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Understanding Your Relationship With Songwriting

It’s in my DNA

I love music; I love the depth it creates with the tonality, melody, and story.  My own story, relationship and love of music, started back when I was a boy…I must have been 4 or 5…sitting alone in my brother’s room, listening to Fly Like an Eagle on the radio by the Steve Miller Band. I may not have known it at the time, but even as a child that song and its music transported me to a place away from the hurts and concerns of my young life. It conveyed a message that I was not able to articulate to anyone at that age, as if the songwriter understood me. After that day, music would be an integral piece of me. That’s how I grew up, with music influencing every area of my life – discipling the way I thought, understood, and viewed the world around me. It’s at my core and is no easier removed than taking out a piece of my DNA.

For me, music is more than a system of notes, melodies, and lyrics. It’s the foundation of how we interpret the world and see each other. I wonder though, is that statement the same for you, have you ever thought about it in that context? We may not all 100% understand frequency geek speak, but music is a cornerstone creation of tonality law that finds its way into life through every single sound that an instrument makes or doesn’t. Tone is surrounded by silence, and silence serves that sound. Summed up, every sound has a pitch, a purpose, and every word adds depth – even rest is vital. Would you agree that music and a song can contain a perception that forms the instant your ear hears it? The caveat is perception – that can be altered by circumstances, emotional state, alcohol or drugs…which is directly affected, and in proportion to, your spiritual life.

Music can be a weapon or a vehicle for ministry

Ok, I don’t want to stray too far, but I simply want to make this next statement clear: music is vital and its ability to disciple for good or evil is real – I believe that with my whole heart. Yes, much is up to the song’s creator – and ultimately their relationship with its content – but songwriters can’t control you. However, music can be a weapon used and created with a deceptive purpose, or the writers intent may be one of hope and truth through a heart to serve. Do you think music can be created with an anointed purpose?

A song is mainly subjective based on the emotional state of the listener at the time. Has a song worked against you, entangled your life with its lyrics and become a master of your thoughts or desires? One thing is for sure, there is more to songwriting than simply structure and melody; there is somewhat of another dimension of songwriting that I learned that summer day sitting on my brother’s bed while hearing those amazing sound waves pierce the atmosphere. Regardless if the songwriter purposes it, that a person can by hearing their music, at any age, be healed, comforted, dismayed, uplifted, etc. by it. Discipleship in music happens not only at the song creator’s intent – or lack thereof – but also with the needs and desire of the listener. Our creations should not darken and lead the hearer away from the truth but towards it, towards relationship.

Music is powerful

Whether you agree or not, the songs that truly are generational and impact lives are those songs from a place of relationship. That is why it’s a major component in music creation, it’s vital and how we write songs must ultimately be given over to the Creator to finish our creativity. Without a God first relationship, the only pull of creativity is that of self-propitiation. Imagine a song that is anointed in such a way that it pierces beyond your walls…but even more so, it’s what you needed and, others need, at that moment.

On some level, we all build a quasi relationship with our music. We love to bring others along to listen to our favorite song. Even as a group, from singing at church, at concerts, or with your friends in your car, it’s many times foundational to our memories and the way we bond.

Please understand my message; I am not stating that every song you listen to needs to change your life. I agree that music is to be enjoyed and not constantly picked apart. These statements and opinions are giving you seeds for thought, a new lens to look through. It’s the reason and responsibility we as songwriters have to mix creativity with love, depth, and truth. It’s our message to God and to the world for generations, so it starts with us. We cannot simply assume that our musical creations serve us but instead, ask ourselves how does our music serve others.

What is the source of your inspiration?

Next, let’s ask ourselves a broader question. Where do we go to be inspired to write – what spirit, what voice are we allowing to be invited into the process? Since music is the listener’s choice, how can we as songwriters be ready and willing to create an extraordinary experience with God through our music for them? So when they hear, they also have an encounter that goes beyond just listening.

Getting back to my point. I see music for more than the sum of its parts. What is the soul of a song, the part between the notes, melody, lyrics, and rhythm. It may sound a bit like poetic mumbo jumbo but it’s not, at least, for me. I see it as the foundation and direct connection to why music and songwriting is at the heart of what we do. I challenge you to take a closer look, ask yourself, especially if music or songwriting is a passion, what is your intent, to serve or be served and at what point did your relationship with music begin?

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