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.
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.
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!
Earlier this year, the band, Marked 4 Life asked if I would record them. Normally, I would say “no” to these types of requests due to the fact that I’m pretty over-committed as it is, but I made an exception since I’ve known most of the band members for a decade and most of them are still in High School, yet they’ve been together as a band for over 5 years I believe. They are also very important to my home church, TCC as they serve as the youth band, and do occasional gigs for the kids. Work and Soundwave have consumed most of my time over the past couple of months so I’m just now finishing up one of the three songs we recorded and I figured I would share it with you. This is the pre-master version, and won’t be downloadable, but the EP will hopefully be available sometime this year.
I did want to let you know I’m running a little behind on Podcast 68, but my goal is to have it posted by mid-June. I’ve got everything tracked and have begun editing so I may have it done sooner – stay tuned!
It is often times difficult to find balance in life is it not? This year has been the most challenging yet, and I feel as though I have grown closer to God more than ever! He has been so faithful! I am so excited about 2013. The goals I hope to reach next year seem impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible. (Matt. 9:26) Here they are in no particular order:
Start and finish the next Soundwave album – We will start recording our next album after DCYC in January. Jeremy has enough songs written and so far what I’ve heard has been amazing. I am truly excited about God’s plans for us!
Retake the new CCIE Security Version 4 lab exam – In order to avoid taking the written exam again, I will need to attempt the lab exam by November 14th. For those who don’t know, I attempted version 3 of the lab last month and did not pass. The new version has a huge amount of new technology so I have hundreds of hours of preparation to undertake before November.
Finish the Music To Pray By Album – This is a difficult one since we plan to release the Soundwave album early 2014, a large amount of my spare time will be dedicated to Soundwave in the studio.
Post quarterly Music To Pray By podcasts – I believe part of the reason it has been difficult to be consistent in the podcasts is I’ve had unrealistic goals. A podcast every 3 months should be an attainable goal. This means podcast 67 should be posted in February.
Remain faithful to the Worship Team, the Ministry Leadership Team, and our small group at The Connection Church – This has become almost second nature, but does require time and is a very important goal. Our church has continued to grow and reach the lost for Christ and it is truly exciting and inspiring to be a part of it!
With my “day job” of IT consulting absorbing around 50 hours of my week, there are two remaining parts of my life that I know have to take priority over everything. My time with God and my time with my family. 2013 will truly be a great year, but I believe above all, seeking first His Kingdom (Matt. 6:33) and trusting in The LORD with all of my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6) is my true goal as I try to find a balance.
One more thing – I made a minor change to Podcast 66 about 4 days after it was posted to bring down the midrange a little since it was a bit much so if you’d like the update, just unsubscribe, delete the old podcast 66, resubscribe, and you should be prompted to download it again.
I had to work overtime to get it done, but after listening to the recorded tracks, I’ve noticed distortion throughout the podcast. I was determined to get this out tonight / this morning as you can see by the timestamp of this post, but I’m out of time and I really need to re-record the audio so I will get it done tonight after work. Thanks for your patience, prayers, and understanding.
It’s actually been up for a while now so most of you have probably already noticed. There were quite a few issues when it was deployed by the developers almost a month ago, but they are all fixed! The site is now available in over 50 languages which is also a huge improvement. This ministry reaches believers all over the world! Alex Anze is testament of that, and he has been a huge blessing to this ministry. Not only did he design the new album art as mentioned in this post, but he’s also responsible for this website. Below is the original graphic design he provided for the developers to use in building it. They did an outstanding job translating the graphic into what you see now and I’m truly thankful all this has come together. God is good! Feel free to comment on the design if you like. In the meantime, Podcast 63 is in the works and should be posted this Sunday evening.
Unfortunately, there has been no progress made on the new website. I am still working with the developers to correct issues with the “contact” form, translation, and the e-mail subscription so those of you who are subscribed have probably noticed you’re not receiving e-mails when I post. I hope to have all these issues resolved soon.
