Blog Archives

An Afternoon with Keith Getty

Last week I had the opportunity to meet composer Keith Getty – a modern day hymn writer and one of my heros in music.  Keith met with the composers for lunch before giving a two hour seminar on the music field and the importance of music in worship.

I ended up taking over three pages of notes, but I wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

Keith and Kristyn Getty TMC Music Event

One of the biggest takeaways from meeting with Keith was the emphasis of the importance of good quality music in worship.  As Keith pointed out:

God’s people have learned their history through song.  Therefore our songs frame our responses.

Keith explained that music in worship needs to not only have a beauty about it, but also an excellence and depth in the meaning of the words that we sing.

If our songs have the greatness of God’s love, but not any of His other attributes, we have failed.

Session with Keith Getty

At the seminar, Keith stressed the importance of good songs and good lyrics explaining that one of the most important questions a pastor can ask himself at the end of the service is:  “How well did the congregation sing?”

Churches with good preaching but shallow songs breed shallow congregations.

When asked how he can write so many songs of the faith and find his drive, Keith explained:

Be the best musician you can be, but make sure your faith grows faster than your talent.

These quotes are only the tip of the iceberg of what I took away from meeting with Keith Getty.  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with this excellent musician and humble man and I was greatly inspired in my own writing as I heard from him.


An Incredible Field Trip!

Today, a few of my classmates and I had the opportunaty to take a trip to the UCLA School of Ethnomusicology to tour their classrooms and see their world instrument collection.  We had the privilege of having Dr. Helen Rees, an expert in Chinese music, as our guide and she was able to show us about how the instruments are played.

One of the most unique things about the UCLA Musicology collection is that they are a working collection.  This means that, unlike most world music museums, students have the ability to actually touch and learn to play the instruments on a daily basis.

Photo taken from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Website

My favorite room of all was the Gamela room where we got see an incredible collection of Bali and Javanese Gamelas which were very ornately decorated.

I would highly recommend the trip and I am very grateful for the staff there who were so kind to us!

Tonight’s the Night!

Hi Everyone!  Please come to my Senior Recital tonight at The Master’s College at 6:00pm!  You will hear a wide variety of music from small ensemble to big band to The Light Princess.  Admission is free, but I would recommend coming early as seats are first come first served.

Thanks and I can’t wait to see you there!

Senior Recital AnnouncementP.S. If you can’t make the concert, the link to the live stream of the concert is here.

Senior Recital!

If you were not able to make the World Premiere (Or would like to hear some of the works again), please come to my senior recital this Friday on March 6!  There, you will hear The Light Princess, Taking Candy, and five other brand new works that were not at the world premiere.

I hope to see you there!

Senior Recital Announcement

Two Concerts? What’s the Difference?

Several people have approached me recently wondering what the difference is between the two concerts (February 27 and March 6).  I wanted to help clear that up so that you can decide which concert you would like to go to.

February 27 - Tunes, Tales, and Truths

This concert wll be tomorrow at 7:30pm at Grace Baptist Church (for directions, click here).  Doors will open at 7:00pm and the entire concert will be about 1 1/2 hrs long.

Tunes, Tales, and Truths! is a concert that is geared toward people of all ages and will be featuring the live Grace Baptist orchestra (a 60 piece ensemble) as well as a choir.  Some of the pieces you will here there are:

Amy's Senior Recital

My Senior Recital will be held on Friday, March 6  at 6:00pm at The Master’s College (for directions, click here).  Doors will be open at 5:45 and the whole concert will be an hour long.

Some of the pieces you will hear at this concert are:

Hope this helps and I can’t wait to see you there!

A Visit from Dan Forrest

Amy presenting The Light Princess to Dr. Dan Forrest

Amy presenting The Light Princess to Dr. Dan Forrest

As I shared in a previous post, renowned composer Dan Forrest visited the college this weekend as a guest speaker.  It was quite a whirlwind of a weekend, but we all had a wonderful time as Dr. Forrest spoke in several of the music classes, met individually with the composition students for a private lesson, gave a public practicum session, and performed in a concert of that works last night.

I was able to present to Dr. Forrest my current work on The Light Princess in both a private lesson and in front of an audience where he gave suggestions and advice on how to improve my piece.  I presented two movements from The Light Princess using the Garritan Sounds through Finale playback that I had tweaked to sound much better.  For the tenor solo that the prince sings in the story, I asked Richard Dinsmoor to play the part of the prince.

Richard Dinsmoor singing the part of the Prince in The Light Princess

Richard Dinsmoor singing the part of the Prince in The Light Princess

Dr. Forrest had several great suggestions, but I think my biggest takeaway from the meeting was that I need to work hard to notate the music exactly as I want the players to perform it and not leave as much up to their interpretation.  Secondly, I learned that I need to find the right balance between words and music in order to tell the story the best way possible.

I am very thankful to Dr. Forrest for his kind words and advice.  It was a pleasure to meet him again and I look forward to his next visit!

Critique and Sneak Peek

Music Notes BackgroundI’m so excited!  Next Thursday, on April 3, composer Dan Forrest will be coming to The Master’s College. Dr. Forrest is a favorite composer of the college and we will be performing his Requiem for the Living.

Earlier that day, Dr. Forrest will be giving short private lessons to the composition students and, at 4:00pm, he will be giving a public composition master class in the TMC Music Recital Hall.  Several students are asked to present their compositions for Dr. Forrest to critique and give suggestions on in front of the audience.

I will be one of the students presenting and I will be sharing1-2 of the songs from The Light Princess that I have been writing.  I had the opportunity to present my Pirate Legends to Dr. Forrest two years ago and his advice was very helpful.  I am looking forward to his comments and thoughts this time!

Visitors are welcome, by the way!  If you would like to hear a sneak peak of the The Light Princess I would love to have you come!

Christmas Handbell Quartet

This semester I arranged several Christmas songs for our handbell quartet – The Fellowship of the Ring.  There are several songs here that use the same 16 bells.  It was quite a challenge to write as many songs as possible for only 16 notes, but I think it turned out well!

This performance is at The Master’s College Come Christmas Sing concert.  The performers, from left to right, are: Lindsay Christoph, myself, Wendy Mack, and Morgan Ruthardt.