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Logo of GYC 2017: Arise

4. Creating Heaven's Music

James Cleveland



  • December 28, 2017
    4:00 PM
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This message was presented at the G Y C twenty seventeen conference. In Phoenix Arizona for other resources like visit us online at Deb you Deb you Deb you Don she was. Born. Before we have word of prayer and asked the Lord to be right here in this place as we talk about music our Father in heaven thank you for this awesome group of people that have gathered here young people that want to write the music of heaven and Lord as we talk about this subject that is so exciting to all of us here I just ask that you would come in your presence would be here and that you would teach us and that you were the words that are spoken will be your words and your ideas will be given in Jesus' name amen. Well I'm truly grateful to see so many of you here and I hope that that means that there are so many musicians and haven't just church that want to learn how to write better music how many of you have never sang a note in your life or never played a note on instrument ever before please raise your hand. Yes OK We're all musicians we can begin let's do it OK. The first thing we're going to talk about today first question I want to ask you is what is music and really quickly go type and password which is really long and awkward so you're missing. Yes OK. Thank you for bearing with me so. First the first thing I want to talk about is what is music before we even ask a question and tell you a little bit against it in front of they're going to tell you a little bit about myself so that you are going to India of who you're going to be listening to because you have to take what I'm going to say with a grain of salt so I mean give me that grain of salt to take what I'm going to say with OK and that is what I was probably two years old the first song I could ever sing was the Star-Spangled Banner and that was because Dad was American and we grew up in Canada and he made sure that his son even though you was in a foreign country for and be in Canada and that he knew the national anthem so the first Saw you ever give saying was the national anthem and I still know it and I also know the Canadian and I want you to know that through very Canadian So that's just a little thing but anyway when I was four I got my first violin and I begin violin lessons and I've played violin ever since I continue to play the violin where I work and it's a love thing about super awesome. Probably when I was about eight I remember we're going to a road trip one time with my family and. There's different ways to pass the time doing road trips and nowadays with the hunt of the phone and the tablet it's become very interesting but back in the day when I was young we would take blank pieces of paper and draw staffs on them my brother and I in the backseat the car and we would write songs and not even kidding you and it would be just nonsense songs and notes would go everywhere and I didn't really know what I doing and when we would stop to get fuel that would sing the songs back to us and it was we just thought it was the most hilarious thing we try and write stuff that was too hard for him to say we're trying to write stuff that's too fast but the truth is that was where a desire to write music and I. In music writing and music really it's started to show. When I was twelve years old I my dad worked it found a Cademy for many many years and he in the music department there he had students writing orchestrations for him and one day my gramma gave me an old computer and I thought you know I could put finale music reading program on my computer I mean I could write an arrangement so I sat down at the office I got it off the shelf I went home I put my computer and I started writing arrangement I wrote. What does it know I did. I wrote to him and arranged to him for orchestra and ladies trio and I called my dad about two weeks later and I said Dad should come check this out he came into my room and listen to it and he was like well in the world is going on here he said why don't you come down to the office and like do it for real in your bedroom you know so I came down to the office I don't think Pete and I started writing arrangements and from then on I've been writing I've tried counted up probably around twenty two arrangements for forecaster and choir so far from that and not workers in choir orchestra and different vocal arrangements quartet trio and so that event that kind of. Opportunity I guess you could call it led me to after I graduate from high school and after I went to college I got a job working with my dad aggregate Lakes abscessed Academy in Michigan and that's where I live now and where I work and up there we up there you know in Michigan it's kind of far north. We have an orchestra and a choir there and I have the privilege of teaching symphony there every day it's I absolutely love it during the day I write the arrangements that we work with we do recordings of our group and we video it's super super fun and I absolutely love my job and so that's why this seminar to me is super super fun because this is exactly what I do all day long and I get to talk to you about it and hopefully you guys are interested in it like I am and if that's the case we're going to get somewhere today so to our question What is music they want to volunteer and answer to this simple question What is music. No putting them on so I was going to have an answer. Harmonious sounds that please ear thank you very much OK Does anybody disagree with that answer. I hope someone does. Nobody disagrees anybody have a different idea OK. Music was not always harmonious what you mean by that can you elaborate a little bit on that. Does not harm me OK OK Good point good point anybody else want to guess. OK So music can be strident and ugly OK Is that really music though I don't know is it well what about what about you know here that is a tree falling in the middle of the forest really sound well is the tree falling in the middle of the forest music even if you can hear it is that music about a big dog V eight revenues that music I've been so having Vivaldi it was awesome OK but is it music what is music anyway it's like we have to look the reason I'm talking about this is because if we don't know what music is how coud write music how do you how do you know how can you write something you have no idea what it is and it's obvious to me that we have some idea what it is I'm not saying we don't know what it is but. What about. What about I'm just two notes in a row is a song. Now here's the thing if I do three notes. Or four notes. What goes next little star exactly OK And so it doesn't take it doesn't take much to get the mind on a song so as to know it's a song These are the kind of things we're going to talk about because it's interesting how little of a little music is music right. Now on the question is what is good music godly music OK. And the other ventures. Yes. Yeah. OK now that I had ventured that you could connect with people in a superficial way negatively Yeah OK so when I talk about good music we have a problem because this word good I have a problem with at least once people it was like good music I'm like now you're asking the wrong question good music is super super super ambiguous because I could ask you what's good and I could ask you what's good and it be two different things because good is a relative term and it's in this relative term we're trying to describe to a word good music that is we're trying to use the word good to describe something that we're having a hard time even describing in and of itself you know saying so there's obviously this is what is good music that's a difficult question to ask so maybe the question isn't what is good music what if we ask the question