Taylor McPherson, Trevecca’s vocal coordinator, is dedicated to offering Christ-centered vocal instruction that is informed by current vocal teaching methods. When teaching in his vocal studio, McPherson says he often talks about the Christian life and how the science and art of singing reveal the glory of Christ. To get to know him a little better and find out more about his work, we asked McPherson a few questions about Trevecca, his desire to use his gifts to serve God and some insight into the modern music industry.
You're a vocalist yourself and have studied and written about teaching vocalists. How do you think your experience and knowledge shape you as a teacher?
It’s really important to have a basic understanding of the differences between voice types. I’ve done a lot of in-depth studying on voice types… so I pull from all of that learning to help me with the variety of students I get to teach every day. I pray before every lesson with the student, and I just ask the Holy Spirit to lead me and help me teach [that student], because undoubtedly every lesson I will run into something I don’t understand, so I need help.
You're teaching music in Music City. What do you think makes Trevecca's music program unique?
It’s our mission and our drive to not allow students to think of themselves or be treated as products. [As a faculty member], I’m going to join in with Jesus to try to help my students grow in their goals, because eventually they will walk in the destiny God has for them. That will influence culture; that will influence industry; and that’s what we’re about.
Are there key instructions or tips you find yourself giving your students frequently?
There is one thing that I teach my students: great singers are people who do the fundamentals well every time. That’s it. You can have a lot of talent, and that’s a blessing, but that will only take you as much as you’re gifted. It’s the people who will hone in on the technical aspects of singing, who will learn the foundational concepts of singing [who become great singers]. When you do that, before you know it, you’re almost able to sing anything.
What do you think vocalists in today's music industry need to understand or know?
Each one of us has been uniquely gifted by Jesus, so don’t abuse your instruments for the sake of trying to be something or do something. Your voice—your instrument—is absolutely a part of who you are, and if you will become more authentic in your singing, if you will hone in on the gift that God has given you, you have the power in your voice, your writing and your singing [that you can use] to influence a generation. So what message are you going to give? You have the ability to use language to build up, grow in love, and create unity.
In your spare time, you produce a blog and podcast. What topics do you enjoy discussing?
I run a blog called WordforWorship.com, and the tagline I have for it is, “Opening the Word. Embracing Jesus.” It’s easy to approach the Bible as the roadmap for your life, which is not a bad thing, but the very nature of God is contained within the pages of the Bible. I believe if we will open [Scripture] with hearts that want to experience and know Jesus, we can know Him. [So on my blog,] I walk through the Scripture, and I try to be as expositional as possible. I incorporate some music, but mostly it’s a blog. I just recorded the first episode of the podcast extension of that. The podcast has the same focus, but it’s a little bit different. It’s more about how we mature in Christ, how we can become the man or the woman He’s created us to be.
McPherson is just one of the many talented, passionate faculty members in Trevecca’s School of Music and Worship Arts, which is comprised of the Department of Music, Center for Worship Arts and the National Praise and Worship Institute. The school offers a wide variety of musical majors, from commercial music and theory and composition to worship arts and praise and worship.
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