Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jack Bauer, Runner's World and Buyology

Having a few days on the road this week has allowed me to catch up on a few things. I've been able to catch up on my Jack Bauer, I mean 24 watching (very important) as well as my Runner's World reading plus I've nearly finished a book I just borrowed from Jess called Buy-ology. Which reminds me, I had some serious muscle tension in my neck and back the other day so Sherri massaged me for a while then I threw on a heat relaxer from Jess/Live Beautiful and man did I feel better. Support home grown business and go buy one here!!

24 has been great so far. We PVR'd them at home (yes my American friends we call it PVR and not DVR, don't ask, I don't know) but my best chance to watch things usually comes while I am traveling which makes the PVR not so helpful in those moments. The internet however can be very useful. I was able to get caught up by watching the episodes streaming at Fox's web site. A great thing to do when your flight is delayed.

Runner's World had some great nuggets in it. I'm feeling inspired once again to work on my core (abs, lower back, etc.) and I'm feeling it today from my first workout two days ago!

Buyology has been an interesting book. I'm not that into sales and marketing but doing what I do there needs to be some attention paid to it. This book is the result of a neuromarketing study where volunteers allowed the author and others to essentially peer inside their brains while they observed or experienced marketing. Things learned so far . . . logos ain't so important, rituals help sell, a black lung warning on a cigarette package only makes the smoker want a cigarette! Very interesting results. Once I complete the book I'll post more about it. Until then . . .



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Midway Airport Chicago

As I sit here at Midway in Chicago waiting for my next flight, I'm enjoying a really good sandwich! I've been here enough that I figure it's time to blog about it. Potbelly Sandwich Works is the place to go if you happen to be here on a layover. Line ups are almost always long but that's because the food is so good. So if you have a decent layover and it's time to eat check it out. Their drink selection is pretty decent too! Nantucket Nectars and IBC Root Beer usually make me a happy man!

On another note, these darn moving sidewalks are frustrating me again!!!! A previous post will explain.



Friday, January 16, 2009

Lessons From Nashville - Follow Up Part 2

In response to some of the other comments here we go!

Kathryn said:

"man and woman in relationship together reveal God"

Is this referring to marriage or just how men and woman are as individuals? and how they each have a 'half' in themselves that becomes a 'whole' when they relate to each other?? I suspect maybe both.
This was a quote from Dan Allender. I think what he was getting at was that when we are in relationship, especially a married relationship we reveal God. When we come together as husband and wife the two become one. This is a mysterious thing that we don't completely understand but somehow, sometimes it makes complete sense. I think this is a window into understanding the 3 in 1 triune God; how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can be one. At times this makes complete sense to me too but mostly I just can't comprehend it. I don't think this was the only aspect of the married relationship revealing God we were to understand but it is the part I took away.

I'd like to also mention another quote I missed and I'll need to paraphrase it as I didn't write it down.
"In a marriage you experience the Hell you won't have to endure and the Heaven you don't deserve."

Holly and mgb were wanting to hear more about creating as a Christian. One quote I had there was from Reed Arvin and it said this:
"There is confusion in the Christian writer between earnestness & soulfulness."
I think it took me a while to understand what he was trying to say. I say that because I fear I won't convey his thoughts well but here goes. By earnestness he is saying that the Christian writer is saying, "I'm trying to convince you by how much I mean what I say, or sing." This almost feels like a sales pitch.

"C'mon, God is really great. Really, He's so good, you'll love Him!"

Earnestness tends to come more from the head than the heart, a way of explaining why you should believe the lyric. Soulfullness however, comes from the heart. It's more of a human to human conversation. Maybe even more of a statement of how you are feeling with no attachment of 'you should feel this too'. I'll attempt to provide an example that ties into the previous one.

"I saw the birth of both my boys, I felt the magnitude and weight of the mountains around me as I once tried to run up one, nightly I hear my wife say "I love you" before I fall asleep. At all of these occasions the greatness of God is so obvious to me."