what is going to bring the why are you writing music OK why are you doing music because I believe if we can figure out why you're writing music then you can figure out what is good music and what kind of music to write OK so I got this quote. You have it success in any line demands a definite aim OK And I think this applies to music too we need to have a definite aim of why you're writing music to have success in writing music to make sense. So for me the reason I write music is because I want to honor and glorify God with the music and I want people to be drawn to him to music there are lots and lots and lots of reasons to write music you could write music if you want to become really popular and then you're going to write different music to do that OK to take for instance there's a lot of him in the him know that people don't really sing very often but they have some profound truths in them if you read the poetry you like in the world why don't we sing this more or it's because it's not a say it's not a it is not a very universal song Everybody wants to sing it and so it just gets hidden away well that person probably wasn't writing that song to be world famous they were writing that song because it had a message and that's one point if we have a message to write about then it's going to determine how we write our song and I'm just warning you right off the bat it may not be a million views song on You Tube or whatever OK So I'm saying we have to remember why writing music now. Like Hill is set in his first seminar we're we're writing music and we're seeing music because Jesus loves us he told a story of a little girl and he asked why she was seen and she said the same for Jews because he loves me so early. It's like oh OK snout like that's why she's singing and she knew why she was singing music so what do we know we're sitting down. Let's remember this verse here I was going to read Revelation twelve nine a great dragon that is the old serpent called The Devil and Satan which to cvs the whole world he was cast out onto the earth and his pain jewels were cast out with him. Why do I bring this up well. We know from Genesis Satan wasted absolutely no time in starting his work in deceiving once he got to the earth right like it was right off the bat but check out this quote I don't know if put on the screen yes I did hear it is the Angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ and prostrate themselves before him poured out their love and adoration now but this is in the context of Lucifer rebellion in heaven he has rebellious thoughts in his head God gathers the whole together it's like wait let's have a meeting and this is what's happening OK Lucifer bowed with the angels but in his heart there was a strange fierce conflict truth justice loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. The influence of the holy angels seemed far for a time to carry him with them as Songs of Praise ascended in melodious strains swelled by thousands of glad voices the spirit of evil seemed vanquished. Utter bull love thrilled his entire being his soul went out in harmony with the sinless worshippers in love to the Father and the Son This is Satan you guys this is a rebellious heart is going out in love and adoration to God Why because music is being sung by all heaven to me that's that's freaks me out personally because guess what we are on this earth Satan's on the earth he's the deceiver he knows exactly what the power of music can do and he's not stupid so just be careful guys when we're going to write a song Guess who's going to be there looking over your shoulder unless you ask God to be with you while you're writing OK I'm not just using scare tactics I'm just saying this guy knows what music what good music is like he knows what bad music is like and he's out to get us to write bad music that's just the simple truth so what's what's the solution what's the solution to this problem there's also of course the him that we all know very well I think it gives answer very beautifully it's just turn your eyes upon Jesus look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and His grace. We all know the song and this yet it's such a powerful truth look turn your eyes to Jesus and the things of earth will go strange then that is the simple answer I'm going to quote Ellen White says and for selected messages Christ is our example Bobby holding him we are to be changed into his image from glory to glory from character to character this is our work God help us rightly represent the savior to the world and that's what we're doing with music we're representing If we're right Christian music we're representing Christ to the world and it's a sacred work that we're doing OK. Luke says for out of the balance of the heart the mouth speaks. It's a big music is and as an expression of the heart writing music is the expression of your heart it simply is and if your heart is in tune with God I believe that the words and the music you write will also be heavenly music OK. Give me an example of what I'm talking about because one time when we used to work it found you we're doing a concert with it is written in Alberta and we're doing a seminar a series of meetings with John Bradshaw revelation and they invited us to come and do music with them every night so I mean I would do music with with for John Bradshaw and with Charles Hogg works there was kind of funny he's a crazy guy if you know Charles how to books but now he's a he's a case to work with it's really fun but anyway we there's a song that Dad wanted to to do for the seminar or for the medium excuse me and that song was Victory in Jesus and we had a. An arrangement of it that we kind of liked but we didn't have music to it so dad was like why don't you write this for me James and we're like I'd like to play this so on the way there I arranged the song out and we printed it when we got to the church practice that night and the next night we performed it and it was a really fun song like one of my classmates to this day they tell me that was the most fun I've ever had playing the bass because it was a very very upbeat song and but the problem was at the at the end of the. At the end of the meetings we do the song every every time and then the meetings and I remember near the end of the session people would start clapping with the music and waving their arms in the air and that's not wrong in and of itself but the problem was that wasn't what we were trying to do with our music and so when you start getting people clapping to the rhythm music waving their arms in the air and that's not what you're trying to do with your music then you are not doing the right kind of music it's really simple and that's why it goes back. Why you're writing music because you're writing music to make people get excited about music start dancing around and and on fire about music then you need to write and play music like that because that's what's going to happen music has effects it's simple as that. So when we go back to the next year to try to decide you know what music reviewing we chose not to do that song because it didn't produce the results that we're looking for in what we're doing and I tell you that not because I'm like proud of that I'm actually quite sore that we did the song and I wish we hadn't in the past but what you learn from your mistakes and I'm sharing this because I want you to know that your music has a choice on the effects of people that listen to it and it's the same in the right music so we can choose what kind of music we create for people to use you know and even ourselves in writing. So as we start getting into the mechanics of song right I'm going to play a video of this guy and you may have seen this video but he seems to figured out how to write a song and I'm going to play it for you now and we'll see if we can get a little idea of what he's going. I should look