The Language of Our Culture


Legs copy

Photo by Nicholas Donner

I sat in on a songwriting master class with National Community Church’s Worship Director Kurtis Parks last week and wanted to share a few nuggets I took away from the meeting, especially for any fellow songwriters that might need encouragement or inspiration for continuing to write. Kurtis has written over 1,500 songs, produced over 40 albums, and has relationships with many other amazing musicians. We sing his songs every week, often without knowing it. All of that to say, it was a really cool opportunity and I took notes–a lot of them.

One of the main points he made is that music is the language of our culture. Everyone understands music whether they can sing, play, dance, or appreciate it. Music fills a void that words and talking can’t. It has defined decades, dance moves, and life’s peaks and valleys. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a song and thought “that’s exactly the way I’m feeling and I didn’t even know it!”

Alex Clare’s “Too Close” came out right at the time of a difficult breakup and when I heard it, I understood myself in new ways. He summed up so many complex thoughts and emotions in one song! Every time I hear it, I’m reminded of that small awakening. When I hear Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day” I’m dancing with my hubby at our wedding (and always think about how she wrote that song about her dog, which I totally love). When I hear Sublime’s “Santeria” I’m in the car with my sister in high school, excited that I got to listen to the music the older kids were into. When I hear “Oh How He Loves Us” I’m new to DC and remember the story John Mark McMillan shared about losing his best friend and how God was faithful through that.

What songs transport you back in time? What songs have others written that have meant the world to you when you heard them? This is a reason (one of many) that we write.