At some point I do believe I will enter another season of producing the next Music To Pray By album, “Your Kingdom Come”. I already have more than enough original content to create an album and likely 1-2 podcasts as a preview. Its just a matter of exiting this current season I’m in where I have trouble finding the time to dedicate to this. Please be in prayer for me on this front as this is my passion and I do feel guilty about how much time has passed since my last post.
Around Easter, I dedicated a weekend to editing all of the drone footage I collected while on my trip to Israel in 2017 and put it with the album, “My Father in Heaven”. I think it turned out pretty well. Here it is:
I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, and I’ve placed a number of projects on hold due to some other priorities, but right now my dad is in ICU fighting for his life. The doctors have given him 24-48 hours to live, but I believe in my heart that this sickness is not unto death. We NEED him alive! Please please please pray for my dad – that God would heal him from the liver and spleen cancer, his lungs would be cleared, that his liver and kidneys would kick back in and start cleansing his body of the toxins, and that all his blood levels and vitals would get to and stay normal! His name is Ron Sr. and he desperately needs the Grace and Mercy of our King right now.
I recently got to enjoy some time out at St. Petersburg Beach in Florida where I took up my new drone, a Mavic Pro. I had tweaked the video settings based on some recommendations so it’s not as colorful as I would have liked it to be, but the Podcast 70 music goes well with it I think. My brother, Adam gave me the idea of putting my music on YouTube as another way to reach people. I hope y’all enjoy it. I also hope you have a wonderful Easter – a time of remembering why we’re here – remembering the One Who gave His Life as a ransom for us – the One Who conquered the grave! Praise You Jesus!
For the past year, I have regularly sat down at the piano and recorded songs for the next album and podcast with plans to begin editing when I hit 20, and I’m pleased to announce that I’ve hit 26! I had no idea I was already there on the recording front. Though there is still a lot of work ahead, I just wanted to keep the blog somewhat updated. I had planned to do another video, but I may need to put it on hold till I finish up with the next album (sorry Micah). Hopefully I’ll have the podcast ready by the 1-year anniversary of the release date of “My Father in Heaven”. Thanks for all the prayers and support!
Since the album, I’ve been trying to come up with new ways of publishing Music To Pray By content and thought of recording run-throughs of some of the songs on our church set list so I got a hold of some video recording and editing gear and began work on it back in July. When I shared this idea with my good friend Micah, he suggested singing to it so that’s what we did and here are the results. Currently, it’s “unlisted” on YouTube till we can secure the rights to publish the song by Travis Ryan. Micah is also getting it listed on iTunes so the audio track should be available for purchase sometime this week. Please keep in mind this is my first shot at using Final Cut Pro and still have a ton to learn. Hope y’all like it:
This past Thursday, I listened to the final CD provided by Masterpiece Mastering and I have to say I’m extremely excited about the impact this is going to have for God’s Kingdom! I immediately sent it off to be replicated and published to all the digital media outlets (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) so it will be available in about a month.
For those who have donated over the past 2 years, I will be sending you a copy. If your address has changed, or if you would like more than one copy, please contact me and let me know.
God has put it on my heart to do something special for churches. My vision is that this music would be made available for new believers, prayer teams, and pastors of Bible-believing churches at no cost. I will even cover shipping. It has been on my heart to seek out churches around the world proactively (starting in the US), but have never gotten around to it. Maybe after this recent wake-up call, I’ll make it more of a priority.
If you would like to have a copy mailed to you, feel free to use the “donate” button on the side of the page, provide your address along with any donation amount, and I will ship a copy to you as soon as I have them.
If you would prefer to have a digital copy, please stay tuned – links and instructions will be posted shortly after they are available.