at this earlier and it looks like. Change my audio once again. OK. Welcome to the funny top story on. The US First off course. Or you. Would feel if you are. Or. Just first. Or if this is your knowledge or you were searching for the poor. Self From Hell your own if you want your song to sound a little less uplifting you know a little more convict ing try my next favorite minor sixth form first fish. Will never see a comic never got music don't need some praiseworthy when you're expelled the lyrics don't need to be deep they just need to be easy enough so that people can remember them by the second time they get to the course otherwise the worst leader is going to be out there belting out to control everyone else is like. Her. By the way your song needs to rhyme too don't get overwhelmed I've got some worst song essentials right here one start with an easy one how do we go rhymes with polio this particular word is lots of love to be repeated as many times you want in the song and there's no specific rule for. Be creative you know sing a few syllables a couple times first before finishing with a power forty yard. Give you some other easy ones to get you started singing rhymes with King perfect love rhymes with always enough praise rhymes with days and Grace Heaven's Gate rhymes with this place and fire rhymes with desire Oh and don't forget that one thing new song should always be on fire be it our hearts. Our souls this generation are just something we used to be in for use and. You just remember that is perfectly fine if you want a couple words from Amazing Grace just as more cake flew OK So we've got the chords we've got the music now all we need is to read the group is the sort of notice that makes your worship songs sound awesome to create you really find you root chord in the major shape on the guitar and now we see you just move up and down. Try strumming it as a whole or play of brokenness of the link and your song is a. Last hit if you want your song to be conference ready you can't forget the woes All right I think this thing is ready let's go to the Good morning everybody hundreds of God OK here we go you know it. OK. OK. I absolutely love this video for one reason and that is because it is absolutely diabolically satire ical about a serious problem in our church. This I just want to make it really clear OK I don't really go from this room thinking that's how I think you should write a song I do not OK and we're going to look at a little bit you'll see by the end why I hope and we're going to look at some ways that I think we should write music OK And as we get into as we get into more of this session I want to just make a disclaimer really quick and that is that these are my ideas OK I think they're good ideas that's why I'm going to share them with you but they're not the end stop and I don't want you to go from this thinking yes I should I can go write the next Amazing Grace OK That's all I'm saying but I'm saying that these are some serious principles that you should use in your music writing in your music arranging and in your musical career OK So the guy had three main points that he. Three qualities of a song that he said that was chord progression first lyrics and then the riff OK I've kind of rearrange those into strong rhyming lyrics complimentary metal melody line and strong chord progression OK. Those aren't exactly what he said but he did actually have a point and there are those three those things that he said were basics but. It was just different OK. We're going to start with the strong running lyrics OK when we talk about lyrics. And the poetry What do you think is more important in a song the music or the words. OK someone says Are you going to be else. Words OK Good anybody else. Words OK the music OK why do you say that music I said music all right why do you say music music is a language we can only speak subconsciously I disagree I'm sorry but but but I'd appreciate what you said because look at this music. Music attaches to our subconscious OK it takes conscious effort to make music that's what I'm saying OK So and maybe that's not what you meant but I would like to bring that out because what he said is serious is that music goes beyond our conscious and it can affect our subconscious which is powerful and also scary and that's like the deceiver knows that OK I believe the words are more important music and I believe they should come first in writing a song and the reason I say this is because and you'll see by the time we get through how much the the word or the music is affected by the lyrics of your song. A big pet peeve of mine the first thing we're going to look at is. A big pet peeve of mine though is when people say when Lear and poems and lyrics don't rhyme and. I remember in English eleven in high school. When we were going to go to the poetry section of English I really had a little part of me died because we would be reading this these poems and they're supposed to be poems and I always thought poems are supposed to rhyme but apparently no because the didn't and there's some very famous photo and listen I'm not not here to bash poetry that doesn't rhyme you understand that there's some very very good poetry that doesn't rhyme but in general I've I don't prefer that because and there's reasons for that rhyme has power rhyme scientifically puts the mind at ease OK when when it's one of stanza rhymes it improves men memory recall rhyme does and that's important to me because when you're writing words you kind of want them to come to mind later on you know you want people to be able to remember the message you're giving and rhyme helps makes the lyrics stronger and them word stronger that and. In a rhyme when it when a phrase ends with a rhyme that rhyming word because the mind is satisfied with the rhyme and and the conclusion of the rhyme it actually makes that word more powerful so these are a few reasons why I think rhyme is important in our lyrics and I'm just going to give an example here's one of my one of my favorite songs that I think is a great example of there is a river and it flows from deep within there is a fountain that frees the soul from sin come to this water there is a vast supply there is a river that never shall run dry OK it's a very simple idea but a very powerful in the way the two stanzas and with the rhyme and if you want to hear the song you should come tonight because we're going to sing it tonight I think you'll like that OK just a little plug I can't help it sorry. One of my favorite tools is the Source dot com for rhyming and it's not the only one but I'll tell you why it's my favorite because when you're writing my suggestion with with running lyrics is to write your idea out first do not think about stanzas lines rhythm anything just write the idea out then organize it into stanza form OK and then. Then what you do is you start looking at your words and you say OK I need a word that rhymes right but you don't want to change the the content of what you're saying and thesaurus dot com gives you many words that mean the same thing but are different words and so you what I like to do is go through a bunch of words that mean the same thing as a word that I was using and find ones that rhyme you can even choose how many syllables a word has another one I didn't put up on the screen but rhyme Zone dot com is an excellent resource for rhyming lyrics you can put in a word there and it gives you many words that rhyme with it and that's helpful too so this is some ways that you can you can put rhyme in but I would like to see you. Point out that it doesn't have to run. I'm and there are times where scenes composers purposely not rhyme the end of phrase because what happens when you don't rhyme something if you have been rhyming continually through your stanza and then boom a word doesn't rhyme your mind can be like well what happened there and so if you want to