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Behind The Song Songwriting

Behind The Song: The Greatest Commandment

Songs For Small People

This song was written to tie in with the teaching curriculum for ‘Arrows’, the 4-10 yr olds kids ministry at my Church. In writing specifically for kids I was determined to avoid the standard ‘3 chord jolly folk music’ model. Eventually I settled on a jazzy/latin style using the blues scale in the melody.

I tried to make the melody simple and memorable by using the same melodic fragment on with everything that you’ve got/I wanna love you Lord and the instrumental intro.

Music

The general vibe was inspired by an old song by Charlie Peacock, Nobody’s Gonna Bring Me Down from the album West Coast Diaries Vol #2 which is also where I learned this unusual chord shape –

Eb maj7 (low to high) – X6578X

A couple of other unusual ones were the legendary Hendrix chord

D7#9 – X5456X

And this jazz favourite

Am7b5 – X0554X

Lyrics

I wanted to get across the Hebrew understanding of the concept “heart, mind, soul and strength.” They are not four individual components of a person (to be dealt with in different ways) but one unity. The command is a command to “Love the Lord with everything that you’ve got”.

Download the song for free!

mp3   
mp3 backing track     
Lyrics
Chord Sheet     
Recorded Version Chord Sheet

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Other free songs by Matt Blick

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How To Have An Explosive Children’s Ministry

 “This is an M-80, which is 1/8 of a stick of dynamite.  Once some friends threw one into a room I was in and when it blew up it was so loud I couldn’t hear afterward for a few seconds.  It felt like it sucked out all the air in the room and I couldn’t breathe.” Now I had the rapt, if not somewhat nervous, attention of every single child in the class… 

This is the funniest post I’ve read for a while.

Learn how to do children’s ministry the Mark Altrogge way in his post And The Children Were Running And Screaming.

Related Posts: Kids song – Mr Lazy Bones
Kids song – The Greatest Commandment

Free songs by Matt Blick

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Songwriting

3 More Reasons NOT to Write Songs For Your Church

As promised a while ago, I’ve added the ‘missing’ 3 reasons to my controversial post Top 10 Reasons NOT to Write Songs FOR Your Church.

If you’ve already read it, or are just too darn lazy to click on the link, you can read the missing three right here…

1) It’s self-indulgent spending all that time writing songs on your own

As Christians we’re called to community and that means meeting together. Spending time alone in your room writing and rewriting songs is probably just another expression of your western individualism. How are you supposed to bless other Christians when you spend so much time shut up in a room by yourself?

2) You’re too busy doing ministry to write songs

If you’re a musician you’re probably playing in the Sunday services, mid week, maybe even rehearsing. Or perhaps you’re a youth minister or even a pastor. Whichever way you slice it you’re busy, busy, busy, doing a lot of ministering. You want to impact nations, change history, do something that’s going to reverberate down the centuries. You want to do something with eternal consequences, pastoring a church like John Newton or evangelising a nation like Charles Wesley, so you don’t have time to waste crafting something disposable as a song.
 

3) People in your church will be critical of your first efforts

It’s sometimes hard for us to accept, but our pastors, congregation and even our fellow musicians, know that people like Chris Tomlin and Brenton Brown came out of the womb with a fully realised gift for songwriting. The proof that they have been truly anointed by God is that they have never written a bad song or even one that needed any revision or rewriting. Well-meaning criticism or sheer indifference from fellow believers is God’s way of telling you that you just don’t have what it takes.

In a very few instances however it’s possible that you are anointed and that criticism (however constructive it may be) is an attack from Satan. In which case you should regard all such advice as a direct attack on the gift “God has given you” and secretly label such advisers as ‘unspiritual’.

Read the original post here – Top 10 Reasons NOT to Write Songs FOR Your Church.

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Free songs by Matt Blick

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Uncategorized

Google Hymn

I think google is having an off day.

At least today if you type

keith getty kids

into the legendary search engine, the first page that comes up is…The Eglon Song! Now I know Eglon is quite clearly cut from the same cloth as In Christ Alone – both songs are similar in their stately use of celtic melody and rich theological insight, but though I’d love to have written his classic I’m not sure Keith would say the same about mine.

So apologies to Keith & today’s shell-shocked mystery downloader, but for once it’s not my fault!

Related Posts: The Eglon Song
The Greatest Commandment
Free seminar by Keith Getty

Other free songs not by Keith Getty

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Dangerous Dancing With Andrew Peterson

A new album from Andrew Peterson is a major event in my universe and his latest Counting Stars is out soon.

So here’s a few tasters. First the video for Dancing In The Minefields (read about Peterson’s reasons for making a vid here)

Next there’s a Twitter sized album review from Radar Radio and an Encyclopedia Britannica sized non-review from The Rabbit Room.

