In today’s post, Rik Hedlund talks about what it’s like to have a technical arts career. He works behind the scenes at our church as well as for different events around town helping with the technical side of the music industry. But, he is also a very talented musician who uses his love of music to help him with producing. His knowledge of music allows him to hear what is going on around him and make quick decisions about what needs to be changed.
What is technical arts
Hi, I’m Rik Hedlund. I’m the Technical Arts Pastor at Keypoint Church in Bentonville, Arkansas, which means I lead teams of people who produce events, maintain production equipment, plan and implement creative pieces of productions, and reboot computers when people say “this isn’t working!!!”
Tell us about yourself as a musician
But I had another life at one point.
I played drums and wrote music for a nationally touring band for 9 years, recorded drums on 5 albums, and I have engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered a few albums over my career. Music has played a huge part in my life and still does.
I attempted in junior high to get a formal education in music. But they made it as tough as possible. I wanted to play percussion, but they told me that I would need a prerequisite in piano before they would teach me percussion. At the year that I was entering, it was past the point of teaching “how to read music”, and they didn’t have the time that it would take to start from scratch with me. So I started to play violin… and then they taught me how to read music… (hmmmm… wait a minute???)
I really didn’t like the violin. I made attempts to learn how to play it, but I’ve always had huge fingers. It was difficult to play, and I didn’t enjoy it. I was second chair out of 16, only because I would mess around in class and the teacher wanted me right next to her. The only thing that I gleaned from my time playing in orchestra was a basic knowledge of how to read rhythms, and if you gave me enough time I could tell you what notes to play.
How did you help develop yourself as a musician
Behind closed doors I was learning music all by myself from the greatest musicians. All of this was going on in the early to late 90’s, so I would take my Sony Discman and pop in different rock, grunge, pop, and rap cd’s (kids: we used to have round flat discs that contained >80 minutes of music, not an iPod or iPhone… that’s a joke, but it probably shouldn’t be)
I would sit and play for at least 2-3 full albums a day, starting with track one, and ending whenever the album stopped. This was my hobby, my love, my science, and my therapy. I would study what these drummers played. Listen to every nuance in each snare hit. Hear how the song moved as the drummer did a fill and took the song to a different level. When I listened to music, it wasn’t anything that I was able to jot down and tell you “what they played and when”, but I could tell you the emotional journey that they took from the first verse to the final outro, or at least the emotional journey that I went on when I listened and played along.
Now looking back, if I could do it all over, I would definitely put just as much practice in as I did, but I would have a more formal training. There’s a lot of times that I wished that I could explain the dynamics and the feeling I had in my head, and being able to “speak the language” would have helped me progress in my musical career.
“Music has taken me across the country, given me an amazing family, and helped me find a great career.”
Rik is the technical arts pastor at Keypoint Church in Northwest Arkansas. He has been involved in church production and music since 1995. He has a passion for leading God’s people into deeper worship through technology, music, and creative arts.
Are you interested in a technical arts career in the music industry? Learn an instrument or learn to sing and develop yourself as a musician first. Then, use your knowledge of music to create yourself an amazing career of helping other musicians grow and flourish.
If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join my Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.