In the music world, Michael Wessner (piano • guitar) is known behind the scenes as a capable keyboard player who helps other musicians excel at what they do best. At ROOTS, Michael’s experience carries over by making his lessons an enjoyable experience, even when facing difficult musical challenges. He has a special place in his heart for beginners trying to make sense of confusing patterns and sounds, as well as intermediate/advanced players who want to focus on how best to play contemporary music.
Hailing from a small town called Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania, Michael moved to Nashville to plant his musical roots. He has an Associates of Science degree in Recording Arts from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.
Michael’s been a producer and musician for nine years. As he oversees the music department at Grace Center in Franklin, Tenn., he helps facilitate the deeply rooted culture of worship music that exists there. He also tours and plays keys for good friend Chris McClarney (most well-known for writing “Your Love Never Fails,” recorded by the Newsboys and Jesus Culture). Michael co-wrote a song with him called “Defender,” the title track on one of McClarney’s albums.
His professional highlight was having his song “Autumn Days” played on the radio several years ago. “It’s from an unfinished project called Elizabeth Seasons, which my friend Anna Bovi and I began to take people on a musical/lyrical journey through the changes we all go through in different seasons, in tandem with the evident changing of seasons in the outside world.”
Outside of ROOTS you may find Michael enjoying nature through the lens of his camera. Michael is an avid nature/landscape photographer (Instagram: @wessnerphotography). He calls this his “chief passion and pursuit ” these days.
Q&A with Michael
What type of music do you listen to?
It all started with New Kids on the Block, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, etc. Then in my teen years I moved towards artists like Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Sixpence None the Richer and Jars of Clay. In my college years and beyond I started listening to film scores along with a mix of artists along the lines of Coldplay, U2, John Mayer, Damien Rice, Teitur and Switchfoot. These days I’m most likely to compliment a Sunday afternoon drive with artists such as Hem or The Weepies (or a film score).
What is your favorite all time movie and why?
Finding Neverland. There’s just something about the way it speaks to the creative mind with which I really connect.
What is your favorite quote?
“Music is the art of silence.” (source unknown)
“To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
What is your favorite Bible verse and how does it speak to you?
“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” –1 John 4:18a
I think so much of our world is based upon fear. While many forms of this are obvious, even our interpretations and presentations of God, love and religion often carry just enough subtle doses of fear to keep us quietly manipulated in one form or another. We rarely ever feel fully safe. It’s in those moments that I look to this verse for a revelation of God’s “end game.” I think He’s somehow wanting to move everyone to a place where they know they are so perfectly and purely loved that they no longer have any reasons to be afraid.