Archives for posts with tag: music

It’s appropriate that I begin my thoughts by defining what I mean when I refer to worship. Yes, whatever we do for the glory of God is an act of worship. However, my focus will be on the use of music in worship. I want to parse my thoughts on how we express worship of God in the context of what primarily happens during Sunday services.

Music is one expression of worship. Style has no bearing on worship. Music is a means to glorify God by enjoying Him. Corporate singing is a taste of what Heaven will be like. It can be a connection to the saints of old. It strengthens the unity of the Body of Christ. Music allows us to understand deeper meaning than words alone. Worship is a means for learning and relearning theology. Worship can heal the soul.

We are called to worship through song numerous times in the Bible. Worship is an act of obedience. It is a call to repentance. Worship does not need to stir emotion to be worship. Worship reminds us of God’s past greatness and His future plan. Worship is about God’s story. Our story intersects with God’s, but it is not the focus of worship.

Worship is difficult to define. I don’t claim to have a complete definition of worship here.  I’m not sure we will fully understand worship before we stand in the presence of Almighty God.  So what have I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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ImageI’m not usually one to celebrate Halloween. If I were going to make a statement of some sort I’d probably prefer to focus on the fact that it’s also Reformation Day. I’m not exactly opposed to Halloween, I just don’t make a big deal out of it. So today I want to share some music in the spirit of all things creepy and scary. I’ll let the music speak for itself. Feel free to share more in the comments.

The following as suggested by John Schambach.

bass recI’ve spent a fair amount of time in my studio lately. Not because it happens to be in my living room, but because after a long time of recording, re-recording, editing, mixing, and remixing I’m finally wrapping up my acoustic album. It’s turning out better than I had hoped. I can honestly say it’s my best recorded work to date. So I thought I’d put together some thoughts on the process and what I learned about recording and myself.

Try New Things
I’m a real creature of habit, sometimes even if it makes more sense to do things another way. But this time around I made a conscious effort to try a few new things. I skipped my default EQ plug in and did most of the EQing with the standard Cubase (I’m still using LE4) graphic EQ. I also used a new reverb plugin that forced me to learn what the settings do. All in all it made me better at producing music.

Get Some Help
I started out with the intention of this being the ultimate DIY project, but somewhere in the middle I changed my mind and decided to ask a few friends to play on it. Those tracks made the album. For example, I play the mandolin on a few tracks, but my playing doesn’t come anywhere near the tracks that Will played on because he’s a much better mandolinist than I am.

If At First You Don’t Succeed
This project made me painfully aware of my singing abilities. I can’t count the number of vocal takes I did. But one thing I learned about myself is that if it isn’t working, forcing it won’t help. Often I’d listen to a track and discover that one line wasn’t quite there, so I’d re-record it days later and suddenly that one line was far better than the rest. Often I had no choice but to redo the whole vocal track and ended up with much better results.

Let Go of Perfection
One of the best parts of doing this DIY project is that I’m not paying for studio time. I can spend as much time in the studio as life will allow. I could keep obsessing over parts and arrangements and go back and re-record entire songs if I want. But I won’t. If I did, I’d never be done. So I’m leaving in a few vocals that aren’t quite perfect and a few timing mistakes. Part of that might be me being lazy, but I like to think that those mistakes are part of what makes this my album. I’m still pleased with how it’s turned out, but it’s not perfect and it doesn’t need to be.

The StudioLately I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in my studio. I’ve been listening to mixes (check this rough mix out for yourself), thinking about album art (does anyone still create album art?), and figuring out exactly how I’m going to release this very independent record. I’ve been contemplating having you; my friends, family, and faithful readers/listeners, be my album art production team.

Here’s how it works: Grab your smartphone and start snapping pictures that communicate the concept of The Finishing Touches. Upload them to Instragram (follow me @ercsguitar) and use the hashtag #ESquiresAlbumArt. Then on May 31 I’ll select my favorite and it will become the album art for my acoustic album which I have just named The Finishing Touches. If your Instagram is selected, I’ll send you a download code for an unreleased song. So start taking some pictures!

worshipThis Sunday I’ll be leading worship for the first time at my church. It’s not the first time I’ve lead worship. But it is the first time I’ve done it in a while. So that got me thinking about worship. What is it? What does it look like here on Earth? How can I as a worship leader direct people into God’s presence? Here’s what I came up with.

Worship is More Than Music

Last weekend we visited my sister-in-law’s church. Off in the corner there was a girl painting while the congregation was lead in song. I’ve been to other churches that do similar artistic things while the singing is happening. But it reminded me that worship isn’t limited to music. Worship happens any time we feel a deeper connection to the Holy Spirit. I think if we’re honest, for many of us, those moments are rare and unexpected. They don’t often fit our mold for what worship should look like. But God knows us best and He meets us where we are.

Worship is Unexpected

The times that I anticipate going to worship God are all too often met without much to show for it. The times I’ve really experienced a deeper connection with God often haven’t followed some well thought out program, or even been during a worship service. I’ve worshiped more often driving down the road in my car just listening to the radio (sometimes not even Christian radio). I’ve worshiped when the sunset takes me by surprise. God knows where to meet us and what our deepest needs are. He longs for us to experience Him in ways that we can’t fully comprehend. He wants to catch us unaware so He can have our full attention.

Worship can’t be Manufactured

This leaves me with a dilemma. This Sunday I’ll be expected to help lead people into God’s presence. But I am woefully unequipped. I feel like the kid with just enough lunch for himself and a few friends and 5,000 people around him with their stomachs growling. All I can do is hand it over to Jesus and give him the opportunity to do something big.

Come Lord Jesus!

loficover

A couple days ago I was kicking around the idea of doing a quick release album. I am very happy to report that said album is now finished and available for your listening pleasure over at ericsquires.bandcamp.com. Check out “lofi”, my latest release. For the recording/music geeks I’ll give a little background info on the recording. For those that want lyrics and more info on the songs themselves you can check that out on the bandcamp site.

This is perhaps the quickest I’ve ever put an album together start to finish. Though the title would indicate a lack of technology, I confess it would not have been possible without my iPhone. I recorded all the songs just using the simple voice memos app and I didn’t even use an external mic. Aside from some basic post processing, everything you hear is from the iPhone and all the songs were done in one take. Initially the idea came when I thought my interface wasn’t communicating with my computer. Turns out the thing works much better when it’s plugged all the way in.

Even the album art is a picture I took of myself via Instragram (@ercsguitar). While I could have done all the editing and photoshopping on my phone, I really wasn’t interested in that. My point was to get an EP out quickly. So I set the deadline for today and set a few other basic parameters, like recording with the iPhone, and set about doing it.

The hardest part was finishing up the songwriting. I have a good sense when the lyrics I’m writing don’t ring true and I wanted to capture the emotions and processing we went through and are going through after the fire. I started on The Ballad of Building 13 three days ago and spent a little time on it each day, but it wasn’t clicking. Finally, just moments before I hit record, the last of the lyrics fell into place.

I hesitate to call this a benefit album. I’ll be straight with you. Any money you choose to give will go straight into my personal bank account. We really are doing OK after the fire. We don’t need the money. We may even come out ahead when it’s all said and done. But for now that’s up to the courts and the state insurance commission who is suing Progressive on our behalf and on behalf of one other family who had their renter’s insurance through them. So go ahead and download the album. Give what you’re able, even if that’s a “hey, nice job.”