Ken Medema on music,travel,life.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Music Therapy in Action

Reflections on 2 recent recording projects. . .

The Songster Preacher

He came bursting into the room back stage at the synod gathering two years ago. He wanted to meet and talk a little bit. Subsequently, I visited his church in New England and while I was there he told me about some songs he had written. I got him to play a few and asked him if he had been writing lately. He said there didn't seem to be much inspiration. I pressed him then and said I would push him in the weeks ahead to get some songs written.

Well, the dam broke, and songs began pouring out of his heart and head. In January, Ross Varney came to Michigan to record these songs. You would never put Ross up against the American Idol singers, in fact you would never assume that Ross is somebody who could build his vocation on singing. But, here is pastor, a lover, a man of deep compassion, a gentle worker for peace, who wants to use singing and songs as part of his pastoral calling. I get reports about how he gives these songs to people who need them. He has beautifully expanded his ministry by adding the gift of song to people who are hurting or need encouragement. In the process of doing this, I believe that Ross has moved forward in working out some of his own issues through creating this music. There is a beautiful song about the death of his father called "Why'd You Have to Go?" There are songs about other relationships and many about his faith and commitment to bridge building and peace making. If you want to know more about this CD, just write me at .

If you have always wanted to make a CD and don't have a lot of money and have some ideas about songs you want to sing, let's talk. I'm beginning to discover the most amazing music therapy happens while we're making records.

Twenty-five Years Later. . .

I first met her when she was in her 20s. She was a fine young singer with all kinds of possibility. We have connected again after almost 25 years. She has sung almost not at all during those years. There were many factors, but it is enough to say that her voice was silenced. Her life circumstances have changed now, there have been some sad but necessary endings to relationships, and at this point she wants to sing again. I wrote a song for her to encourage her saying to her that she would indeed find her song and sing it.

A few weeks after that first meeting, we met in my little home studio at Dave and Bev's home in Michigan, we began recording and what happened was amazing. I discovered not only an amazing voice with the same agility and flexibility that it had when she was 25, but a deep river of passion and determination flowing within her. There was laughter, weeping, leaping, and amazement. It was as if years of therapy were enclosed in those few days of recording. My own sense of purpose, my dedication to music and to God, my faith in the power of the Spirit to use music as a healer was renewed. I will not put names on this blog just yet but if you would like to know more about this amazing singer and the cd we have made, just e-mail me and watch for news on our website when it is finished.

The CD has a variety of songs because she is using it as a demo as well as selling it. We have everything from "It Is Well with My Soul" to "In Christ Alone" to some jazz and pop songs. I find the collection delightful and the singing is exquisite. Even so, as wonderful as the music is, for me the most exciting part of the whole thing was the healing, the sense of new life, the joy that came to us as we worked.

May music always find you,

nourish you,

refresh you,

and heal you.

1 comment:

  1. I know a little about music and can play a little and only sing solos with my iPod when no one is listening, but music is still a therapy for me. Your experiences made me what to share one that has been recent for me and what I think it has taught me.

    My mom had this set of CD's produced by the Radio Bible Class called Our Daily Bread. I have put them on my iPod now. The purpose of this set was to provide music for personal worship. So I played them one morning during my devotion time and the Lord was so real, his voice was almost audible. He taught me so much that day. Now every day I begin my worship with this music and I can't describe the peace and clarity it brings to me. I think there is a reason for this. I believe that this music must have been really prayed over. I believe this organization created this music not for profit but to really help people worship. I believe that all the arrangers and musicians must have had this purpose and God has honored that. They have given me so much.

    I have been listening to your music since I was in college and it can speak to me in the same way. I want to thank you for that music now. My guess is this maybe the thing that will make your friends music so special, is not the quality, but the spirit. I think that if we seek to worship God, truly worship, then He takes our music and uses it to help others worship. And the more that our music is true worship, the more it blesses others, the more it is ministry.