be careful with this because I don't want you to go writing in Exxon's like do do do do do and I doesn't rhyme at the very end that's not the point but if a word you want to stand out and the word is not. I don't there are some words that just I wish I had an example of a real show I got an example but the thing is when you don't rhyme it creates unrest and therefore your body wants something to resolve and so if you haven't you don't rhyme and then you do rhyme it puts power on that one that doesn't rhyme and even more power on the one that does because it creates a resolution to your body it's crazy how our bodies work with this the next aspect to this to lyrics that I would like to bring out is meter and meter is the the. The flow of the poem and the last song there's a river that I put up it didn't have a very strong meter but it did have a rhyme and I'm going to put one up that we probably haven't seen a lot recently Oh before I move on the last words the better this is another thing with the Source dot com As you can find words that mean the same thing as even phrases and you can really condense that's one of the beauties of poetry is poetry versus an essay you can say almost the same thing you want in a poem as you do in a six page essay if you're careful about it because poetry is just packed full of stuff and so it's dangerous it's hard to do well but it's super powerful and I would encourage you to think of how you can condense what you're saying and not be so worried because we're the songs they don't go places because they're just worried if you say what you're going to say in a concise form with nice word with nice music to it it's powerful OK So this is another one that has a good meter to it away in a manger no crim for a bed the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head the stars in the bright sky look down where he lay the little lord jesus asleep on the hay you can feel the little to it and it has a rhythm to it and that's easier to put to put a melody she because it has a consistent rhythm OK So these are things that. You can use to make your lyrics not only more powerful to the audience. Easier to write music to. Even more importantly than strong rhyme and meter though is that your words actually say something this video we watched you said something in there is really interesting you said you'd words don't have to be deep did you hear that did you catch that I don't agree with that at all when he's saying just throw holy as many times you want no don't do that that's not music that's just saying hop Don't get me wrong holy is important here we can praise God for music Amen we need to praise God in their music but how Leah five times in a chorus that's not praising God of the music that's just being obnoxious like that's that nobody wants to sit around and hear that I'm just being that's that's just what I'm saying OK. There's a profound quote that. Those who stand for nothing fall for anything this is a hard thing in writing music OK. Because it's not popular to write lyrics and write songs that have deep convicting spiritual truths it really isn't honesty. In fact it's one of the reasons your song will probably not become a Samus as you might want to but I will say here if God wants your song to reach millions of people he is all powerful and he will do that OK and I'm not saying that if you oh if you're going to write something that's really good it's not going to go anywhere that's not I'm saying I'm just saying because it's it has solid spiritual truths it makes it naturally that the world does not cling to that because of the mind the carnal mind wants carnal things the Spiritual Mind wants spiritual things but by the grace of God Our Spiritual Songs can attract the carnal mind and make them think twice about what their lives are like and what the mirrors in the music that we're talking about has to speak. But I want to play a video here that's really. Kind of disturbing to me and it shows why this what I'm talking about is such a big deal so I'm just going to play this for you and it's kind of self-explanatory How do you ever ask yourself why is there such a steady decline of the use of the church you know in your local churches and in their place pretty popping got that are basically singing just never feel logically neutral party songs it's all part of what they call the end get medicine music listen closely now to my one on one interview with here person. Who is magic really do all. This together and I'm going to do you I mean could you tell them. My name Jennifer to see you know Kim of the National Service Committee for Catholic aromatic Rylander you know. Here. Cairo's twenty seventeen ecumenical conference with. Leaders from all the nominations are now free of Christianity just to fellowship to celebrate. Thank you manacle movement in the United States. And there was a statement that you made in the past and I thought it was pretty profound toys and you said something about ecumenism of music. That we were sure we you know one of the things that we can do even though we're from different denominations or you know a different faith tradition is the music we sing. You know in my house so you know we have better music we have in a process of prim you sick and we have music from our different streams find those songs when Hillsong you know you absolutely and I and so you know one of the ways that we can be united one of the ways that we can start breaking down and be in relationship with people about the peace is through the music we singing together in worshipping the Lord through that music worshipping the Lord. Jesus Christ as our Lord we worship and through them using and that and that itself begin to build bridges that I command of you literally absolutely want you worship the Lord together no matter what fifty addition you are there was by stark and the Holy Spirit is the unifier Cygnus the divine or I'm a we can be you know the more the Holy Spirit has a try hard the more you know that we can. And there you have that through that avenue of the active menace is a music it has been the study design of Satan himself to execute with remarkable person this insidious agenda to build some type of bridge of the ocean by which all Abrahamic systems of faith can be united I mean think about if you think of the Pentecostals thing in the same songs that the Baptists are singing and the Baptist are now thinking the same songs that the Church of Christ the singing and the Church of Christ missing in the same songs that the Jews for Jesus are singing and the Jews for Jesus are singing the same songs that the Seventh Day Adventist I think at the Seventh Day Adventists are singing the same songs that the Catholic or is magic so singing then why can't they all just sit down around the campfire and sing Kumbaya together. Present or for this guy hit he went to this Seventh Day Adventist and he went to this conference to two months ago and that man here interview is like you said he's the president of the charismatic Catholic renewal renewal in the U.S. and they're having a meeting and like I said this idea of music is not some random thing this is like a planned out deal by some big people. And I'm afraid this is exactly what's killing music and churches today and. It's hard because this is not an easy thing to think about to talk about because we like to think that because we're Adventists we're doing the right thing but not every having to church. And I say that you know what I mean it's not universal to sing to him No it just isn't anymore and. The thing the thing about this is that if you're going to sing a song. Universally. You cannot have any absolute doctrine in it because then how can the Methodist sing a song them to sing if it has. If it has doctrine of salvation by faith because some people the method is don't exactly fall the way. And how can we. The thing is what happens is really