Whether painting a canvas, “becoming” a character in a film or shaping a sculpture, every artist has a creative process that aids in achieving the best possible end result. I have been a musician and singer/songwriter for most of my life and have written, composed and arranged many songs. Setting the Psalms to music presented new challenges that I hadn’t encountered before and I thought it might be interesting to share a few elements of my process with you over the next few weeks. Let’s use our upcoming release, Psalm 8 as an example.
Lent has its origins in a forty-hour fast observed from Good Friday until Easter Sunday, meant to mark the time that Christ was buried in the tomb. Later, this fast evolved into a forty day liturgical season. The Church marked out this season of forty days as a time to fast, repent, worship, and consider our need for a Savior.
I can remember my reaction when learning of a sermon series on the Psalms last summer (2014). As music minister, I tried to think of a way to creatively tie in the Psalms with the rest of our worship service. I thought. I prayed. I researched other Psalm projects. Then it dawned on me. “Why not try to write music to the Psalms, word for word?” I thought. The first week, in preparation for the coming Sunday service, I sat down with my guitar and a Bible and began to compose what would be the first of thirteen Psalms set to music, verbatim from Scripture.