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All skill levels of musicians and students are welcome!
All skill levels of musicians and students are welcome in our mission statement to provide holy spaces to learn together how to play anointed, prophetic, even spontaneous music. That’s because our human-derived skill, the “power” of Zechariah’s 4:6 “might and power,” is irrelevant to our practice and performance because it actually can be a roadblock to our learning to surrender control to play “in/by/with the Spirit” with His anointing. It’s actually much better to be like a little child, the “least among you,” and simply take obedient steps of faith to be “taught by God.” Human-based skill and professionalism are simply not necessary in the Kingdom of God, but surrendering control to the promised Spirit is! In fact, Christian and church “might and power” is actually a significant part of The Great Wall that is quenching the move of the Holy Spirit.
Musicians are taught to be obsessed about acquiring skill and being professional in their sound and showmanship. They’ve invested so much time and money in their gear to sound and look good – this is their “might,” and of course lessons and practicing to be powerfully-enabling is their “power.” Together this is exactly what Zechariah 4:6’s “might and power” speaks about! But these “goal-posts” never are reached, but instead are always moving. Musicians are always having to upgrade their gear to meet the demands of the music venues and their competition. I’ve invested many 1000s of dollars on drum-sets, sticks, music stands, microphones, amps, speakers, lighting, studio insulation, recording devices and software, and performing outfits. I’ve spent many 1000s of dollars on drum lessons, drum books, videos, DVDs, downloads, and countless hours practicing and preparing for 1000s of performances. It’s what I do for a living, along with passing on this “might and power” to students as you can see on my Drums page. Although I feel like I’ve done very well, I’m constantly aware that there are 1000s of drummers that have far more “might” resources and also far more “power” abilities. The goal post keeps moving!
This has depressed me so many times that I’ve wanted to quit 1000s of times. I’ve heard the same story from every professional musician I know. So many students and musicians have quit, because this road is really tough to walk! There have been 1000s of “bad days” of practice and 100s of “bad days” of performances because “everything that can go wrong often does go wrong,” but we have a saying in showbiz – “the show must go on!” As thrilling as performances can be, soon after as everybody is packing up their gear, musicians often slump back into disappointment over their own performance or that of their band, hearing that “accusing voice” within them, slump back into tiredness from the performance and the packing up, and disillusionment of “is that everything there is after so much work?” Lots of musicians hit the bar or drugs afterward to feel better. But the Lord has come to set these captives free with The Truth from Himself! See the Might and Power and Promised Spirit pages.
I’ve learned to disregard the “skill evaluation” of others. I’ve had students that the parents told me had “issues” and that I would struggle to get them to perform. Because I ignored their advice but treated them like my other students, they “came up to speed” of the other students because I didn’t “lower the bar” but believed in them and continued to encourage them. I saw them struggle but I didn’t give up on them. I’ve seen extreme Autism students make great strides after a lot of patience and specialized training. I trained an Asperger’s student to get accepted to the University of Arizona music program with a $2000 scholarship. I’ve had a depressed ADD student keep plodding along until he made it into the U of A Jazz All-Stars band! One off-the-wall 5 year old drummer went onto be a studio engineer for many famous bands. Pre-judging is dangerous!
It’s really not about what “skill level” you start out at! It comes down to the “calling” within you. If you don’t have it, you will find a 1000 reasons to quit! If you have it, I haven’t seen anything that can make you quit, though 1000s of things will try! My experience is that “calling” is from God, even if a person isn’t aware of it – I wasn’t aware of the identity of this “calling” for 30 years though I knew it was unusual, mysterious, and intense at times. It took another 10 years for me to hear from God more about this “calling” and another 10 years to hear that the identity was actually an “anointing” – see the About Us page. Why so long? Because I wasn’t listening in proseuche conversational-prayer but doing my own thing! So whether you are presently aware or not of the identity of your “calling” or even “anointing,” what Jesus said is still absolutely true: “With man it is absolutely impossible, but together with/beside God all things are possible” (a). It all goes back to whether you only have “might and power” or sarx “flesh” with its “inherent weakness, feebleness, impotence, worthlessness, uselessness, and failure” (b) or you are tapping into Zechariah 4:6’s “in/by/with My Spirit, says Yahwah of hosts.” <Notes> a) Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27, b) Matthew 26:41; John 6:63.
I’m going to quote one of the great Jazz drummers and teachers that hit this very close to the head: “Occasionally I hear someone say that they’ll never be able to play as well as their idols do, because they’re not ‘gifted’ like their idols are. To that I respond what’s the ‘gift’ that those people have and you don’t. Sure some people are born with superior reflexes or perfect pitch, but those things are meaningless if not cultivated. I think the ‘gift’ our idols possess is really more a matter of disposition rather than physical attributes. The ‘gifted’ are the lucky few who have found something that they’re passionate about. So passionate in fact that they’re compelled to investigate whether anyone else is interested or not. Their temperament allows them to spend countless hours and years refining their craft by practicing the things they can’t do simply because that process is the thing they find most enjoyable in life. That’s the ‘gift.’”
I’ve also seen overconfident students and parents brag about their ability, but I found them to be some of my worse students. One older adult woman said she was a “master-level” drummer on the “Band Hero” video game and she was one of the most uncoordinated students ever – she just wouldn’t do the basic exercises I gave her to be able to play drum-set beats and so she finally gave up and went back to her video games. I had one guy complain about such pain that he couldn’t play for more than 5 minutes and after video-taping him for an hour to point out the many flaws in his form that were working against physics instead of with it, I never saw him again, even though I’ve played 1000s of gigs and practiced for sometimes hours at a time without any injury. Too many students insisted on “I did it my way,” like the Frank Sinatra song, refusing to take “the short cut” I was giving them from 52 years of drumming and 22 years of teaching, so they ended up with the futility of “reinventing the wheel” and going on the time-killing “scenic route” to their own great loss. “Pride before the fall” happens to the best of them: In Isaiah 14:12-15, Satan, the Day Star, son of Dawn, said “I will” 5 times: “I will ascend to heaven; above the stars/angels of God; I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” the actual God says: “But your are brought down to Hades, to the far reaches of the pit.” The ONLY way to realize your God-given potential is to surrender control to God’s “in/by/with the Spirit.”
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