Secondly, I’ve been hard at work the past year on the new Soundwave album, and it’s crunch time. We’ve committed release the album by early January at the latest which means I need to have all the songs ready for mastering by early to mid-October. Soundwave is a ministry near and dear to my heart, and the commitment I’ve made to the group is taking priority over the podcast at this moment in time. I will post updates on the website, album, and podcast as they come. Thank you in advance for your understanding and prayers.
UPDATE: The contact form, translation, subscription, and some other issues have been resolved but there are still a few things outstanding. Hopefully they’ll be resolved within the next few days. I plan to send out an official announcement as soon is everything’s 100%.
My apologies to everyone as I migrate to the new website. There are a number of things that are broken right now. I’m working with the web developers to get them fixed. I should hopefully have everything working in a few days, at which time I’ll shoot out an official announcement about the new website. In the meantime, the podcast should be working now, and if you happen to browse here before the announcement goes out, feel free to comment and let me know what you think. More details to come on how all this came about.
About 5 days ago, Alex Anze, a podcast subscriber and graphics designer contacted me and said that he felt led by LORD to help the MTPB ministry by designing new album art for the podcasts “…in hopes that a better album cover might be more inviting to more people and so increase the number of praying people.” Today, I received the following image from him and all I can say is, …wow!
When I asked if it was okay to mention him in a blog post, he asked that it be made clear that he did this for the glory of God and not for self publicity – that this was a way of advancing the Kingdom of God and he’s glad and proud to have achieved something that may just do that. There may be some improvements to the website as well thanks to Alex’s generosity. GOD IS GOOD! Thank you LORD for Alex and for the work You’ve accomplished through him, and I pray you bless him in a very huge way!
I worked tirelessly last night well into this morning in efforts to move the website to a different hosting provider, and when I woke up today, discovered a pretty bad DNS issue which has basically taken the website down over the past 12 hours. Everything should be good to go now – it’s just a matter of DNS proprogation across the Internet which can take up to 48 hours. The good news is it should be completely fixed in time for podcast 59. I’m a little behind in the editing – still have about 23 minutes to go, but have no other plans with the exception of church stuff tomorrow and Sunday. Stay tuned!
With the commitments I have to family, church, Soundwave, and work, I have come to the conclusion that the amount of time required to edit, record, mix, and post bi-weekly podcasts is throwing my life out of balance. I’ve thought and prayed about this for a while now and I know this is the right decision. I pray someday I will be able to do music ministry for a living, but just as Paul temporarily built tents to provide for his needs, I temporarily build internetworks to provide for my family. I still intend to sit down at the piano on a bi-weekly basis and record podcasts with hopes that in the future I will be able to catch up or employ help for the editing and mixing. At any rate, expect the next podcast to be posted on the 8th of May. I hope you had a blessed Easter.
Yesterday, I was able to work with a technician over the phone and he walked me through some calibration steps that resolved the sustain pedal issue I was having. I’ve also got a tuning appointment scheduled for Monday of next week so I will be posting the next podcast on the 16th. Thank you for listening and God bless!
Podcast 51 is recorded, edited, and ready to go. Unfortunately, the new piano isn’t cooperating. There’s some kind of technical issue with the sustain pedal – it stops listening to MIDI signals 5-6 minutes into playback. There were signs of this last week, but Yamaha Support was unavailable so I’ll be calling them first thing in the morning and hope to have it resolved as soon as possible. Once it’s fixed, I’ll be able to get podcast 51 dumped to audio and posted. Hopefully, this will happen sooner rather than later. I’ll be sure to post updates as they come. God bless, and happy new year!
Some of you may remember when I posted this about a year and a half ago. Recently, someone living in a part of the world where you can be killed for preaching Jesus reached out to me. They shared with me how they duplicate and hand out CD copies of the podcast in hopes the Truth would be revealed by the Holy Spirit through the music since they’re forbidden to share God’s Word. This really brought home to me the importance of this ministry. I firmly believe this is a big reason God put me here.
