brain-and-music

Is Music ‘Truth-Less’

Bob Kauflin, author of ‘Worship Matters’ among other books, has been a great leader in the global worship community for years. I love his consistent call to keep the Gospel of Jesus Christ central in all we do.

Every once in a while he’ll write or say something that gets under my skin. It’s a good thing, because often I’ll discover it’s bothering me because it exposes something in me that needs to change: A misplaced priority, a misconception, or pride. Bob’s words have helped me be a better follower of Christ and better worshiper. Other times, I feel like there are things to press back on just a bit.

Recently, Bob wrote a great article with a somewhat click-baitish title called ‘Why a Synthesizer isn’t the Holy Spirit.’ You can read it here.

http://www.worshipmatters.com/2016/03/12/why-a-synthesizer-isnt-the-holy-spirit/ .

Overall, it’s a good read and I agree with the obviousness of about 83.5% of it.

He made one statement though, that I believe is slightly off. He said that the emotions music communicates are ‘truth-less’. This led to one reader saying that she believes music is simply a manipulator in church. Bob pushed back with her on that, which I appreciated. I added a comment on Bob’s site with my perspective on this idea. Here it is:


Music is more than a mere manipulator. It isn’t a human ‘trick’. Music is a creation of God to be used for God. Music’s affect on us cognitively and emotionally is by design. God’s design. God made music before he made humans (Job 38:4,7). The way God has fashioned our brains to respond to music is fascinating. It affects our cerebellum, which searches for pattern and repetition, it creates deep synapse connection to the amygdala and hypocampus which control emotion and memory. It appeals to our rationality, memory and our emotion. God designed our brains to respond to music with the intent of using this response joined with scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself and the Glory of Christ to us.

Music evangelizes the existence of God.

From this perspective, I differ slightly from Bob’s statement that music by itself is ‘truth-less’. I agree that it does not give us specific revelation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it does communicate the truth of general revelation ala Romans 1:20. It communicates resolve, order, harmony and pattern that reveal God’s ‘eternal power and divine nature by what has been made so that [we] are without excuse’. Some of the most secular people in the world still acknowledge the existence of something they can’t explain when they listen to great music. Music evangelizes the existence of God.

God intends music and song to be used to have the word of Christ dwell in us richly and to be filled with the Spirit.

The Bible commands us to utilize music, which He created, to communicate the Truth of His Gospel. God Himself writes a song in Deuteronomy 31:19 to the Israelites as a means of reminding them of His deliverance and as way to convict them when they wander. The Gospel doesn’t depend on music and neither does the Holy Spirit (which I think is what Bob is saying in the article). But God certainly commands us to use it. Colossians 3:16-17 and Ephesians 5:15-20 tell us that God intends music and song to be used to have the word of Christ dwell in us richly and to be filled with the Spirit.

…carefully reevaluate the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of our worship liturgies.

My takeaway from Bob’s thoughtful article is to carefully reevaluate the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of our worship liturgies. It is so easy to begin to ‘worship and serve created things, rather the the Creator, who is forever praised, Amen.’ I certainly don’t want to be worshiping my shimmer pad! However, I believe God is pleased when I faithfully and humbly submit my shimmer pad to the Glory of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit and the worship of the Father. This may mean using it more or shutting it down entirely. When Jesus is our mediating worship leader (Heb 2:10-12), these decisions can become acts of worship themselves rather than preference debates.

Thanks, Bob for the thoughtful piece.

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Jesus Stuck In Your Head

Just had the privilege of writing a blog article for the Dad Tired and Loving It website about the importance of music in raising your kids. I also had the chance be a guest on their weekly podcast to talk more about the subject. We talked a little bit about how that influenced the creation of my HYMNS album as well.

