New Music To Pray By Album Art!

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!

Sorry for the downtime…

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!

Change in podcast frequency to monthly…

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.

Technical problems with the piano…

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!

The HUGE Improvements are here!

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:

Over 100,000 downloads in 89 countries

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:

Podcast Download World Map

The podcast has also been downloaded in all 50 states:

US Map of Podcast Downloads

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.

Some huge improvements to the podcast coming…

For the past 2 weeks, study time was cut in half, but I’ve started picking up speed again for the 2 month stretch I have left. During this time off, I spent a bit of time researching the new Yamaha Disklavier Mark 4 System. I even went to the local dealer and played one of the grand pianos that was built with the system. 5 word summary: It completely blew me away! They recorded about a minute of my music, and the playback was exactly what I played – sustain pedal and every meticulous keystroke made. There’s a lot more it will do. The benefits would be huge for my family, the Music To Pray By ministry, and me:

  1. The chance to playback the MIDI from the old Music To Pray By Album on an unbelievably sounding Yamaha 7′ 6″ Acoustic Grand, record it, and make it available to you.
  2. The ability to record MIDI first, not having to worry about the bird, the dogs, or anything, edit out the mistakes, play it back and record the flawless audio.
  3. Huge built-in teaching tools for SanBan. I plan to start teaching him as early as 3.
  4. SOUND!!! THE UNBELIEVABLE SOUND A HUGE 7′ 6″ YAMAHA GRAND PIANO MAKES!!! :mrgreen:

Needless to say, this is something very exciting to me. Upon further research, I discovered these things aint cheap. They are basically the cost of a new Mercedes ML500. During my research, an opportunity to buy a used one grabbed my attention. It was an S series which are crafted with much finer wood, it was only 2 years old, it was the pro version, which normally costs substantially more, and it was practically half off due to the seller’s circumstance. I came very close to making a very bad decision by going into debt, but thanks to some very wise counsel from my father, I turned down the offer and decided to start saving up for it. In the meantime, I’ve thought about doing the podcast with a keyboard instead of the Yamaha C2 Grand. This way, I could go back and record those podcasts with the Yamaha DC7M4 when I get it. What do you think?

Here’s a picture of it:

Yamaha DC7M4 Accoustic Grand Piano

Welcome!

This is my first official post on the Music To Pray By blog. I still have quite a bit of work to do on this site. I only purchased the domain names (.org, .net, and .info as well) a couple of days ago. Starting this blog has been an objective of mine now for over 2 years. I’m truly glad I’ve taken the plunge! I hope to post my first true music blog on Saturday. There is quite a bit happening so I’m not sure if I’ll get to it or not. I have a gig with Soundwave that afternoon in Driftwood, and my brother, David, is bringing us a puppy in the morning. Keep a look out though – if it doesn’t happen this Saturday, it will happen soon!

God bless!