By Jenny Gregory
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMNews) – Truett-McConnell College Alumni and nationally recognized worship leader and songwriter, Matt Papa, provided a wealth of knowledge to students through informative workshops Thursday, March 19.
After leading worship in the school’s weekly chapel service, students had an opportunity to discuss Papa’s new book, Look and Live, share original music with the songwriter and ask questions related to Papa’s passion for music and leading worship.
As a worship leader, Papa was able to provide insight for students who are deciding what path to take after graduating.
Several students were given the opportunity to share their own personal music with Papa who provided feedback and positive critique.
Junior, Andrea Towns shared her song ‘Burning Bushes’ which was a
hit with Papa and all in attendance: “Your title hooked me in and I wanted to hear what you had to say,” Papa said.
As other talented students shared, Papa had advice for each of them: “I love the idea;” “Convey the weight of what you are talking about;” “The content is personal in your song and very strong.”
TMC freshman, Caspian Bowers said: “It felt really good to have Matt listen to one of my songs. It was nice to have a professional artist comment and critique my work and tell me what was both good and what could be improved or redone.”
After listening to the students, Papa shared how and why he writes music: “I’ll compile quotes, ideas, and scripture to make an idea explode,” he said, “and lots of thinking and praying goes into each song.”
“I love songwriting because it never happens the same way. You have to write, write, write, write, write and let people give you feedback,” he said. “People may tell you that certain songs serve a purpose or are God leading. These songs should then be recorded.”
A favorite book Papa referenced was Songwriters on Songwriting, a book filled with information for aspiring songwriters. “The book is inspiring and it has lots of artists like Bob Dylan and Paul Simon whom share their thoughts on songwriting.”
TMC sophomore, and Contemporary Worship and Music Composition major,
Levi Fortner, was also encouraged from the event: “Matt has provided much theological and musical encouragement for me through the years and will continue to. Getting to briefly have his attention to thank him for his influence was a joyful event.”
Bowers agreed with Fortner and was also encouraged by the workshops and plans to incorporate the tools Papa shared for future songwriting.
“I think incorporating his advice into future songs will be easy after sitting through the session times with him and hearing hisexplanations of how songwriting, particularly Christian songwriting should be approached,” Bowers said. “All that being said, it was a helpful experience to get to talk to and more importantly listen to Matt speak.”
Dennis Allen, Assistant Professor of Worship and Church Music, shared the importance of the personalized event with Papa: “The goal of our music faculty is to provide our students with a rich and musically diverse educational experience during their time at TMC. Having Matt Papa as our guest was positive on several levels.”
Allen was thankful for the time Papa was able to share with the students: “It helped our students have one-on-one time with a skilled contemporary worship leader and songwriter. It also helped them see a Truett-McConnell graduate who was following God’s will for his life, and enjoying a successful career as a musician.”
“Think about your gifts, passions, burdens and opportunities,” Papa said in closing. “If these line up with something musically then use them.God through His church and through other people will affirm what you are doing or He will push you in another direction.”
You are at a time in your life where you should just try and do stuff,” he added. “Most importantly, have fun with it!”
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