A few years back my family traveled to North Korea.

As you might imagine, it was a life-changing experience. We saw a lot of strange things while we were there, but one of the memories that sticks with me is standing for an hour in a hotel lobby, waiting for our guides to “get their orders”. You see, we weren’t free to walk where we liked - we had to wait for a plan from higher up.

Believe it or not that experience reminds me of a musical parallel. Countless musicians are like our North Korean tour guides, only in their case, they’re stuck waiting for notes from a composer or arranger. They need someone higher up to tell them what to play.

We need more democracy in music. We need more creative freedom. We need better education for musicians to also be young composers.

But that will only come when we teach our young musicians to write music as well as read it and play it. We would never think it was acceptable for someone learning a new language to be stuck reciting pre-written lines. Why should we accept it for our aspiring artists?

That’s why the Conservatory of Annie Moses encourages all its students to write songs, compose melodies, and coin thoughts and experiences that are personal to them. It’s one way we are revolutionizing the world of the arts for the glory of God.

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