Alex did an outstanding job designing the album art for me – here’s a preview:
I couldn’t think of a better way to title this post… I wanted this to not only serve the purpose of sharing with you what I went through, but also to serve as a reminder to me if I ever start to go back to my old ways so here it is:
This past Friday morning I woke up after a long trip to Tampa, Florida that lasted the week. This was going to be a special day as it was the day before my son’s birthday. We were going to Sea World as a family in celebration. We were looking forward to this day for months. When I got up, the entire right side of my body was numb and literally felt partially disconnected from my brain. My right leg and arm would obey commands but both were very weak so I limped to the bathroom and started brushing my teeth thinking I must have been sleeping in a bad position and figured—hoped it would go away. After brushing my teeth I headed to the shower wondering how this would affect the gift God has given me if this were permanent. The thought truly frightened me. When I started shampooing my hair, I noticed my right hand was hardly moving while my left hand was promptly obeying commands from my brain briskly shifting back and forth across my scalp. This is when I knew something was wrong so I finished up, grabbed my iPhone, and googled the symptoms, but my phone was stuck loading the results. At this point the wife and kids were calling me out of the bedroom excited about what the day would bring. Sanban’s first words to me were “It’s the day before my birthday!” with a big smile on his face – Jake repeating the same words to me telling me as if it were the first time I was hearing the phrase. I immediately explained to Yoko what was happening to me but these symptoms – especially described in my state of mind just brought about more confusion in both of us so she went to finish up getting ready while I headed to the studio computer to see about buying Sea World tickets online. With the limp still in full affect and the symptoms not subsiding I decided to click open another tab and search the symptoms again. The results loaded with not 10, 5, or even 3 possibilities. Only two possible diagnoses – Stroke or TIA (mini-stroke). I immediately went to Yoko and told her – we need to go to the hospital. The drive there seemed like an eternity – wondering if more of my brain was literally dying every second it took to get to the hospital. Then we and everyone else on the road crawled to a stop, we moved forward what felt like a few inches, then another stop. We had never seen the traffic this bad on this road. What should have been a 10 minute drive looked like it would take forever. I could see the stress and the worry in Yoko’s face – her eyes gripping the road and cars in front of her almost as tightly as her hands gripped the steering wheel. I remember telling Yoko with a tear in my eye, “If this is it, you have to make sure the Music To Pray By Album master is published!” I know God created me for this purpose. As we continued to sit in traffic, my mind began to race – if only we would have called 911… if only we had got an ambulance… if only… After 50 minutes of waiting in traffic, I limped into the emergency room and told the attendant, “I think I’m having a stroke” and described my symptoms. She asked me to fill out a short form and with confusion I answered a few simple questions she asked at which point I heard her say to listeners unknown to me over a radio, “I have to call stroke protocol”. She immediately sat me down to take my vitals. They supported the stroke theory at which point she walked me back to a room where more than 8 doctors, nurses, and assistants were standing around a hospital bed waiting for me to lie down. I was ordered to take my shirt off at which point they began to place untold numbers of sensors on my chest and stomach. All these wires – what are they for? What do they do? So may questions in my head… So much confusion… “…what is your date of birth?!” “…what year is it?!” “…what is your name?! ‘Ronald John’ or ‘Ronald Johnssss'” I tried to keep up with all the questions, but that one particularly bothered me. “Ronald Johns” I said, or did I? They rolled me into a big machine all the while explaining what was going to happen. Answers were coming – I was so tired of all the questions. While the CT scanner was spinning around my head I prayed, “LORD, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for not taking care of the body you gave me. I commit to You that will change if I make it out of here alive. I promise.” So many promises broken. So many commitments unkept. Could I keep this one? Was I done? Was this the day God takes me home? My vision for Music To Pray By was incomplete. I had imagined 30-40 more years of creating music – bringing praise and worship to my King here on earth. This couldn’t be it could it?
The fog of “stroke protocol” finally came crashing to an end. A doctor stood at my bedside and said, “Good news! You’re not having a stroke”. He went on to say that I likely experienced a TIA or a mini-stroke and that I was going to be admitted to the hospital for further evaluation. I knew my kids would be crushed – no Sea World today. Once I was moved out of the emergency room to a hospital room, I began to notify friends and family of the news. The plan was to run more tests, get an MRI in the morning, then go home – just in time to prepare for church services. Yoko and the kids left to get me some necessities – extra clothes, my tech gadgets, my laptop bag, and my in-ear monitors as Billy had just sent me the mastered proof of the album and I was hoping after 5 previous rejected proofs from another mastering company that this would be the one. Once the family made it back, we spent some time together talking about Sanban’s birthday and the next steps, but it didn’t take long for the kids to get restless. Once they left, I broke out the in-ear monitors, listened and immediately entered into prayer, thankful that the circumstances weren’t worse. Thankful that this master could be the one after a month of disappointments. Thankful to be alive. Next on the to-do list was preparation for Sunday services. I immediately went to work – listening to the set list and charting songs tapping away at my bedside table testing the dexterity in my right hand. Things feel normal – that’s a good sign.. There… I was ready to go for Sunday Morning.
The night was long and sleepless. Every 2-3 hours someone was waking me up from my slumber to poke, prod, or interrogate me. “Now I understand why people don’t like to come here…” I thought as I tried to still my mind and go back to sleep for the 3rd time.
