Michael J Weaver Music

Music Publishing and Performance.

Welcome to Michael J Weaver Music!

My goal here is to provide various musical services that are professional, uplifting and beautiful. Click around the site, see what interests you, and come back tomorrow and see what's different. Then let me know how I can serve you best.

Let's make music together.

The Reason for the Seasons

Has anyone ever thought about how the months are named after numbers, but the numbers don't match up with the months? (for example - Sept=7 Oct=8 Nov=9 Dec=10)

July and August are imposters. They don't belong in the year! They're just kinda slipped in there between June and September, but they're not supposed to be there. Now, I know what you're thinking, and you're exactly right. They were added by the teacher's union because they wanted a longer summer vacation.

Maybe you've heard some story about Julius and Augustus Caesar, which really makes sense... but where did you learn that story? At school? From a teacher?

Don't let them fool you.

Back before there was summer, we had nice even temperatures all year. If you are a "spring" or a "fall" person, you would have loved it! But teachers unions got upset because they only got 1-2 weeks off in June and then had to start again in September. So one January they sped up the earth so the days would go faster and there would be more than the 300 days that used to be in the year. By June we were on track to hit 400 days! But the problem with speeding up the earth is that the faster speed caused more friction and the Earth began to heat up. So they decided to turn off the machine, but it was far too late. The newly created months, July and August, registered the hottest months in history and we experienced our first summer. So the union reps threw the machines into reverse in order to put things back, but they way overcompensated, and by the time we got to December, we were experiencing freezing temperatures like we had never seen, and the earth had slowed down so much that we ended up with our 365-day year.

The union reps of course hushed everything up and the teachers convinced everyone that this is the way it's always been.

But just remember: Any time we have an extra hot summer or an extra cold winter, any time we have a leap year, it's the teacher's union messing up again. They are forever stuck now, speeding up and slowing down the earth, never quite getting back to that sweet zone like we used to have. And it was all so they could have a longer summer break.

Let's spin a tale together.

MjW

5 Things to Remember While Praying

I have a little over 800 Scrabble tiles that I acquired a few years ago...

They don't get pulled out too often, but when they do, you know it's going to be a good time!

I love playing games like Extreme Bananagrams, challenging 30 or more people to this game at a time. The fewer people you have, the longer and more difficult the game becomes... not unlike other areas of life, e.g., chores, moving a fridge, recording a rock song...

But one of my favorite things to do with these tiles is to use them with the Youth group as a "meditation station". We do these kinds of "stations" usually once a month to get Youth to find their own voice in the context of prayer. When we think about prayer, we too often picture a pastor using words that are much too big and way too fancy and speaking for far too long. There is no reason for this, and God doesn't expect us to pray this way. So here are some things that we should remember if we decide to pray:

1. God doesn't only speak in "Thee"s and "Thou"s. King James did. Just because you've read the Bible and it's all written weird and undecipherable doesn't mean you have to try to translate your words to "God speak". The Bible you might be thinking of is written that way because it was translated waay back in the early 1600's when they really just talked that way. So maybe... just maybe...

2. You can pray to God the way you talk to your friends. Just talk... leave off all the "Almighty Gracious Father"s and "Holy Lord"s, unless you feel totally comfortable saying those things. Mostly God just wants to hear from you, in whatever state you're in, in whatever language you feel like speaking... silence works too.

3. Longer is usually worse. Prayer is as much for you as it is for God. So if you're praying so long that you lose track of what you're saying, it doesn't do you any good. Prayer is for reflection. Prayer is for meditation. All these weird church words basically comes down to prayer being about you being able to process the things that are weighing on you. If you're finding yourself praying for an hour about everything that comes to mind, then take breaks. Pray smaller prayers. Not for God's sake. He hears everything, even the things you don't say. But for your own sake. Give yourself that time to process. And that time to listen.

4. Listen. Sometimes we spend so much time speaking that our thoughts and concerns never get a chance to be resolved. Silence gives us the time we need to process the things that have been said. And whether you believe this is God speaking to you, or just your own mind fixing problems, it is an extremely helpful practice.

5. Do something. I don't know about you... but when I am sitting quietly, I tend to get just a little drowsy. It's okay to do something that helps to illustrate what you're thinking. Play with some clay, draw a picture, untangle some yarn, make a crossword with some Scrabble pieces (or one of my favorites... play the piano in the dark). You don't have to do any of this every time, but it's good to occasionally mix things up!

So say a prayer today, however you'd like. God is a pretty good translator.

Let's pray together.

MjW

Not Going Back This Year

For the first time in my life, I am disappointed not to be going back to school.

I have really enjoyed teaching, and thought maybe I'd find something between June and now, but nothing has surfaced. So I continue to write music (New Music Tuesdays should be coming back soon) and work with the Youth at my church, looking for other music-related gigs in the mean time (band teachers... I can make your score look beautiful!).

