An Amazing Grace has fallen on me.
I have been playing guitar for 18 years and I started to play hymns when I came back to the Church 10 years ago. I have not received any formal training in guitar techniques and music theory, but God has been my teacher during these days.
He gave me a gift of transposing
songs for guitar solo. Four years ago I began arranging a few hymns for
guitar, including “As the Deer”, and, amazingly, I have now
finished more than 30 pieces. I decided I would like to publish a book
to share my music with others. I discussed this idea with the Church and
made queries to publishers, but I got unsatisfactory feedback. I was disappointed
and I put aside the plan.
After that, I began to arrange some of my favourite pop songs, which were very old, for guitar solo and I negotiated with a publisher to publish the music in October last year. The publisher quoted me a big price for the publishing and forced me to add some recent pop songs. I was very angry and depressed. However, I put forward this plan without seeking God’s direction. The book was finally published for sale in November 2000. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the final product because it had a couple of errors because the publisher had not made amendments before to publishing. This caused me to feel very unhappy and angry. In addition, I was not willing to promote the book because of the errors . I became more depressed when I realized that I might not have full recovery of the publishing cost.
A month later, I picked up the hymns again and looked for a clue to publishing. God led me to Mr. C.Y. Hui, the Director of China Alliance Press, in December and he proposed to me alternatives means for publishing and promotion. I felt happier but was still unsatisfied as I wished to make the songs into a book. At the same time, I continued my writing and editing of the hymns. Although the arrangements were improved, I was still worried about publishing as the cost was high and a lot of editing was required.
Last Friday night, I calmed down and just before I started practicing the guitar, a voice amazingly reached my ears and said, “Gary, don’t panic about the hymns. These are My songs and no one can take advantage from them”. I was shocked but felt relaxed as I got the answer for my problem. This answer was not just a clue but reminded me that the songs belonged to God and my wish was to share the songs with others. Then, I decided to adopt one of Mr. Hui’s suggestions, which was to make the songs into individual pieces and not to make a fixed price but a recommended donation of $10 for each piece. This method can significantly reduce the production cost and allows me to have more time to edit other songs in a cautious manner, as I do not need to review quickly all the songs at one time. It was really amazing that the first song would be “Amazing Grace” because I feel it is one of the best in my collection. Having the problem solved, God gave me the grace to write songs for Him on the next day.
It’s really an Amazing Grace. Halleluiah.
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