So rather than try to convince you about God's greatness I tell you from my heart what I know to be great about God. And this I think, is what Reed was getting at. This also is what he feels is missing from so much Christian music.

I hope that gives you some insight into what I learned last week. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to revisit it and hopefully help plant it a little deeper into my mind.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lessons From Nashville - Follow Up Part 1

I had some great comments from my last post and wanted to try and address them.

First off Carla said this:

"Skill has been displaced due to it not being necessary. What is necessary and most valuable today are ideas."

Is that what IS necessary and valuable, or what has been DEEMED as such? Is it referring to musicians or the behind-the-scenes aspects of music production?
This quote was from a "writers retreat" for musicians so that is the context for everything.

This was a quote from Reed Arvin. I'll try to do him some justice here but my words will not be near as eloquent. Reed received his Masters in piano performance so he knows what it is to spend countless hours practicing, perfecting his craft. Nothing can really replace a human playing a piece of music perfectly but the truth is that with technology where it is today the skilled player isn't nearly as necessary.

For instance, I record a piano part for a demo (I am not at all a piano player). It's sloppy, there are wrong notes, it's not quite in time and I wasn't able to play the little 16th note run I wanted to play. After playing it, I select all the notes and choose quantize from my menu in my software and the timing is all lined up. I can then go in and draw in all the notes I wanted to play and delete the ones I didn't! I had a great idea for a part but not the skill to play it. However, with the use of technology that skill is not needed. If I only had skill to play the part and no idea I would be nowhere. I think that is the gist of what he's getting at. Anyone with a Mac has Garageband and with that the ability to make some pretty decent sounding songs. The same is true for video. "Skill has been displaced, ideas are what's valuable."

Next comment, cousin Sue said this:
"Never hurry, never rest." I think I understand the point of what is trying to be said here, but I disagree with how it's stated. Yes we need to make the best use of our time and I agree that hurrying and rushing is bad as it tends to lead to carelessness and mistakes. However, I strongly disagree with the never rest part. I think the Bible clearly gives us a mandate to set time apart for resting. God did it, Jesus did it, we're told to too. Am I misinterpreting?
This was also a quote from Reed Arvin. I have to agree with you here Sue and I think Reed would as well although I can't speak for him. If we think about this statement in relation to the writing process it makes more sense. The idea here is if you always hurry you'll never rest and if you always rest you'll always need to hurry. So the way I look at this idea is that I need to stay consistent in my writing. Spend a little time every day on it. Sort of like training for a marathon. Just a few steps everyday and next thing you know you have a small library of music you can work from. That's my interpretation.

I'll respond to the other comments in my next post!



Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lessons From Nashville

I've ingested a lot of mental material over the past couple of days while attending a songwriters retreat thanks to our label Centricity Music as well as a marriage retreat thanks to Porters Call. Speakers I heard include Reed Arvin, Dr. Dan Allender and artist Cindy Morgan as well as others. I would like to share more about it but I am just too fried right now to dig into it too deeply so here are a few key quotes/ideas I'd like to share for starters.

Concerning the technological revolution going on in music today:

-Skill has been displaced due to it not being necessary. What is necessary and most valuable today are ideas.
-We have less silence than any other humans before us. What kills ideas is the lack of quiet.
Concerning creating as a Christian:
-Christians tend to be distrustful of the deepest parts of their lives.
-There is confusion in the Christian writer between earnestness & soulfulness.
Concerning productivity:
-Never hurry, never rest.
-My talent is only set by how much focused work/time I am willing to put in.
-"It is wisdom to savor what is good."
Concerning songs:
-The verse is yours the chorus is the audiences.
-Songs should always stand without a set up.
Concerning men and women and God:
-Man struggles with not being enough and woman struggles with being too much.
-Man and woman in relationship together reveal God.
-Your face has been grafted by God. Every face reveals His glory. Do you love your face? Can you say it's beautiful?
-4 areas too dangerous to talk about, sex, money, children and in-laws.
I know I kind of left these quotes naked, without explanation. If there are ones you are more curious about mention it in a comment and I'll post more in depth in the coming week.




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