what this comes down to is that this kind of music is really Catholic in the very sense of it to go this is the definition of Catholic and if you can you broad and wide ranging in tastes interests or the like having sympathies with all broad minded liberal OK. Catholic has Sigma attached the church but Catholic means the broad minded I mean how better could you describe praise music today and C.C.M. it's exactly that. I don't know how else to say it and the problem is I'm not here to dash and bash C.C.M. you understand I hope but there is a lot of C.C.M. that could use bashing into OK It does not need to be sung when it doesn't say anything that anybody also have a problem with it by nature our music should say stuff in it that other people of other face wouldn't feel uncomfortable singing in their churches and I don't mean that because we're stuck up and we have to be like different No it's because our music if you're writing music of heaven and you're writing the music because you want to glorify God it will be Christ like and Christ is. Well let's just put it this way other churches don't want the full truth in their church it's just simple as that and if your music is full truth. It's not going to be welcome there and the thing with this kind of music is that it is welcome there and so therefore it nationally I mean I don't you have to tell you the natural conclusion is that it doesn't have it doesn't have a backbone of and doesn't have doctrinal backbone and it will want to music just be successful right and stand out at least I do I mean I'll be honest I've all my music to go ever like go farm day but my suggestion to you today it's to think about is that by standing up for something in your song it will make your song actually stand out and they will not be the way you want to be standing out but I believe that's why God wants me to stand out as you stand up for something in your song. And then give you an example of some very bold and powerful lyrics something that I think is absolutely anti-Catholic and in the sense of its word and I think it actually is anti catholic and. In the other sense of the word but this is by the light of burning martyrs Christ I believing feet we track toiling up new Calvary's ever with the cross that turns not back new occasions teach new duties ancient values test our youth they must upward still and onward who would keep abreast of truth that is packed that is packed I love this song so much show this last last two lines they must upward still and onward this is talking about the youth and talking about the Christian we must keep up with and onward if we're going to keep abreast with you if we're going to keep up with Chris we've got to keep pushing we've got to keep pressing on and this is the same thing in our writing our music you can't sit back and just write so let it all song if you're going to keep abreast with truth truth is marching on like the battle hymn says and I believe that we are going to write good music that glorifies God we're going to keep pressing on too because you can't just sit here and write music and expect your music to be keeping up with truth because truth is marching on. Now we know you're here to write music not write a good poem so we're going to start talking about the actual music part of it but I think it's important like we've talked about a song starts with a solid poem and some solid words because and but I will I'm going to stop here and make a little aside and that is there is powerful instrumental music you may be thinking of James I don't write poems. For the I don't really like writing poems either I'd much prefer to write the music but. Instrumental music is interesting because it's it can speak without words. And it's powerful in and of itself and I want you to be encouraged if you feel like you want to write instrumental stuff some of these principles we're going to talk about apply and you can even have have a lot of a lot of music that's just instrumental will have text that goes along with it on a few new but of all these four seasons he has text that's written at the top of each of his of his movements and it you know it talks about winter the one of the winter movements. I've played it many years ago but it has the strings or plucking Well the text that goes with that is sitting in front of a warm campfire in during the winter Well where have all the was in the road winter it was not in a place that snow it was just it would rain during the winter kind of like London you know just there's different places where it doesn't snow and so you get that feel through his music but my point is music does not have to have words but I will put out there that if you can it if you want to have a good impact on your audience the words can speak volumes I mean it goes without saying words speak but but the words along with the music the music becomes. A ship that carries your lyrics into the mind into the heart where you can't go by speaking because your mind is automatically. Close it has a filter on it and even when I'm speaking to you especially since I bring up something controversial your mind goes just wait wait I got to got to think about this like this is this is this is on the on come to with if you don't come to something but your guard goes up and you will not actually get everything that I say because it'll go through a filter of what you want to hear and I'm not that's not bad that's what happens to me that happens to everyone but the thing about music is it takes your lyrics that you want to say takes the vessel goes into your mind and not being creepy but it bypasses a lot of that and it goes right in and the music and the words excuse me by the means of the music can penetrate the mind so much deeper and that's why music is super super awesome and super super powerful because we have a way of getting into people's minds and a way of influencing people like nothing else and I mean I grew up doing musical concerts all my life and I can see it time and time again people by that you can see them coming and they kind of like going to hear some nice music today you know and they and their people come to concerts for different reasons you know I'm going to take my wife out of the concert or my girlfriend whatever Have a nice evening together or you can come because like Sabbath evening Vespers concert I'm going to you know close the Sabbath together with my family and for whatever reason they come and you can see them kind of stoical but by the end of the concert every time every time at least five people came at least five people have a completely different reason for being there and if you were to do another concert they would be there for a lot of different reasons and that to me speaks volumes of why we do this because we're we're coming to do music to save souls and if we can speak messages of truth to their hearts and change their way of thinking it's super powerful. So when we talk about talk about melody melody. In and of itself by definition must be. Must be complementary to the lyrics and we talk about going to go on to complementary melody one number two here and the first thing is lyrics influence and malady. And that's why we started out talking about lyrics and went so into depth because once we have a good lyric line then we can write a melody. And the melody will fall where it's I'm going to play. One second that's not supposed to look like that supposed to look like that. OK Can you still see the score somewhat. Trying to make this little bigger right this is that it's upset there we go OK this is an excerpt from Handel's Messiah OK it's every valley the tenor aria and one hundred years ago to play the story I want you to fall on the music because this is one of the most vivid examples of what I'm talking about that I can find and basically what I want you watch is how the words that he's singing. Directly influence the way