hundreds of faces and all styles of music and art.
Look long into the visible created world – and embrace it for yourself.
Visible is now in CA
Begin your ministry and career with programs from Visible Music College.
Lying halfway between the major entertainment centers of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Central Coast has a groove all of its own. This puts Visible students right in the middle of golden opportunity.
With access to West Coast touring, independent music scenes, and contemporary church programming, everything is at your fingertips.
Explore the vast range of music industry and Christian ministry options in the middle of it all with certificate and bachelor’s programs at Visible Music College California.
San Luis Obispo is a treasure of the California coast. It’s full of wonderful people who love the outdoors, the arts, and education. We are a community of local musicians and creative professionals that encourage spiritual growth and practical careers to change the world.
Music Business Major, San Luis Obispo, CA
Located in Central California
I’m Taylor Kotke
I graduated from Visible Music College in 2016. I got a music business degree from the Music Business department. Right now, I live in Los Angeles, California and work for a management production group called Faculty Productions.
We’re a division of Live Nation and we have a pretty broad roster of artists. We have some in the Christian music industry like mosaic MSC. I get to handle the day-to-day operations of them. they’re just about to go out on the road on a co-headlining tour with Bethel music in elevation worship. so we’re really excited about that.
Then we also have secular artists like Sabrina Carpenter, new kids on the block, Lea Michele. We also have a lot of developmental clients that I also get to help grow which is really awesome.
I probably couldn’t have gotten where I am without the the music business degree that I got a Visible Music College. it was really challenging. But it was really applicable. it’s something that you really had to work hard at. but if you put the time in then I think you’ll see your work pay off. so thank you Visible!
“Christian music has come a long way. From church hymnals to the Jesus Movement to Jesus-loving dubstep and hip-hop, we are witness to an explosion of expressions of Jesus in modern music.”
“The 6th annual awards yields a new partnership with Visible Music College, which trains and releases worship leaders, musicians, producers and managers for the Church and music industry across four campuses globally. Visible Music College President Ken Steorts, a founding member of Platinum-selling rock band Skillet, sees the pairing as a natural fit.”
“Visible Music College trains and equips hundreds of young people every year from across the world to create, record, market and perform great original and inspirational music inside and outside the Church,” Steorts said.
“We love and promote all styles of music and deeply appreciate NewReleaseToday’s focus on the real Christian music of our time in every genre! Visible loves Christian music and we are proud to sponsor the WE LOVE Christian Music Awards this year to honor those who are leading the way.”
“Voting is now open at www.weloveawards.com, where fans can pick their favorites in the 24 categories as many times as they want between now and Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.”
Come on out and listen to your favorite Christmas songs at @thecannoncenter! Show starts at 7:30 and admission is FREE!