In The Music Studio (Last day!)

Stepping behind the mic is one of the best feelings. Putting the headphones on and hearing the sound of your voice resonate back in your ears. I still get butterflies in my stomach. 

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The music plays clearly in my ears along with the ticking of the metronome. I hold the pad of paper that the lyrics are written on in front of me and take a breath. My heart beats a little faster with excitement and a little bit of nervousness. 

Joel sits in the other room with a window between us with a mic so he can talk to me and give me direction. I "thumbs up" through the window when I like a take. Most of the time he's cracking jokes right before I start singing. (thanks, Joel!)

Too soon we had all of the vocals done and the song was completed. All that's left to do is mix it down and make it into mp3 format so that you all can hear it!

I will be "releasing" (that word just so sounds so professional!) it in the next couple of days on my YouTube music channel so keep checking there for it!

For now, 
Jennifer

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Wielding The Weapon of Music In The Fight For Joy In God

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I'm borrowing from John Piper's book "When I Don't Desire God: How To Fight For Joy" for this blog post. Being a musician this excerpt about glorifying God with music in his book resounded with me because it presents the proper attitude and end goal all musicians should have for their music; to glorify and exalt our great Creator. 

I've loved music and written music for awhile now and I've undergone temptation time and time again to create a song with one's own glorification in mind. Instead, music should be a tool we have been given that is used to represent and give glory to the One who gave us music in the first place.


Fighting For Joy With Sights And Sounds That Humans Make

And of course, words are not the only way that artists waken others to the glory of what they have seen. There is visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film) and there is music. I will not say much here because I am out of my element. What I know about art and music I know from experience, not formal study. I am a witness, not a judge. And what I testify to is the power of visual art, especially music. As it is with creative writing, so it is with these: They have the potential to awaken the mind and heart to aspects of God's glory that were not perceived before. Paintings or photographs of mountains can call forth a sense of wonder and peace. If we are willing to "look along" (not just "at") these picture, as Lewis taught us, our eyes will run up the beams to the Original Glory, and the wonder and peace will rest finally in the wonderful and peaceful mountains and streams of God's power and mercy.


Music,  it seems to me, is the most complex art of all. Who can really explain what happens when music works its power? Its transforming effects are documented in cases ranging from Parkinson's disease to plants. As with all things in nature and in the hand of fallen man, it can be used to reveal or conceal the glory of God--to corrupt the mind or illumine the mind. At its best, music echoes a true perception of some facet of God's glory. The ambiguity of the medium itself, combined with cultural and social and personal associations, complicates the display of that glory in sound. 

I recall reading a story of a tribal person, with no exposure to Western culture, being flown to Europe and taken to a performance of Handel's Messiah. He sat almost the whole time covering his ears with his hands because, as he explained later, it was just so much noise to his ears. That is an extreme illustration of the complexity of communication with music. Nevertheless, the power is there, and it works everyday for good or for ill. My point is that in the fight for joy it is good and right to pursue a deeper sense of God's glory with the help of music.
 

Wielding The Weapon Of Music In The Fight For Joy In God

If this were not right, the Bible would not command us so often to sing (eg., Ex. 15:21; 1 Chron. 16:23; Ps. 96:1) or to play on instruments (eg., Ps. 33:2-3; 57:8; 81:2; 150). Music seems to be into worship and the world of nature. Among the many creatures God has made in his wisdom (Ps. 104:24) are the birds that God has taught to sing: "Beside [the springs]  the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches" (Ps. 104:12). Surely God has not created music as a pointless distractions from rational apprehensions of God. Surely, this too is a part of the creation that is "declaring the glory of God."

To wield music well in the fight for joy we should be filled with the word of God, so that our minds are shaped by biblical truths. If our mind and heart have been molded by the contours of God's character and humbled by the grace of the gospel, we will discern what sounds reveal and correspond to the varied glories of God. And since this depends so much on cultural contexts and personal backgrounds, we will need not only a grasp of musical richness, but also deep theological grounding in God-centered truth, and cultural sensitivity, and an awareness of the dynamics of the heart, and profound love for people of all kinds.

We must make it our aim that the joy awakened in music be joy in God. Not all pleasures of music are pleasures in God. Then the effort to delight in God in music will involve a prior shaping of the mind by the Word, so that the structures of sound that do not conform to God's character are not pleasing in the first place. Then the effort to delight in God through music will also involve a thoughtful testing after the music has already awakened joy. Is this joy, we ask, rooted in something good about God? Is it shaping my emotions into Christ-exalting configuration?  Is it stirring my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at the cost of my own comfort? So before and after music has its immediate effect, we pursue the goal that music us more glad in the glory of God.

 

You can find the full book for free in PDF form, "When I Don't Desire God: How To Fight For Joy" by John Piper by clicking here.

For now, 
Jennifer

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In The Music Studio: Day 2

It's an exciting process to see a song begin to take shape. Slowly layer upon layer of instruments are added and the richness and fullness of a song slowly builds. 

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As much as I'd like to pretend I understand all the technical aspects of what goes into making a song, I humbly admit I don't. Joel will fiddle with the timing of each note after every instrument is recorded and I sit there with a very puzzled expression in my face. I lean in closer to the screen and ask, "What're you doing?" He has a lot of patience to put up with all my questions. ;)

On day 2 of recording we got through recording the intro, first verse and chorus. It's time consuming because of the changes and decisions that must be made. Sometimes lyrics have to be revised. Key changes considered to fit the range of my voice, and whole sections deleted because we want the song to communicate a specific message through the instruments used.

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While Joel relies on Rockstar energy drinks to give him some extra energy, I rely on the creamy goodness of a homemade vanilla latte. 

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I desperately want to rush the recording process. I'm not the most patient person in the world and sometimes I'm tempted to do things haphazardly rather than to go slow and do them right. Recording teaches me patience. ;)

Joel and I getting ready to record!

Joel and I getting ready to record!

Check back soon for day 3!

For now,
Jennifer

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In The Music Studio: Day 1

After a 5 year absence of writing my own music, I'm back in the studio! My brother, Joel (who is a a very gifted musician) has his own studio and I am so blessed to be able to recruit his help to write music and record. 

As I mentioned in my last post, "My Everything For His Glory", I told how the Lord has really been working in my heart in a big way including regarding my music. I wrote the song I am currently in the midst of recording describing what the Lord has done in my heart and what my new goal is for my music. Other than that, I'm not giving anything away about the song! ;)

 

Joel beginning to "think out" the melody on the keyboard! 

Joel beginning to "think out" the melody on the keyboard! 

Eleven years ago Joel was composing music on a keyboard set up in his room.

Eleven years ago Joel was composing music on a keyboard set up in his room.

Joel has been playing music since I can remember. He started out on a midi keyboard in his room and started composing all kinds of orchestral pieces. He took piano lessons for 4 years but he has a style all his own which I am constantly amazed by. 




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Laying down the first tracks. 

Laying down the first tracks. 

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I was looking forward to comparing these two pictures! This is Joel's first studio setup 7 years ago. This is during the recording session of my first song at 13 years old. 

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So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

This recording process is more than just recording a song for me. It's the beginning of giving my passion for music over to Him and using it for His glory. 

Check back very soon for the next post about day 2 of recording!

For now, 
Jennifer

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