that the of the melody goes I'm just going to point out a couple things before we play a song so you could be listening to as we go. You know to the very first thing. Basically it goes up like a mountain and then it's kind of smooth and it goes down for low and. OK And then. It's crazy like it's so vivid I'm going to play a you don't hear me sing I'll just play this guy. Ah. Isn't that crazy that is what I when I first saw it was when I was doing theory class and it was like what this is crazy Now if you may be like James I don't really like off OK that's fine you don't have to like opera Nope sorry. You don't have to like off to get to use this principle in your music writing for instance we got to the river as a phrase in there and the beautiful the beautiful. That phrase there it's kind of like a winding river I don't know if you never noticed it before but the beautiful beautiful river again love lifted me the word lifted goes up why. Me Why would you sing love. Like that is you make any sense if we laugh at it we laugh at it because it just doesn't make any sense but someone thought of that when they wrote that at least I hope they did because if they didn't that was really genius but the point is that the words in the song should have a direct influence upon what you write because it matters it matters OK now the falls the inflection of the voice. Cam going to be really brave here does anybody have a volunteer anybody. OK Have you ever heard the song before good OK I want you to read this this stanza out loud to write just take a minute to look at it how many of you know what the song is I've heard it OK All right so I want you to read this this poem. Very expressively OK can you do that for me. Then I stronger OK go ahead no. He. Was. Good and the last one. Good job thank you very much that was a fantastic OK now check this out I'm just going to point out a few things that he did without even knowing about the end of coming what he did to the end of coming coming it goes down doesn't. I just heard the trumpet sounding It's like the something interesting going on and I heard it he didn't say I just heard the trying to sound you know I just heard the trumpet sounding and now his face I see so I was going to play what this actually sounds like the music today. So what's really interesting is that how many of you noticed the trumpet in the arrangement good OK we're going to talk about arranging here in a bit but that of a man like as a ranger when I hear that it's like a prison lore that just needed to be there so badly OK So when we when it let's just take this last line for example Kay praise God he's coming for me why not go praise God. For me why not because someone wanted to emphasize the word coming OK So what do you do they made a minor seventh jump in the in the line. And that. The tension interval brings tension to the way that the word is brought across and as one hundred percent more power because it. Mean for me and a mix of beautiful cadence to the end of the song. And it really gives a satisfying feeling OK So that's one example of. Of how the melody and the inflection of what you're saying. Is important to the way you write your melody. Now it's interesting. In general one of the principles. Is the End of phrases and with a downward pitch because most of the times you don't end the sentence say you know how are you doing tonight it's like that's kind of life yes a question you do that's true I should use a different example I'm doing well what I'm doing well you always inflect down because that's just naturally how we talk even the last sentence I just said it ends with a downer inflection you hear that and you're not going to do you not going to end the phrasing like it can even give an example I just feel so awkward you don't do that and that's the same in song where you don't end a phrase ending up it just is weird like but but check this out we're going to play an example. Of more stories blessings OK And the thing is blessings is she says two phrases we pray for blessings we pray for peace yes I know the song generally OK now if I said we pray for blessing it ends down here the down reflection that I gave it that's naturally and we pray for peace it goes down also but you know because you know the song she doesn't do that she put we pray for blessing why does it go up because the phrase isn't done yet you wouldn't go down because that's too conclusive so she gives she purposely does something that's not normal so that when you sing we pray for. It feels more satisfying OK let's go listen to it really quick so you know I'm not just making this up. OK time out so you can use this this idea on purpose OK Now another thing to consider is your vocal range I don't know if you ever thought about that but that's kind of important the the national anthem like I talked about the beginning the national anthem is notoriously horrible for the spoken range as an eleven note range in it and if you had to sing it and you start in the wrong key really wish you hadn't by the time you have to start the thing really low in order to get it right OK Take for instance another song we've just been saying recently Angels We Have Heard On High that only has a five no range and you think only five notes Yeah it only needs five notes to be a song like I'm just being serious now in the future carefully you need more than two K. There are songs only have two notes for the whole song at and it just goes up and down up and down that's I suggest you use a little bit more creativity. But but be careful how much you read your range in an octave jump Be careful with those you don't need to do those very often the minor seventh that he did. That's about the most you want to do and you do that on purpose because you give power to that but if you jump more than an octave it's hard for the congregation and unless you're writing very specifically for a soloist that you know can do that if you want the congregation to enjoy singing your song I suggest you try keeping intervals a little bit smaller OK that's just a thought the general vocal range that you want to look for is about an A to E. and that's it's generally universal through. The male and female and females an octave above OK but. It's pretty low for for like congregational singing and you're going to you start to stretch people going past that so just keep that in mind make a note of it when you're writing because honestly there are so many songs that could've gone places of people who put a little bit more thought into how it's going to what is going to take to actually sing this song in real life so they're now speaking of key the last thing we're going to talk about core progression now we're going to be honest is the hardest part of this for me because I play mostly by ear OK I read No it's very difficult how many of you read notes only when you're playing piano only read notes my ex and how many of you can not read notes at all on the piano and only play but you're. Going to have one two three how many of you mostly read or play but you're OK good some home friends get. So it's hard for me to like explain the. Like like the guy said he jokingly said you just need first fifth mine or sixth fourth and what does that mean to you Well it means what he played that's that's just like that's a baby chord structure OK you don't what he was being obviously was satire OK it's. You can do so much more please. So I'm not going to tell you what chords you should use and I hope you're not disappointed because you can't I can't you need a melody first the chords fall the melody you can't like oh I'd like to use this chord progression my song how do I make it the melody float on top of that I don't suggest you do that because honestly it's going to have way less power because a chord progression is never used more than once except in music I'm just saying OK prison music honestly there's a