The morning came and the next thing I know I’m being wheeled to the MRI machine by a young man asking me a number of questions that would afford any clue as to whether or not there was any material on or in my body that would be susceptible to magnets. Once we were there, he explained what the experience would be like – 30 whole minutes of laying perfectly still – not my idea of fun, but maybe I could catch up on some z’s. I was given earplugs as if I were headed to the shooting range and once I was in the contraption, I understood why. There were clicks, bangs, and buzzes loud enough to likely do permanent hearing damage if it weren’t for the ear protection and the foam around my head to keep it still. 17 minutes in, the tech came on the intercom and announced I only had to endure for 3 more minutes. It seemed longer than the previous 17, but I made it! Now, the doc can tell me everything is fine and I can go home.
After the past 24 hours, I knew some serious lifestyle changes were afoot. I was good – “message received LORD.” Once I was in the room, I put the album on again – with my in-ear monitors, praying in my mind – keeping my promise not to miss a single day for at least a month – maybe my whole life. “This time with You LORD IS the most important time”, I spoke with my mind. I then pulled up my daily Bible plan on my iPhone and began to read and think.
Next thing I knew, the neurology doctor in a rush came into my room explaining that my MRI was good – no signs of a stroke, and based on all the evidence, I didn’t even have a TIA. I believe it was called a hemiplegic migraine, which meant there would be no prescription meds – just a change in diet and work on getting my blood pressure under control. Great news – relief washed over me. I was going home soon and this nightmare would soon be over. While discussing this, there were two circumstances that led her away from this conclusion. One was my blood pressure at the time I was admitted, and the second was that the symptoms disappeared sooner than they would have in the case of a hemiplegic migraine. While another assistant was looking at my heart using ultrasound, the doctor came back with one of my MRI pictures on her laptop were she showed me a very small area on the left side of my brain that indicated a full-out stroke. She told me that was dead brain tissue. I immediately began to wonder what was contained there that is no longer. Was it a childhood memory? Was it the ability to hear new melodies in my head? Was it something – a memory that was more harm than good? There was no way to know because it was gone. Depression – a familiar feeling as they told me I would have to stay at the hospital till possibly Monday. No church service – I was going to let my team down for the first time in as long as I could recall. As the seriousness of the circumstance began to close in on me, I began to text. First, my pastor and creative arts director so they could prepare for my absence. Then, my family – what to say to not cause too much worry? I felt fine, but I obviously wasn’t fine. I had a stroke – something that could have easily claimed my ability to serve the Kingdom of God here on earth – at least in the way I was used to and loved to.
Next came more and more tests to try and find the source of the vein blockage in my head. Was it a blood clot? Was it fatty tissue? There were scans, blood tests, more scans, and more tests. The highlight of the time in the hospital room were the visits from church families. It is truly a blessing to have the friends that I have. It helped to talk about the situation and communicate out-loud the re-plotting of my life’s course correction. Each visit ended with a prayer – prayers that truly inspired and encouraged me.
After the final exam Sunday Morning, I was so ready to go home and start my new life – a life I am truly blessed to have. They were not able to find the source of the clot, but they did confirm a hole in my heart – the song, “God-shaped hole” popped into mind and a smile across my face in an awkward point of the doctor’s explanation, but I didn’t care. I have a God-shaped hole in my heart – one that will remain there till I vacate this body to be with my Savior. This hole means that my lifestyle has to change in order for me to remain alive, but I am truly thankful for the second chance. I am thankful this happened to me as I already see in many ways God’s Will being worked out in it.
Now, I’m home with the family taking it easy. I’ve listened over the master again in the studio and I’m so excited about the end result! Billy has put the finishing touches on it and I should have the master in-hand today or tomorrow at which point it will be mailed in for replication and publication on the iTunes store. The whole process should take less than a month so it will likely be published before my 41st birthday and I hope and pray I will be given enough time on this earth to complete many many more of these projects as one of my life’s missions is to inspire God’s people to pray. More updates coming.
This podcast is made up of the songs left out of the Music To Pray By album “My Father in Heaven”, which is coming very soon. This is the first podcast recorded on the new Yamaha DC7XE3 Grand Piano talked about here as well as all new mics and pre-amps. I believe it is the best sounding piano audio I’ve ever captured. I hope and pray it inspires you to spend time in the Presence of our Truly Amazing and Awesome God. Please forgive me for taking so long – almost 2 years to post new music. I hope it was worth the wait, and I am absolutely thrilled about the new album and excited to see what God is going to do through this. Please continue to pray for me and my family. God bless.