I didn’t go all out with a DC7M4, which would have been too big for the studio anyway. Instead, I went with the DC3M4 which is only about 5 inches bigger than the C2, but it does have the Disklavier system and allows for me to edit MIDI rather than audio. It is taking time to get used to playing in a manner that makes it easier to edit, but I’m getting there, and I think the results are pretty noticeable. Last week, I spent over 16 hours working on podcast 49, and though the difference may not be huge, there are certainly no more sour notes. A stroke of the “delete” key now takes care of those. I’ve also been able to improve timing issues through the editing process, which was impossible most of the time when I was editing audio. This is going to make a huge difference in the quality of each podcast. No more distractions from what this is all about – drawing near to God. If you’ve been blessed by this ministry, and if the Holy Spirit leads you, please:
The first donation was given today – thank you! Every bit of money donated will go directly into the cost of this huge investment. I will also be moving forward with producing a CD of all the best original melodies God has given me over the years. It’s going to be awesome! I hope to finish this before 2012. Pre-order will be available a month or two prior to the release. Thanks again to all you faithful listeners – I pray for you almost daily. Here’s a sample of the piano in action playing back last week’s edited podcast:
It could actually be more than 89 countries since the site was just recently moved to a new podcasting service that allows to see this detail, but it is truly motivating to see people all over the world downloading the podcast. Here are some screenshots of the tracking:
The podcast has also been downloaded in all 50 states:
Thanks again to all of you who are subscribed to the podcast! I pray it continues to inspire you to spend more time in prayer.
The past few days, I’ve been working tirelessly to get the podcast back up. There have been a number of changes. The first is podpress is gone forever. I discovered this podcasting service called Blubrry PowerPress, and it seems to be way more stable and functional. It took forever because I had to modify every podcast that’s ever been posted since the import from podpress didn’t work. Also, I added ID3 tagging to all the posts so artwork shows up now. There are still some issues to work out. First, in order to add a podcast description, our webserver needs to be upgraded to php5. Not sure why, but I’m working on getting that done soon hopefully. Also, I’m working on updating the artwork for the iTunes store and for the ID3 tagging. We’ll see how that goes. Please use the “contact” link to report any issues you might have.
Unfortunately, the WordPress 3.0 upgrade has broken quite a few things on the site including podpress, which is the plugin I use to post MTPB. I’ve been working on it for a while now and I can’t figure it out, and since this version of WordPress hasn’t been out for very long, there isn’t really any information out there on this problem. I’ll likely have to figure out a way to downgrade to the previous version. I have Soundwave practice tomorrow so it will likely stay broken through Thursday or Friday depending on how long it takes me to fix it. I’ve got the new MTPB podcast ready to post too! Please pray for me that I’ll find a fix quick.
It’s not to another country or anything like that. Things are bad, but they’re not that bad yet. 😉 We’re just moving across the street to Buda. I probably should have blogged about this sooner but life has been full speed ahead! Since my last post, we’ve completely transformed this house into a new home staged beautifully. There have been a dozen people in and out of it helping us. We’ve got it listed for sale, packed up half of our stuff in boxes, and still have more to go. Somehow, I found time for a local Huey Lewis cover gig. We had a 10-piece band – there were 4 singers, two of which were the electric guitarist and drummer with an electronic pad, trombone, trumpet, and sax players, an organist with an old 60’s B3 and Leslie cabinet (beautiful sound), bass player,and myself with every synth sound I could hear in Huey’s songs. We performed for Valentines Day, and had a really great time. At work, we brought hundreds of servers into production in our new datacenter in San Antonio. It’s our primary datacenter supporting AT&T Wi-Fi Services. It’s huge, and I’m responsible for the network – lots and lots of pressure. 🙁 Yoko had her yearly Okinawa Tomonokai event in Downtown Austin where hundreds of people go experience traditional Okinawan food and dance. I also got to serve with Soundwave at a wonderful church in Bastrop, TX this morning. We had a great time – lots of similarities to my home church. I would have most certainly fit the podcast in if my piano were tuned. I’ve held off since it’ll need to be tuned after the move, which should be the beginning of April. In the new home, I’m going to turn a room into a studio where the piano will reside so recording podcasts will be so much easier. The new piano will just have to wait for now.
Below you’ll find a video I took of Sanban a while back on my iPhone, and I just had to share it.
Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next podcast. The next one will be recorded in our new home – stay tuned!