lot of corporate actions that are pretty much exactly the same and I'm honestly I've heard people singing like humming and playing a song with piano and I'll be singing like. Actually he was one classmate in college and he was playing the piano one day I saw him and I was in the kitchen and I was singing look. Words along to it and I when I sing it to him he comes out and he's like That's not the song I was playing I was like well yeah totally was like it works and that's the thing it's like some of these songs they're so much alike it's just almost impossible to separate the two from each other and I'm not saying that's a bad thing but if you write a powerful melody it deserves a powerful chord progression and it can really be strong so it's going to look at a couple principles really quick that you can use to in your writing first thing as chord influence is the mood of the song big time OK It is a sad song you sad chords if it's a happy song fast and happy chords OK It's really simple but a lot of times people use sad chords when it's a happy thing and that's the biggest and you don't usually find people using happy chords and sad songs because that's just stupid but honestly people forget all this is a joyful thing and there's like doing like new and it is like this if it's a happy song like second coming songs all the early Abbot songs are so upbeat and so happy the chord structure why because people were thrilled that Jesus was coming in just a few years. You know I mean and. With me I mean coming soon I'm going to write a happy song about Jesus coming on to do as minor chords please it's just it doesn't make any sense. Check out the intro to the song I want you to see how the chords set the mood for the song so amazingly. So that all makes me want to slave labor and it's like oh it's so relaxing and that's the point because the Bed time prayer it's so beautiful the way he just like the ranger It's and that's the thing as we're coming into this arranging part arranging of a song has so much to do with how you do it you can write a song and you can completely change the mood of the arranging but die. If you don't need to. Want to play another song there's another excerpt from Handel's Messiah this is suddenly what there was of the angel OK this is a way pretty glorious deal going on here it is born angels come to the shepherds are like suddenly there was an angel and they said Glory to God It sounded like. You feel like the excitement and I love the first bit of it and it's completely and I just love it so much listen to that let's listen to the angel wings in the orchestra it's so cool. To hear that there's like thousands of them it's like just as a musician I just like so awesome Handel tried to write Heaven's music literally they will sang glory to go on the highest channels like we got have music for that has not in the Bible and so he did it and I don't I think that's so profound like. Think of it when we get to heaven I mean I know this song and they and was like no no this is how it actually went and it is and they sing our like we like fell so far short heavens music is so far beyond us it's absolutely incredible and the thing is Thing is though is it's really to really interesting point is that is that you can write. The bottle the Bible is powerful lyrics I don't know if you have already songs lately but songs are poetic I'm just saying and the thing is is it's powerful to think of how the Bible lyrics come into life like I just appraised learn to handle even tried that because that's a that's a say that's a pretty big big job and I think I think the world really blessed and that whole messiah who wrote in twenty four days that's crazy twenty four days like to write a three hour piece of music very seriously that's crazy. But now there is one quick thing I'm going to show you about these two songs and that is how the chords of the two songs I just played sinner's prayer and how those are the same and this is maybe kind of surprising to you it's not exactly the same as different key and a little bit different rhythm but the basic chord is really the same I'm going to attempt to play I can play on Angel Wings because that's violins and violins are also but I'm going to so I will plug for violin I'm going to play the basic or progression of the Messiah. You're. I'm saying OK take this quarter and then. And then it goes one more time and then it comes back down to the root. So he basically has the same base note going the whole time. Going to play on time so you can actually see what I'm saying and he can actually believe me OK. So the bass notes. The based out of the whole thing is exactly the same but he takes on the top he goes and. He lifts the top chord while he has the same exactly with what Raybold still going to play his Again really good to. Hear the bass note keeps going. And that's really interesting to me because the two people using the same idea come poll different never going to confuse center spare for the most I'm just telling you right now and why is that it's because the way he uses the rhythm and this brings me to another really important point rhythm is important people like I'm going to and I'm to song it's going to have no rhythm whatsoever you better not because it will go out of nowhere rhythm is super important it's excessive rhythm that's distracting and has a grin Just a lot of problems rhythm is important it changes the mood of the song the slow chords of. Sinner's Prayer gives a very relaxed mood handle I mean it was like the most exciting thing that ever happened to earth so obviously he's going to get a lot of excitement and rhythm going into that and so these are it's a rhythm can change drastically change the mood of the song. Now I'm forced to I have so much exciting stuff to tell you that it's I'm running out of time. But I'm just going to addict and give a couple more points this we're listening to the last thing on the say the chord struck a chord structure or I didn't get consistent. Cadences are an interest. Part of chord progression and basically there's two major kinds of cadences there's a perfect cadence and a playable cadence if you know any music theory you know play Go is you're on that chords for one perfect five one I'll just give you an example of what that looks like. The perfect cadence the five to one is if you're playing the key of G.. Your cadence to the G. or something this. Five and then one OK. That's a very generic and any of the five to the one but it's been a lot of you know the end of like. This is there's like some prayer responses we have to him and instead of being the D. to the G. and B. to C. to the G.. To what we call the on man cadence OK these two different two simple cadences there's a lot more you can and you can do some of them are less desirable than others and that's why they're not used as much five to one is mostly used and she'd go on like tonight and during the during interesting there's a river you'll hear the perfect cadence to use all the time and it's because it's very very strong you build a lot of tension because you have a seven in this court and it wants you to go. There right and so when you add the seven to the five chord it naturally polls to I mean you not going to go from here to like that this doesn't that nobody wants to hear that this has a specific place it has to go and that is if you want to resolve now a lot of people are like and some modern music will come to the conclusion that I actually don't want to have my song ever I'm like oh do you know and the thing is what they'll do is they'll just kind of go like this when you really are supposed to go to there and they just like and the song ends and the words the ending like No There needs to be an ending now here's the thing we've all heard this kind of music and sometimes it's super powerful. A lot of times and the thing is the thing is our bodies are so so so