Related Posts: Andrew Peterson gets cheesy
Andrew Peterson interview

Free songs by Matt Blick

 [If you’re subscribed to this blog via email, you will have to click on the post’s title to watch any video content (the link will take you my site).

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Arranging

You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Cay-Pos

Jamie Brown has posted and excellent video about using a capo in keys you wouldn’t normally think of. Go watch it now!!!

…but…as this is the Internet allow me a little rant.

I know England and America are two nations separated by a common language.

I’m prepared to cut our US brothers all kinds of slack when they feel the need to remove letters from words to make ’em easier to spell.

I’ll turn a deaf ear to the stumbling over UK place names (Lie-sester-sheer?).

I’ll even grit my teeth and remain silent when they invent new words with exactly the same meaning as a perfectly good words that already exists.

But I can’t take hearing another worship leader say they use a CAYPO!

A CAYPO! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!

It’s a Ca – Po. Hard ‘A’.

Please understand me my transatlantic brethren. It’s not a UK vs US disagreement. Other nations are upset too.

The root of the word is Italian. It comes from Capo tasto meaning ‘head fret,’ sometimes also known as capo d’astro/capodastro. 

That’s “capo tasto”. Go on, say it with hard a’s in your best Italian accent. 

“Ca-po Tas-to!”

 Even the name sounds musical! Isn’t it beautiful. Fantastico!

Now say it in American.

“Caypo-taysto”

Sounds like a really bad fast food chain, doesn’t it.

I rest my case.

Jamie could you please re-dub a version for the UK market?

Related Posts: Small Band Arrangement

Free songs by Matt Blick

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Write Them Songs, Songwriter!

Struggling to find time for songwriting? Check out Nicholas Tozier‘s excellent post 33 ways to make more time in your life for music making. I just printed off a copy for further reference. You might want to as well.

Speaking of songwriters, say hi to the two latest additions to the Newfrontiers Underground Olly Knight (Canterbury) and Richard Ward (Leicester).

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Free songs by Matt Blick

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Music Biz 2.0

How The Beatles REALLY Broke The States

I’ve never been convinced by the ‘illegal file sharing is killing music’ argument so I found this story from Shout : The True Story of the Beatles by Phillip Norman fascinating…

Let me tell you a story…

After four attempts to get Capitol (who after all were technically already the Beatles US label) to release a record in the States Brian Epstein finally got an agreement. They would release I Want To Hold Your Hand on Jan 13, 1964, even though the record company made it clear they expected the single to tank.

Just before Christmas an air hostess gave her boyfriend a UK copy of the single (which by then was already #1 in England). The boyfriend, who was a DJ in Washington DC, played it on his show & the listeners went wild. One of the listeners was a Capitol employee who began trying to find out who the band were, and who owned the publishing rights (Epstein had just sold to US publishing to MCA!).

A friend of the DJ taped the song and sent it to another DJ in Chicago and soon Beatlemania was breaking out there too.

Before Capitol had time to register what was going on someone in Chicago had taped the song and sent it to St Louis and in no time it was setting the airwaves alight there too.

Capitol now decided to revise their low expectations and set, not only their own pressing plant, but also RCA’s & CBS’s to work right through the holidays pressing 1 million copies of the new single.(It held the #1 spot for 7 weeks, and went on to sell 5 million copies).

I love this story! It illustrates so beautifully how ‘free’ has always been the friend of musician (and even ultimately, the stupid unwieldy dinosaur major label). It also demonstrates how badly the traditional model worked – even in the good old days.

Here’s the cliff notes

Q: What was the main obstacle to the Beatles breaking the States?
Their own record company. The very organisation that was supposed to have their best interests at heart.

Q: Who was the band’s best friend?
The fans.

Q: What did the fans need to become the ultimate uber-distribution ninjas?
Nothing. Just FREE access to the music. They even payed to copy and distribute it themselves. (And for once they didn’t get sued!)

Q: Who profited financially in a massive way from the free ‘filesharing’ and radio play of illegal bootlegs in this story?
The record company and the artists.

Q: Who was the most completely useless, and clueless, player in this whole story?
The major label. Capitol even threatened to seek a court order banning airplay of I Want to Hold Your Hand.

Explain (in 500 words or less) why you still think being signed to a major label would have a positive effect on your career? Please mention any instances of mental illness occurring in your family history.

Related Posts: Trent gives it away

If you’ve enjoyed this post you might want to check out Beatles Songwriting Academy where I’m attempting to work my way through all 211 Beatles songs ‘borrowing’ songwriting ideas as I go…

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