• August 20, 2016

Composers Discuss Their Craft WithCBU Students

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (April 23, 2015) -- "Everything you do, it needs to be the best you have because you never know where it's going to end up," said Russell Mauldin.

Mauldin was one of three featured speakers at Meet the Arrangers, an event hosted by the Collinsworth School of Music at California Baptist University on April 14. Students also heard from Cliff Duren and Phillip Keveren, who spoke to music students about the music business, the creative process, the challenges and being in the church. Mauldin, Duren and Keveren are recording artists, published songwriters and church worship pastors.

John Bolin, a CBU graduate who also is a composer and minister of worship and arts at a Texas church, moderated the event.

No job is too small and even on the small jobs, writers need to do their best work, Mauldin said. Previous jobs included writing singing telegrams and being a choir director for a small church.

When criticism comes, don't take it personally and have perseverance, they said.

"If you write, write every day," Mauldin said. "The difference in a hobby and a craft is doing it when you don't feel like doing it that day. Do it anyway and that builds up those muscles of your craft."

Even after all his years in the business, Keveren stills gets nervous when he starts a new piece.

"I have a little bit of fear every time I open up a new chart … what if I don't figure this one out?" he said. "I have that moment, and I'm kind of convinced that when you don't have that, it's time to retire because then you're on autopilot."

The arrangers also talked about how today's technology has changed the music world.

"I think if I was your age, I would look at it as a great opportunity. You can have a website and put your PDFs up there and the world can see your music, and that's exciting," Keveren told the students. "I would just warn you of this one thing: be careful what you put up there, because everybody gets to see it. Be certain that what you put up there is the best work you can do."

If musicians are Christians, they are also called to use their gifts in the church they're attending, Duren said.

"You're in a church and you're giving the Lord back what he has given you. Not with the motive of it turning into something else but just because he's worthy of it," he said. "It's extremely important to utilize your gifts. It's only going to make you better."