Reward Hard Work!

Ever tried composing a song? I have, and sometimes the melody comes in a flash of inspiration, but I've had times where I was just stuck, and was only able to develop the melody years later. Furthermore, planning riffs, grooves, bass lines, tempos, etc. can take up an entire day. And even if your arrangement is done you need to write the lyrics. I usually try to fit Bible verses into my melodies, and this can take a good deal of research into the Bible, and asking God 'what message do you want in the song?'. Lastly, it takes considerable effort to master your favourite riffs from worship songs; now you have to teach your bandmates how to play the parts as well. As you jam along, the arrangement will change, and you need to decide what's in and what's out.

Professional, full-time Christian songwriters put time and effort into writing songs for churches all around the world, and to give Christians songs to use for worship. On top of that, they serve their churches, and help train up fellow musicians in the church. It isn't easy, and many of them could be earning more in the secular music scene. It isn't about the money per se; rather, the lost income could mean giving your husband/wife a simpler anniversary present, or living in a smaller house to lessen the mortgage. Frankly, it would hurt to leave my current job if I were called to serve as a full-time worship musician in my church.

By downloading music online rather than purchase albums, you are not giving fellow Christian musicians their due. It may hurt to part with some cash, but it also hurts for churches to squeeze their budget, and for musicians to make a living when sales fall because of unpurchased downloads.

Then again, with user-generated content all over the net, perhaps we'll see a day where Christian songwriters and music arrangers pass around their works on the net for free, much like what is happening now with open source software. Will that day come? I certainly hope so, and I've started the ball rolling here.

But that is another story. If you are on a tight budget, here are some practical tips to help save up for cds:
  1. Buy online. Without needing to pay for rent, online stores are often cheaper, and many deliver free. I purchase my Christian cds online these days, and it saves me 10-20%. Ordering in bulk (with friends) helps reduce delivery costs if there are any.
  2. Hold off till a sale. Stores will eventually have to clear excess stock, and they often do this with a sale. Where I stay, there is an annual sale in early Dec, in time for Christmas. I've bought cds for as low as US$4!
  3. Buy compilation cds. We often buy cds for a couple of nice songs in the album, rather than for every song. Why not consider compilation cds, which package the nicest songs in an affordable set?
  4. Get someone to buy it for you. My friends sometimes ask me what I want for my birthday, and I usually have no clue as to what they can buy for me. If its the same for you, why not hold off buying cds, and wait till your birthday to receive them as a gift?
  5. Get the church to buy it for you. If you serve as a musician in your church, and are trying hard to make ends meet, why not encourage your pastor to invest in your musical development by sponsoring a few cds each year?

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