We had a number discussions about the album theme and title and concluded that there needed to be a change from my original thoughts. The new album title is “My Father in Heaven”.
About one hour of MTPB MIDI is edited, and I think it sounds really good.
I have gone through some pretty major life-changes over the past couple of months. I made another career move to a company called Fortinet, and this move affords the opportunity for me to learn their technology solutions from the ground up. Though this is a challenge, it is exciting times and the future looks bright!
Here is what’s remaining for the album and podcast:
About 30 more minutes of recorded MIDI needs to be edited
After this, all of the edited MIDI needs to be reviewed through the acoustic piano in order to make final edits
Once this is done, the piano needs to be tuned
Mic placement is going to be extremely important as I have a total of 8 mics now and some really good pre-amps. This is going to be fun!
Then there’s tracking and listening back through everything
Songs that’ll be on the album will be chosen and the remaining will be posted as a podcast. I hope to have this done the end of October
At this point, all that’s left are final touches on the album artwork and song titles while the album songs are mastered
I’ll try to post another update towards the end of September. Thanks for the prayers and support!
Life certainly goes by fast. I can’t believe this is my first update this year! I know many of you are ready for another Podcast as my last post was over a year ago, but after establishing a really good recording and mix for Podcast 70 on the new piano, I came to realize that all of these songs are original, and I have another 5-6 originals already tracked. So I’ve been praying and talking to friends and family about it and have decided to do a full-length album instead as its been on my heart to do this for years. The album title, “Matthew 26:40” I believe is a great fit as it will be an hour of MTPB songs recorded and arranged in a way that I hope will make an hour in prayer and communion with our Maker seem like far less. This is a perfect opportunity as God has blessed me with the funds to re-vamp my studio gear which will complement the new piano in a way that I’m very excited about! I know this means an even longer period of time before the next podcast, but I truly believe it’s what God wants me to do. Sorry for getting hopes up with my post of Facebook earlier last week, but my goal for the album is to have it completely done and ready for mastering by the end of June at which point I’ll begin work on the next podcast with the goal of posting it by August at the latest. Please keep me in your prayers as “…the spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak” 🙂
I’ll try to post updates more frequently as this forum will help in my accountability moving forward. Thanks again for all your prayers and support.
So much has happened over the past few months! I’ll start by sharing some pics of the new piano being delivered:
To be honest, I’ve been somewhat negligent at recording new content for the next podcast as there have been quite a few life-changes recently since I passed the CCIE Security.
First, and probably the biggest change is my departure from Soundwave. After over 10 years with the band, God has made it clear that I need to step down. The reason behind the decision was unclear at the time, but there have been a number of confirmations since.
Second, The Connection Church started a fourth service on Saturday Night last weekend. It was a HUGE hit, but this does come with a greater commitment of my time and also brings some clarity as to why I believe God brought me to the decision to leave Soundwave.
As the two little ones get older (now 4 and 6), they want to spend more time with dad, which I consider a true blessing. We are taking our first ever family vacation starting tomorrow and it’s going to be a blast!
With all this said, the next podcast release date is somewhat up in the air at this point, but I’ll keep you posted.
Hannah Fountain, my sister said a prayer over my latest podcast that I believe is truly anointed. They don’t have access to a studio so she recorded the prayer using her iPhone. I tried to clean up the audio a little bit, but if you focus on the prayer, I believe you’ll be blessed. Feel free to share with anybody who may be encouraged. Also, Hannah got references from Joyce Meyer’s healing scriptures and confessions. I pray this is as much as a blessing to you as it was to me.
Even with the time off I’ve taken and the lack of new podcasts, there seems to be a great deal of people using MTPB, which couldn’t make me happier. It is truly motivating to see how many this ministry has reached. Will the number ever reach 10 million in my lifetime? 10 million downloads if played and prayed to would equal roughly 5 million hours of prayer!
There is still more news and pictures to share so I’ll do my best to keep you posted. My goal for the next podcast end of September.
There are a number of countries that control access to the Internet and since musictoprayby.com has been categorized by most databases as a “religious” website, it has been blocked by some of these countries. In order to ensure fellow believers don’t loose access to this resource, I’ve created a website that doesn’t contain any reference to God or prayer. If you live in one of these countries and you’re taking a risk coming here, feel free to go to “piano-music dot org” to download the music and subscribe to the podcast. Unfortunately, I didn’t modify the MP3 tags or album art contained within the files so at some point I’ll go back and modify this, but Podcast 69 and the website is safe. I’ll limit my reference to the site here, but I will keep it updated with the latest podcasts. In fact, podcasts will be the only thing posted to that website for now.
