A Conversation with Brad Kelley

Brad Kelley

Yesterday, I had the amazing privilege of speaking with renowned composer Brad Kelley!  Mr. Kelley is a renowned and well-traveled composer having written music for Universal Studios, Paramount Parks, McDonalds, IBM, and, currently, Disney on Classic.

I ended up speaking with him for an hour and received some incredible advice for starting out as a composer.  While we talked about a lot of different topics (and I took several pages of notes!), here are a few of the highlights:

A Blast from the Past

One of the most special moments during the concert was hearing The Awakening being played again.  This piece is especially meaningful to me as it was the first song I ever wrote on paper now almost six years ago.  Tenor James Phillipps, who had originally recorded the piece with the orchestra, came back six years later to perform the piece during the concert.

James Phillipps singing The Awakening

This song still remains one of my most famous pieces as it really was the piece that helped me decide that I could actually be a composer (I was going to be a kindergarten teacher!)  James did a fabulous job with the solo and the song really took on a life of its own!

Here’s the original recording from six years ago.

I’m still amazed at what an amazing journey this has been and thankful for everyone who has taken part in making it all possible.

An Afternoon with Keith Getty

Last week I had the opportunity to meet composer Keith Getty – a modern day hymn writer and one of my heros in music.  Keith met with the composers for lunch before giving a two hour seminar on the music field and the importance of music in worship.

I ended up taking over three pages of notes, but I wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

Keith and Kristyn Getty TMC Music Event

One of the biggest takeaways from meeting with Keith was the emphasis of the importance of good quality music in worship.  As Keith pointed out:

God’s people have learned their history through song.  Therefore our songs frame our responses.

Keith explained that music in worship needs to not only have a beauty about it, but also an excellence and depth in the meaning of the words that we sing.

If our songs have the greatness of God’s love, but not any of His other attributes, we have failed.

Session with Keith Getty

At the seminar, Keith stressed the importance of good songs and good lyrics explaining that one of the most important questions a pastor can ask himself at the end of the service is:  “How well did the congregation sing?”

Churches with good preaching but shallow songs breed shallow congregations.

When asked how he can write so many songs of the faith and find his drive, Keith explained:

Be the best musician you can be, but make sure your faith grows faster than your talent.

These quotes are only the tip of the iceberg of what I took away from meeting with Keith Getty.  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with this excellent musician and humble man and I was greatly inspired in my own writing as I heard from him.