Alright, Music Teachers… Let’s Do This. #covid19

As the crushing reality of Covid-19 settles in, I can’t help but be excited, and you, my music educator friends, should be too.  After all, we’ve been training for this since the moment we first picked up an instrument, sang our first note, learned our first song.  We were placed here and now exactly for such a time as this.

Really.

Let me explain.

Two Fridays ago, on March 13th, I had a feeling I would not be seeing my students again for a long while.  On March 8th, Italy had declared a national lockdown and the World Health Organization had declared on March 11th that Covid-19 was officially a pandemic.

So, I kept things normal at the middle school.  The kids played their instruments, working on solos and music for the concert, and my student teacher and I ran things like normal.  When we got to the high school, I let the band kids chill and talk while I got some purchase orders finished up since the deadline for turning those suckers in was that same day.  Can’t lose dat money, yo.

Anyway, at the end of all of my classes, middle and high, I had the kids huddle up before we dismissed.

At the time, the teachers were all going to meet on Monday to decide how we were going to do distance learning (we didn’t end up having that meeting, unfortunately… ).  But I already knew what I wanted them to do.

I told them that now was the time that they needed to step up and be musicians.

We talked about what it was to have a gift.  Making music… that’s our gift.  How many adults have we met in our lives that have expressed regret for not learning an instrument, or not sticking with lessons, or knowing that they couldn’t sing their way out of a paper bag while appreciating the fact that their kid could?

I told my kids that they have the very well-being of our society on their shoulders (… well, I wasn’t that heavy with the middle school kids, but the high school kids? shyeah… they can handle it.  Have you seen their Instagram accounts?… *shiver*).

How many of their parents are going to struggle financially over the next few months? How many of their little cousins and siblings are suddenly going to need babysitting? How many community members are going to be haggard and worn as quarantines and lock-downs grip take their mental, physical, and spiritual tolls over time? As this goes on, how many of their neighbors work in the medical industry, from doctors to housekeeping workers, are going to be stressed, drained, and worn down when they arrive home after hours and hours in hazmat suits and perhaps even terrible triage situations as this winds on and on?

I told the kids… that these people are going to need joy in their lives.

The kids’ neighbors, family, and friends are going to need their souls edified.     

And MUSIC can be that catharsis.

We already are seeing what I’m talking about:

I told my kids that part of their responsibility as musicians is to be good citizens and figure out a way to fight the tide of panic and dread.  Find a battle and fight it.  Share their musical skills and talents using the internet, the open air, the living room, whatever.  Do it!

And you, my music educator comrades-in-arms, are part of this battle.  You are the generals of what could become a rebellion against the spirit of chaos that seems to slowly be rising up.

All across the country, all across the world, YOU have on your email lists, your Remind.com accounts, your Twitter feeds, your Facebook groups… you have an army of musicians that you’ve trained all through your entire career for this very moment.

So… pause your Netflix show, grab a roll of toilet paper and a handful of your favorite Covid-19 memes, and get cracking.

Inspire your kids, your students, to take back the soul of our struggling and fearful society.

Music, after all, is the art of social-togetherness and shared experience.  At a time when we are told to be socially distant, let’s do our part to make sure it doesn’t stay that way.

I love you, music educators.

 

Hiatus OVER! What’s Next?

Hello everyone!

Back in 2019 I posted that I would be taking a hiatus from writing on this blog.  I am a music teacher and I had received a grant to build a recording studio in my high school.  I had no clue what I was doing and needed to focus on that.

Since then, I have learned a LOT! I have plans for the new Contemporary Music class I’ll be teaching next year, I know what a DAW is, I know what an Audio/Digital interface is and how it works, and suddenly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have a lot more time on my hands to refine and develop my mixing and mastering skills.  Woo!

(By the way, if you ever need advice and guidance on sound equipment and how to get started on your own home studio, I highly recommend Sweetwater, and Dustin Keesbury in particular.  He was fantastic and a huge help to me!)

Now that I have that monster more or less under control, I wanted to share my plans for the future of this blog.

The Goal: Write a Book!

This goal of writing a book grew out of a lot of prayer and a desire to help people struggling with the same questions I had regarding science and my Christian faith.  This all started about six or seven years ago when I was meeting regularly with a great friend and mentor, Matt.  He and I had been meeting to study the Bible and discuss Christian apologetics.

He inspired me with the strength of his character and his insightful approach to the Bible and how we should apply it to all aspects of our daily lives.  I’d always wanted to write, to teach, to serve others, to wrestle with tough questions; why not write a book as a tool to do all these things?

I resolved to write this book, but it was only going to happen with God’s help and guidance.  I felt wholly unprepared and unqualified because… well, frankly, I’m not a writer by trade, I was unfamiliar with the subject matter I wanted to write about, and daunted by the task of trying to fit it all in very busy home- and work-life.

A recipe for success, right?  🙂

But God helped me in addressing all these concerns, and now, here I am… writing this entry!

The Purpose and the Plan

The questions that started all of this were:

What about ‘that guy’ on the desert island who’d never heard of Jesus or God?

Is there or has there ever been such a person?

Is God truly Just for letting this person go to hell if he’d never had a chance to hear the Gospel?

While there are very good (and brief) answers to these offered by Christian apologists and philosophers like William Lane Craig and Frank Turek, I kept pressing and asking, well, what if this? What if that? (I’m obnoxious like that)

So in November of 2017 I developed a plan to write the book.

  • Year 1 and 2 – Research and Practice writing using a blog
  • Year 3 – Write the first draft
  • Year 4 – Edit/Revise toward a final draft
  • Year 5 – Seek editors and publishers, or figure out how to self-publish

I am now in my third year, and I’m ready to start sharing my findings.  The answers I discovered were surprising and ultimately quite satisfying, but in the process they enriched the way I understood Jesus’ mission, Christianity as a whole, world history, my faith, and how big my God truly is.

My purpose for this is to provide a resource and food-for-thought to both Christians and non-Christians, especially missionaries, apologists, and anyone interested in history, science, or religion.  I studied several topics and I hope people will find them as fascinating and rewarding to study as I have.

Here are some of the topics: 

  • The existence of a transcendent God.
  • The science of human origins and its Biblical resonances.
  • The history of early humanity and our spread across the globe.
  • The religion of these earliest humans (it’s not you think!).
  • Soteriology (the study of salvation) and its implications for all people.
  • The development of world religions in light of a Deuteronomy 32 supernatural worldview from ancient times to today.
  • A defense of this supernatural worldview of Christianity and its incredible implications for missions, discipleship, and evangelism.

Now, being a music teacher, my training is not in any of this; I am not a scholar and I don’t pretend to be one.  However, my contribution, and why I think God has led me here, is what I’ve synthesized from these various threads of interest.  I am excited to share what I’ve found over the next few months.

I will do my best to release weekly articles laying the groundwork and background knowledge on these topics.  Then I will present my hypotheses and defend my positions using the materials I’ve discovered.

So… join me on this adventure and we’ll see what happens.  I pray you will be as changed and encouraged as I have been these past several years.  🙂

Love you all! God bless you and your family in these uncertain times.