symmetrical that we want what if you start here you want to end here and granted you know the key change and the thing is is when you don't allow the body to have that conclusion you're left in this state of. Where is it and the thing is I can think very very few but the times that's a political it's crazy powerful because it's like there's a song. I was saying and the ending of it says and the story never ends OK well in the vocals it ends the vocals and woman unresolved chord because the story never ends that's what the lyrics say and so that's like I said this the chord progression follows the melody the melody falls lyrics everything is based on the lyrics absolutely everything that's why that's why words come before music because you don't know what you're going to say how can you write that chord progression that doesn't and knowing that you're not knowing that it's going to say the story never ends at the end your song you know I mean so that's why the so cadences five to one very powerful very satisfying OK Last thing as you can see a strong base and I don't mean a sound basis like ripping basic basically to our own I mean but bass is absolutely so important any of your music this one of my favorite chords ever on the piano it's just to know it's based on a harmony. That beautiful super satisfying and it's literally only two notes because that's what's this whole chord two notes is sitting on a big bass Now if I do that same chord up here check this out this is what's going to so horrible. I don't want to sing like I can sing on to this. Touch that has something but here if I did appear it's like how do you can do anything to that because it's just too high and that's the thing is if you. Have a good baseline of your song and I don't buy a good baseline some people say oh my god this epic bass is going to be a bit of it's like no that's not a cool bass like that's just distracting from your lyrics a good bass line is something that you can follow and like in his song. Today and it goes. With the same bass line but then when it changes it is why. It's a lot more powerful because that sustain that is resolved and it changes and because it has because it has a strong bass line it really you can follow it and the chord on top can set very easily the melody you only almost need almost. Sounds and almost be almost only need bass and your melody to go together if your bass is really strong so don't misunderstand me like I said Bass can mean a strong base can mean some different things in different people's mind but what I mean by strong base is I mean sustainable and it's present OK and that also brings me to orchestrating a new or ranging orchestrating a song any song can sound OK out of the ham no I'm going to take one one just bear with me here I'm going to play Silent Night OK just like it mostly is from a key from him oh. OK you know that song. Hope so. But if I'm going to arrange the song My first I'm going to think about is where is this bass going to go because what happens in the him a verse and it's just C.. And G.. And A C C N G There's only two things but if I'm going to arrange this I'm I want the whole point of arranging is to enhance OK I want to write that down if you're taking notes write this down or the point of arranging is to enhance the song if you do any. Ranging to a song the distraction of the song I believe you failed in arranging that song because your point is not to get in the way of the song your point is to make it speak better OK so if I arrange Silent Night and it distracts from the words I failed in writing arranging sound I am saying but a simple thing to night that you can do I'm going to add more paging stuff yeah but my chords are going to be a little bit different just check this out OK. Still see. But instead of going to what I want to do. Just some simple things in the bass line and chord progression make of the song you feel you're following me I could tell he didn't want me to stop when I stop because you're wondering where is this going to go before you know exactly how to tell you how it's going to end because you know it's going to go like this. So. That's how it ends right but if I were to end it with an arrangement it's going to keep you wondering. Oh you see I'm saying and this is not normal but it wants this so much more badly. So I'm saying so it's just really really simple things that you can do to the chords just make it like whoa where did that come from and it makes you rethink a song I had to arrange. My dad bless his heart but sometimes he wants to do songs that are like the old songs and I have no you know I mean and the songs that like Don't you see much is coming. Out it's very upbeat and like exciting songs how do you arrange that I've sat down for many days on the piano on this thing and yet. I get it like we need to do this song it's super awesome but how do I do a range that because it's lots of stuff going on and you don't want to like make an arrangement to get in the way I've heard arrangements of the song I haven't personally arranged that song because I don't have any ideas of how to improve that OK and that's not because it's a bad song it's just it's a very busy song and so how do you get in there like the deal with Silent Night is so open and flowing is lots of time to do a lot of crazy stuff to it and all that you can do too much stuff to it. A little plug if you want to hear actually my range of Silent Night you go to You Tube and Harold I have my arrangement there. I'm for the bed but. The thing we have to realize is when we were arranging a song it comes back to the question we started with why are you writing music why are you going to arrange this song because if you're going to arrange the song too. You can arrange the song to make everyone never forget your arrangement of the song again then you're going to arrange it that way if you had arranged it so the message of night is more strong you're going to write it that way that way it could be many different things and stammer saying. So if you never forget why you're writing music you'll never ever not know how what. And when to write your music OK I really really appreciate you being here and enjoying this time with me I've had so much fun let's just how word of prayer and if you have any questions I'm here for a few minutes I'd like to the thing is after this it's kind of hard because I can go into more detail but unless there's like specific examples I can kind of waste my time explaining details of like my song so if you have a song you're working on an arrangement or working on and I did like I had started you know what to do with this I'm happy to talk have a piano here we can we can hash stuff out so let's ask the Lord to remind us why we're writing music and help and ask him to help us too. Really write the music and let's pray Father in heaven thank you so much for music thank you so much for creating it for us and I just pray that as we as we go our separate ways and go as musicians to write and perform and and sing music that you would you would be with us and you would bless our music or if there are songs that need to be written that haven't been written I pray that you would impress that upon our minds and our hearts are our friends minds to write the lyrics Lord I pray that we can be in heaven and we can meet people that are there because they heard our songs thank you so much for this time together and pray that you bless his own people as they go their separate ways and. This message was recorded at the G.U.Y.Z. twenty seventeen conference arrives in Phoenix Arizona. G Y C support the ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church seeks to inspire young people to be bible based crisis entered and so when Christians to download or purchase other resources like this visit us online at W.W.W. dot she Y.C. Web dot org.


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