The last podcast to be recorded on my Yamaha DC3M4. It goes away tomorrow, and though it’s only been 4 years, I feel as though I have a tremendous amount of history with that wonderful piano. I actually had to pick and choose from about 2 hours worth of recordings since I’m not sure if the old format will be supported on the new piano. I’m truly excited about the capabilities and the sound of the new Yamaha DC7XE3Pro, but it’s also sad to see my old piano leave the studio. I’m sure it will end up in good hands!
About the podcast – it’s all original except the last song. I had to choose between two really good covers and ended up going with “Oceans” by Hillsong United. It is one of my favorite songs, and though I feel like I barely did the original justice, I hope to do another rendition in a future podcast. I did a lot of playing with this mix, which will likely change noticeably with the new piano. I wanted to make sure the last podcast from the DC3M4 was as good as it could possibly sound, and I think I accomplished that.
I have a number of things to share with you so I apologize in advance for all the non-music posts that are to come over the next week or so. I pray this podcast is a blessing to you.
A quick update – the huge improvements I talked about in this post are finally here and more! I’m trading the old piano in for the 7′ 6″ I was originally looking at back in 2009. This also comes with the latest offering by Disklavier, which affords higher resolution MIDI recording as well as a number of extremely helpful technical improvements.
Also, I did not pass my CCIE Security Lab on April 23rd, but I have scheduled again for June 4th and truly hope this will be the end of the journey as I am ready to get back to recording podcasts on a regular basis. Please keep me in your prayers between now and then.
There are a number of changes coming and I truly appreciate your patience and support. I’ve got quite a bit recorded so it’s a matter of doing some MIDI editing, tracking, and mixing. I hope to post one last podcast using the DC3M4 before the new piano gets here, which should be early July. I’ll also update you on the latest setup once it’s up and running. Hopefully Podcast 70 will follow shortly after – can’t wait!
Yet another all-original podcast. I did use some pretty familiar chord progressions, but I also tried out some new styles. I’m definitely looking forward to trying this podcast out tomorrow morning during my devotional.
Sorry this came a little late. I spent way more time editing than I have in the past largely due to Logic Pro X, the new version of pro audio software I use. Some of the editing techniques I use don’t work the same way unfortunately so I spent bit of time finding workarounds.
May the Joy and Peace of our LORD overwhelm you as you listen and stay your mind on Him!
First, I want to say I’m sorry for being out of pocket for so long. I came nowhere near my goal for Music to Pray By in 2013. It seems as though other priorities snuck in throughout the year, and I wanted to share with you about some of them.
First, one that directly impacts this ministry – we’ve moved! We actually stayed in the same neighborhood, but upgraded to a little larger house that has more space for the studio. Now the piano has it’s own room where I plan to keep microphones at the “ready” at all times so there’s no setup when it’s time to record. There’s also more space in the control room for recording the band, which will certainly be a welcome change. Here are some pictures right after the move. I’ll be sure to update you with current pics once everything is setup:
There’s conduit running between the rooms for the MIDI and microphone cables. Most of the acoustic treatment is here and it’s just a matter of putting it up based on the designs Auralex provided. I hope to have the studio 100% ready by the end of this weekend.
We’ve kept our old home and are renting it out as a vacation home for those traveling to the Austin area since it is a hot destination for a number of reasons. We’ve listed it at homeaway.com. If you’re ever destined to the Austin area and need a place to stay, feel free to reach out! I know this GREAT church right down the street if you’re here over the weekend and would like to attend Sunday service.
Another major deterrent was the CCIE Security lab exam, which I spent countless hours preparing for this year. I took the lab in the middle of November and I did not pass. In fact, I left Cisco feeling as though version 4 of the lab is not passable. It was extremely discouraging, but I’m not going to give up and hope to try again mid-next year.
With regards to podcast 68, it is recorded and about 60% edited and hope to have it posted before the new year so stay tuned!
Our last full-blown concert put on by the band was over a year ago, and we are doing a full set of originals and a ton of worship that’s bound to be familiar to most everyone – especially those who go to The Connection Church. See the flyer below for details. We were working till after midnight last night preparing, and this is one concert you DO NOT want to miss! It’s gonna be awesome!