Here are links to the article and podcast:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/dad-tired/id1090567756?mt=2

http://www.dadtired.com/blog/music

Dad Tired is a great resource specifically for dads, but has great stuff for moms too. If you’re a parent who wants honest conversations about the journey of learning how to raise your kids to know and love Jesus, then you’ll love this growing community. Whether you’re in that stage of life right now or think you might be someday, click over there and check it out.

http://www.dadtired.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dadtiredblog/

If you have any questions about the article, podcast or anything in particular. Feel free to email me at aaron.doerr@rollinghills.org

Great Apple Mainstage Tutorials

 

I recently taught a keyboard workshop at Worship Northwest worshipnorthwest.com called “Big Keyboard Sounds//Small Keyboard Budget.” In it, I spent time showing how the $29.99 Mac App, Mainstage can give you access to some of the most inspiring sounds that keyboardists use today.

Even though Mainstage follows the Apple way of making things graphical and intuitive, it’s a lot to bite off and chew. Fortunately, there’s help!

Abel Mendoza, a keyboardist, sound designer and producer has put together a series of really helpful tutorials on how to get going with Mainstage. Abel has programmed some amazing sounds with Mainstage that are used by everyone from tobymac to Hillsong, to the small church around the corner.

If you’re trying to get going with Mainstage, please dive in to these tutorials. It’s time well spent.

HYMNS Album Is Out

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What started as a Christmas/Birthday gift for my wonderful wife had grown into a full album of hymns that my family and many others love.

While I love the art of big production in music, I wanted this album to have a tender quality to it. My wife and I sing many of these songs to our girls at bedtime, so I wanted the album to have that kind of a tender feel. Almost like a lullaby. So the rules were set:

  • Nothing but piano and my voice.
  • Preserve traditional melodies.
  • Keep things simple without being simplistic.
  • Keep things familiar, but also surprising.
  • No gimmicks or fads. This has to feel timeless.

At times this was a tricky project singing softly with very little to hide behind was pretty vulnerable feeling. The piano work required me to blow the dust off my rusty chops.

I’m glad it’s here now though and have already heard stories of the album helping people find peace and rest in the midst of uncertain times.

The album is available for purchase at cdbaby, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.You can also stream it on Spotify and Apple Music.

I’ve included links for your convenience:

cdbaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/m/cd/aarondoerr2
iTunes: Hymns by Aaron Doerr: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hymns/id1087049103
Google Play: Hymns

I hope you enjoy it.

Aaron

 

 

All Hail The Power (Lord of All)

I’ve been playing around with a rewrite of the classic hymn ‘All Hail The Power’. The stanzas give a great perspective on the world, the universe, heaven and earth crowning God as Lord. I thought it would be good to add a chorus that makes this decision a personal one.

It seems like sometimes the final territory that God sets up His throne is in our own hearts. The chorus is a declaration of total surrender (heart, mind, will) to a new King.

I’ve included a chord chart and a soundcloud link if you’d like to try this song in your church. Feel free to contact me for download permission for the mp3 if you want it.

Peace,

Aaron

All Hail The Power (Lord Of All) ChordChart – C

Worship Keyboards Workshop

I just taught a Worship Keyboards clinic today at Worship Northwest. Here is the Keynote Presentation I used with all the materials. If you have specific questions that you want help with, please reply and let me know.

The music links within the presentation don’t play, but feel free pull up the songs I referenced in iTunes, YouTube or any other music sharing site.

You can also download the full Powerpoint presentation here: Worship Keyboards Session-ppt

Of view a pdf of it here: Worship Keyboards Session

Welcome to doerrjams

Thanks for visiting. Some of you just met me today at Worship Northwest and some of you have known me for years. I plan on updating this site at least once a week. No promises on what the update will be.🙂 It may be a super nerdy new tip for keyboard or guitar players, it may be songwriting thoughts, it may be an article on being a husband, a dad and a follower of Jesus. Once I find out what seems to be the most interesting to people I’ll probably settle into that.

For now, just be glad I’m promising one update a week.

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon and bring a friend.

Aaron