The New markjmartin.com

I relaunched markjmartin.com earlier this week with a new design.  The old design was too basic, and, especially on a computer, wasted a lot of real estate on your computer screen.

Take a look at the new design.  It’s a lot easier to navigate.  As I post more arrangements on the site, they will be easier to find with the new format.

The more the site grows, I believe the new design will help you find what you need more.

Let me know in the comments section what public domain hymns you would like me to arrange for piano.

And let me know if anything on the site doesn’t work right on your computer.  Your feedback is welcomed.

Comment here.

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Playing for the Sake of Playing

When I taught piano, I encouraged the parents to give the kids an opportunity, after they had practiced their lesson material, to just play around on the piano.

Why?

  1. You learn by discovery.
  2. Playing by ear exercises the improvisation muscles.
  3. Discovering tunes on your own is enjoyable.

It benefited the children, and, I have a hunch, it would benefit adult pianists as much as kids.

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Finding the Wonder in the Tension

The Bible is full of both/and truths.

But we try to make them either/ or’s.

God is a Being who can have two seemingly contradictory truths exist together at the same time. For example, in our limited brains, our heads explode when we think of how Christ is both fully human and fully God.

Many debates in Christianity are attempts to make both/ and’s into either/ or’s.  We try to make God and His truth something we can wrap our minds around, and what results is an overemphasis on one side or the other.

But, if we allow the both/ and’s to stay in tension, instead of trying to get rid of the tension, we will be driven to wonder.

Because only an infinite Being who transcends our understanding deserves to be worshiped.

courtesy of stocksnap.io

courtesy of stocksnap.io

When we try to make everything an either/or, we rob God of His glory.  Because only a both/and God who transcends our understanding can be great.

In your worship this weekend, know that God is big enough to confound our thinking.  Don’t let that frustrate you.  Let that drive you to worship.

Click here to take this quick 10 question survey, and you’ll help me know how I can make this site the most valuable.
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In Case You Missed It…

Last week, I posted a new piano arrangement of “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”

You can see the preview and listen to the demo of it at the link below, but first…

Today and tomorrow (Thursday) only, I’m making it available for 30% off.

At checkout, use the coupon code KICK30 to purchase it at 30% off.

Ok, go check it out here.

Happy playing!

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Help Me Know How to Help You

I set out in April of this year to use this website as a platform to reach out to church musicians.  As I’ve progressed, I’ve focused my content on leading church music ministries.

But, as I’ve continued to write, more than just music pastors have been attracted to this site.  I’ve experienced a big boost this week in readers, and I know I have a lot of readers who are not music pastors.

I love church music, and I want to help church musicians.

When I first started, I felt like I was speaking into an empty room.  Now, I suspect I may be speaking to people who aren’t in the room, ignoring those who are.

So, to better understand you and to help me better understand where to take things moving forward, I am asking you to take 3 minutes to fill out this 10 question reader survey.  

If you will give me open feedback, it will help me know how to better serve you.

You can take the survey at this link.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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The Courage to Be Vulnerable

To get out there and sing or play in front of the church takes great courage when you are starting out. Anyone in front of people as often as you are will make mistakes.

You might have to hang up your super hero cape.

Photo Credit: Stocksnap.io | Wil Stewart

Photo Credit: Stocksnap.io | Wil Stewart

 

Because leading worship takes the courage to be vulnerable.

You aren’t sure of yourself.  You feel you didn’t practice enough.  You’re afraid you will mess up, and you’ll be stuck there with nothing to say.

Or, you are confident in your abilities, but embarrassing moments have a way sneaking in.

Leading worship takes the courage to be vulnerable.

There have been times I have messed up royally.

And yet, God seems to use it anyway, maybe even more so in my weakness.

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Church Music Talks – Episode 1 – Video Interview with James Koerts

I’m excited to share with you our first interview with effective music pastors!  In this first episode, I was privileged to have James Koerts join me for a great discussion about church music ministry!

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

James is fun to get to know.  He is music pastor at Mikado Baptist in Macon, Ga.  He has written and arranged for numerous publishers, and runs an online music store.  He is a gracious man who is generous in passing along what God has taught him through the years.

In this episode, we talked about “rebooting” the music ministry with a music ministry kickoff, keys to starting an orchestra, and finding time to write and arrange music.  A little eclectic, but good.

So, set aside the piles of music on your desk, grab your coffee, and join us for a talk with James Koerts.

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Silent Wonder – SATB

Silent Wonder is a simple, yet profound choral anthem that will lead your musicians and congregation in a prayer for God to teach them “Silent Wonder.”

Silent Wonder is about recapturing the wonder of the nativity scene.  Christ, the God of heaven, became a babe, and yet we are not silent enough to be awed by His coming.

The text paints a portrait of the nativity scene, then reminds us that this baby will one day pay for our sins.  “Gentle Babe with head now resting, hands there by His side, One day by thorns and rough nails piercing will pay for all my pride.”

The chorus is a prayer for God to reveal to us the “Silent Wonder” of Christ’s birth.

Accessible for any choir. Medium Easy. (sheet music preview below)

SATB (digital download)

Instrumental parts (available upon request): Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Trombone/Baritone, Strings Reduction.  $40

It appears you don’t have a PDF plugin for this browser. No problem!… you can click here to download the sample PDF. 

 

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Interview with James Koerts

On Friday, I’m starting a new video interview series.

My heart for this website is that it will be a help to church musicians and music directors by passing along what God has taught me.

But I’m still learning, and I don’t have all the answers.

So, to be the most help to you (and to get some help myself), I’m going to bring in the voices of church musicians who are being effective in their ministries.

We will shooting video interviews and posting them here at markjmartin.com.

I’m excited about this opportunity!

And I’m looking forward to kicking this off Friday with an interview with James Koerts, worship pastor at Mikado Baptist Church in Macon, GA.

James has been gracious to help me along the way in my music ministry.  Our ministry has gained immense help from the thoughts and suggestions he has given me.

Here’s where you come in.  I want this interview to give you the most value, so I want to include some of your questions in the interview.

Click the comment link at the bottom of this post to give me your questions about general music ministry planning, Christmas planning, finding time for writing and arranging.

What we talk about will largely depend on what questions you ask.

I will be interviewing him Thursday and posting Friday.  Please send me your questions by Noon Wednesday.

So, let me know what questions do you have for James about church music ministry.  Comment here.

James has an online music store at koertsmusic.com where you can find fresh piano arrangements of hymns and some great piano recordings.  After commenting, head on over to his site to check out his music.

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