But it is surprising to me how much I miss it already, especially given how opposed I was to the idea of being "Mr. Weaver".

So not going back this year has to mean something different than "I'm not doing this".

Not going back to school means I have some time that I need to fill.

Now a lot of this time is being filled now by figuring out this whole marriage thing... food shopping, taking care of the apartment, cooking meals here and there... but there needs to be something else too.

Something creative.

Something new.

Something my wife and I have been discussing for far too long, and it might be time to go for it.

 

No, not a baby.

So if you're one of our creative-type friends... and we start asking you questions about what you do... bear with us. Too much free time = next stage commence.

 

Let's do something amazing together.

-MjW

Return

So sometimes you have to go away for a while because you get far too involved in everything else and then come back without an explanation.

And sometimes you just needed to play two shows and lead a Youth mission trip.

And sometimes a blog is not a priority.

But today, it becomes one again.

 

6 Tips for Wedding Ceremony Musicians

Today I am honored to be playing the music for a couple of my good friends who are getting married. I hope I can help to make their wedding day sound just exactly as they've planned it.

I've played my fair share of wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours (Never done a reception yet... bucket list?) and there are certain things I've learned to do to make a wedding day as amazing and not-awkward as possible. Are you a wedding musician? Take heed! This stuff is important:

1. Practice the music ahead of time. I can't count the number of times I've sat in a wedding for some good friends and listened to a musician stumble through what is obviously their first read of the ceremony music. Don't be an idiot. Practice the music and play it well. I sure do wish this didn't need to be mentioned...

2. Practice looping music and then stopping at any point in the music tastefully and inconspicuously. The biggest mistake wedding musicians make is playing music that is either too long or too short for what is necessary. And odds are, your bride is not going to pick music that is timed perfectly for that march down the aisle. It is your job to make sure the music starts when it is supposed to and then stops when it is supposed to. This will often require some musical gymnastics on your part, (especially if you're playing with a group) but it is the most essential part of what you are doing. The ability to lengthen or shorten a piece of music in real time is not just a neat talent. It's really a necessity before you decide to take a wedding gig.

3. Go to the rehearsal. Clear your schedule for this. The rehearsal is the ultimate surprise-preventer. This is when you find things out that you were never told (or you forgot)... Things I've discovered at rehearsal (in no way related to the wedding I'm playing today, Andrea and Dan are rock stars!):

  • Basic structure of the ceremony
  • Is there special music?/When does it occur?
  • The aisle is a lot longer/shorter than you thought.
  • 15 bridesmaids?! Really?
  • Have the flower girls/ring bearers practiced at all before tonight? No? They'll be taking while...
  • "You need to provide a sound system and microphone for the officiant."
  • "We'd like to hear this song instead."
  • It's an outdoor wedding.
  • A fellow musician was practicing the wrong part.
  • Oh... you'd prefer organ for this then?

And all this is not to mention the added benefit of the bridal party getting the chance to hear what the music is going to sound like... one less surprise for them too!

4. Pay attention to the pace of the ceremony. Everything that happens will affect what you are doing. Remember back when we practiced shortening and lengthening music? It's time to put all that into practice:

  • Your prelude may have to run longer because Aunt Suzie isn't here yet.
  • No matter how well you prepare, you will never be able to truly estimate how long it will take for people to walk down an aisle (unless you set a timer and give each member a specific time stamp on when to start their procession... true story. This wedding was precise.) The song's over and there's still bridesmaids coming? Time to loop...
  • Is the bride jogging up the aisle? Time to wrap up the song. Many brides want to hear a beautiful 4-5 minute song playing as they walk down they aisle, not realizing it usually takes about 20-40 seconds to walk down an aisle. Be ready for this. (This is actually the best case for "Here Comes the Bride" anyone could make... the chorus takes just about the right amount of time)
  • Is the bride standing up at the front while the party is trying to signal that they're ready for you to stop playing? It's already too late. You missed it. End it now. Noo, not like that. Like we practiced.
  • Is the special music playing during a unity-something-or-other? (candles, sand art, sandwiches...) It does not take long to light a candle. Don't play a 3 minute song to underscore the candle-lighting. Do find the perfect part of the song that will most effectively express the beauty of the moment... and then let the moment be a moment.

5. Play in such a way that people leave the ceremony not thinking about the music. If you are at any point a focus of the ceremony, you have failed. Your job is to underscore, and a good underscore helps convey the emotion of the moment without being a performance. If the music becomes a personal performance at any point, you have taken the spotlight away from where it really belongs. There are times for performances (cocktail hour is a GREAT time to perform and show off a bit... be an entertainer!) but during the ceremony you should stay as much in the background as possible.

6. Do everything you can to relieve the stress of the bride and groom. They are counting on you to make some of the most potentially hairy parts of the service go as smoothly as possible. And you really do have this power. Know your stuff and watch your timing and you will put everyone at ease!

What would you add to this list?

Let's make music with some soon-to-be-newlyweds.

-MjW

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