What, in the world, does a nerdy, deep-dive Bible Study blog have to do with music production and composition? Give up?
Imagine, if you will, a chubby introverted teen mowing the yard, singing angsty things at the top of his lungs in a glorious, crack-tastic pre-baritone, making lame electric guitar sounds through pursed lips, a raised tongue, and humming through a clenched jaw, all while grinding his teeth inside his head like an internal drum set because he didn’t know what beatboxing was yet.
Got it? Okay, that was me.
What’s funny is… someone eventually married that kid, and now we have children! Ha!
Anyway, my point is, before I discovered the intellectual side of Christianity, music and drawing were what I used to work through my spiritual needs. I have many interests that are near and dear to my heart, and lately have added writing to that list.
Over the last several years, I have discovered that when it comes to my creative outlets, my ADHD needs to be fed, not suppressed. I love writing, I love researching, I LOVE teaching. But one of the things that I’ve loved longer than any of these was making my own music. And being okay with jumping around between interests depending on what interests me at the moment…
… well, I think it’s a good thing!
My pattern seems to be that I go a week or two throwing my creative energy into one thing, exhaust myself on it, and then go to the next thing.
While this is great for me personally, this is rarely conducive to teaching instrumental music in a public school. When it comes to repertoire. Working two weeks straight for 90 minutes a day on one or two pieces of music, making it perfect before you move on…
Yeah, don’t do that.
Trust me… that was me my first year teaching. Ugh.
And imagine if I took this approach with my beginning 6th grade band class. What if I didn’t move on from the first three notes until I was totally convinced it was perfect?
I mean, a flute player trying to go from D to C consistently with good technique… dude, if they get that by 7th grade, I’m happy. Don’t tell anyone, though. 😉
However, I have found that, for me, if I focus on refining a single concept (great tone quality, a specific articulation, etc.) where we can apply the obsessiveness of one concept it to everything in the kids’ folders, then it’s a much better way to go. It satisfies my ADHD brain’s hyperfocus tendencies while also ensuring all of the kids don’t quit immediately. Everyone wins, and no one gets phone calls from parents demanding why they even bothered renting this stupid alto saxophone for Johnny-Poo if I’m such a terrible teacher that the kid just wants to quit immediately and do something else.
I am super thankful that my wife and schedule allow for me to occasionally have periods of time where I can just lose myself in various intellectual and musical pursuits. I have a happy place to which I can go. Anyone who knows me or have been reading my blog for a while knows that I’m typically a pretty jolly fellow; this is in no small part thanks to the fact that I have “me” time. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, part of the cool thing of this “me” time is that I get to think big. I want the best for my students and sometimes what we know is in the best for our students doesn’t always translate to reality in the world of public schools. So being able to think outside the box and obsess about things is a huge boon to solving all of the world’s problems.
My big “thing” in music education is giving kids the opportunity to do individualized collaborative projects. Concerts fit this description, but there are other projects that I think are even more formative and comprehensive. A kid who makes an album of original work and has their classmates play what they wrote… now that’s a project, bruh.
This is why I think having a recording studio in a high school setting, and even a middle school setting, is crucial for unlocking potential in our best student musicians in the 21st century. There’s so much music out there that they love and giving them tools to make their own is so important for our missions as music educators.
That is also why I applied for the recording studio grant back in 2019, and why I’ve thrown myself into teaching myself the basics of music production in preparation for teaching that class next year. (Shameless plug for Recording Revolution, btw… their curricula are fantastic!)
Because my brain loves to jump between projects, for my own sanity, and because I think other music educators should see some of the stuff I’m doing, I’ve decided to coalesce all of my outlets onto the YHWH’s Janitor page. Everything I do, after all, is for the Glory of God. Maybe, while someone reads about my work in music education, they may come across a blog entry that piques their curiosity about Jesus. Vice-versa, a person from Finland or Thailand who stumbles onto my God in the Ancient World series might discover something in my music offerings that bring them joy.
I don’t know what God has in store for me or this site. I’m often frustrated with how the way my brain works complicates the lives of the ones I love the most. I’m not even that great of a music teacher, to be honest.
But I have been given wonderful gifts and this medium through which to share them. So that’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to give the rest to Him.
With that being said, check out my new “Music Projects” Page. I have one project up, and three more in the que for the next couple weeks. I hope my work will bring you joy!
Love you all!