Friday, March 25, 2016

Forgiven - Easter Music Story

Easter changes everything. Easter gives meaning to life, tells us who we are and why we are here. Easter explains why others hurt us and what God has done about it. Easter endows the present and future with inexplicable joy. But not everyone who knows about Easter gets this.

Her life was marked by pain. How could she trust God after what she had been through? God hadn’t protected her. God hadn’t met her needs. Now pain defined who she was. She would reach for anyone or anything that might ease the pain, pushing away whatever got in the way. She made wrong assumptions about love – love in general and God’s love specifically. She equated love with feelings and circumstances. If it didn’t look or feel like love, it must not be love.

How could God possibly show the depth of his love for her? What could he do to change her identity, who she was at the core, so that she was no longer defined by her pain, but by his love? Good Friday, Jesus’ death on the cross, is the answer to that question. God loves us so deeply that he became a man and died for us. But God didn’t stop there. Jesus rose from the dead and that’s why Easter changes everything! If Jesus is alive then God’s demonstration of love is more than an historical event. If Easter is true, God’s love trumps pain, does not waiver with circumstances, is not dictated by feelings. His love is an ever-present reality. He defines who we are, not pain, not circumstances, not feelings.

I wrote this Good Friday song with her in mind. But she moved away before I had the chance to share it with her. From the album “Main Street – Songs for Today” this video is scrolling playback of the song.


Do you play the flute, oboe, French horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, or keyboard? Forgiven is on SmartMusic, the comprehensive music practice app!
Click here to practice the music. Click here for SmartMusic help.

You can get Forgiven print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for SATB choir.
Click here for print sheet music.
Click here for digital sheet music. 
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Baby Katie - Music Story

Sara was inconsolable. She and her beloved doll, Baby Katie, were nearly inseparable. Sara didn’t understand why Katie needed a makeover.

Baby Katie was a ‘wipe clean with a damp cloth’ little baby doll. While her heart was soft and cuddly, the rest of Katie was molded plastic. She usually dressed in her birthday suit as pre-K fingers struggled pulling small PJ’s over small legs and arms. Nevertheless, Katie stayed warm wrapped in a wash cloth, its corners twisted together to keep it from falling off.

“Grandma, play with me!” When Sara made that request, it meant holding Katie and making her come alive, being the ‘puppeteer’ and voice of Baby Katie.

Baby Katie shared life with a menagerie of animals, inviting them to sumptuous tea parties so she could indulge her sweet tooth. Katie was born, celebrated her birthday, and got married several times a week. She slid down banisters, jumped on couches, made forts, collected dust bunnies under the bed. Unbelievably, Baby Katie even crashed the Christmas tree. Stickers served as Band-Aids or casts for her numerous injuries. When stickers weren’t available, a strip of paper licked and applied to the injury worked just as well. Katie took trips around town and out of state. She had a certain fondness for tattoos. She painted her nails, colored her hair, and experimented with eye and cheek makeup. When things didn’t go her way, Baby Katie threw tantrums that could be heard all over the house.

Baby Katie was beautiful even when a damp cloth failed to remove the evidence of her many adventures. Heedless of care instructions, she took a bath. Katie didn’t get clean. Sadly, her stuffing migrated to the lower half of her trunk leaving her heart nearly empty. None of that mattered to Sara. She loved Katie unconditionally. Sara was heartbroken when Baby Katie had to get a makeover.

From the album “Silly or Celebratory – Songs for Sara Lily” this video is scrolling playback of the song.


You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Baby Katie.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)

For more of unconditional love of a toy by a child see TheVelveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sorrow into Joy - Music Story

Garritan Weekend Challenge, July 18, 2014: create a melody using all twelve keys on the keyboard and loop it. Then publish it on SoundCloud.

A melody that hits all seven white keys can be joyful. But what if it has to include the missing black keys? Twelve tone compositions are typically chaotic, atonal, have no home note, no resting place. But I realized that if a twelve tone melody had a resting place it would fit Psalm 30.

“Suddenly my courage was gone; I was terrified and panic-stricken. I cried to you, O Lord … Then he turned my sorrow into joy!” (The Living Bible)

I wrote Sorrow into Joy, but before I could upload it to SoundCloud my life hit the black keys. This is how I described it:

“There have been a lot of ‘black keys’ in the melody of my life the last six weeks.
We managed to rip all the carpeting off the second floor without injuring ourselves. Then...
When we moved the credenza, my printer fell off and hit the floor. It no longer prints. Office Depot says it is cheaper to replace than repair it.
The toilet tank in the upstairs hall bath cracked and leaked water for several hours before we discovered it. There is extensive water damage to the living room ceiling.
I broke my bicycle 14 miles into a 28 mile ride. The gears tore off when they hit the spokes. Our bike shop couldn't repair it. Bob disassembled it and mailed the frame to the manufacturer for repairs. It's in pieces in the garage waiting to be reassembled.
I was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain and a fever, had emergency surgery, and a five day in-patient stay. This exacerbated another problem. I need another surgery.
A few days after I got home from the hospital the new flooring was delivered. It reeked of formaldehyde. I had severe headaches and dangerously high blood pressure. My doctor ordered me out of the house!
The hard drive on my computer died. Tiger Direct replaced it and Dell walked me through formatting it. I lost lots of files, but am so glad I didn't lose this song.

God wove the ‘black keys’ of my life into a joyful melody!”

From the album “This & That – A Little Bit of Everything” this video is scrolling playback of the song.


You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for Sorrow into Joy.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.)

Click here to see the #weekend challenge.

Atonal music reflects a worldview. See chapter 1 in Vishal Mangalwadi’s book The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization