If I had to pick only three words to describe Rob, they would be: humility, generosity, and TALENT. This guy is full to the brim with all three.
Rob and his wife, Mariah, led special music one Sunday at our church (Grace Baptist) in Marshall. Rob played the guitar and both he and Mariah sang the first verse for us. I was mesmerized. We had to all join in the last few verses and, quite honestly, I didn’t want us to sing along. I didn’t want the soothing, pure tone of their voices buried by the congregation. I’m sappy. I cry easy. These two got me pretty misty-eyed that morning.
Most wouldn’t agree–and many are shocked when I say this– I’m a super shy person. New people scare me. For those who know me well, they know that LOTS of things scare me: cops, firemen, tasers, clowns…flying sticks… (yes, flying sticks!), but through years of practice (and through my experiences with White Wolf), I have managed to find some extroverted qualities. I put it to use when I summoned up the courage to ask Rob to write White Wolf a song. I wanted a song to represent the story. I’ll have to ask him again to be sure, but I think the guy did the song in just day–while “messing around.” “Messing around”! He said this is how he did it when Kelsey and I went over to the Monahan household to hear the song live. His skill at just “messing around” pushed my “misty-eye” button again. The guy is humble.
Rob played a few more things for us to explain his process…to answer my question on how he composed the song in just a day. He plucked the strings while rattling off a whole host of other instruments: the piano, violin… My brain shut-off my ears from hearing the rest. His “no-fear” attitude towards learning music overwhelmed me. It was something that I certainly didn’t have. I had violin lessons for a year and I cried through most of it. Fear gobbled up any chance of my learning the instrument beyond the fourth grade. I asked Rob what he wanted for payment after the song was approved with claps and excited giggles. What do you pay a musical genius? He agreed on cupcakes. Lots and lots of cupcakes. The guy is generous.
My life has truly been blessed and enriched meeting Rob. Humility is a rare trait, and it has been an honor to witness his in action. Thank you, dear friend, for the book’s gorgeous new song. It is a sound that will forever be linked to White Wolf. Thank you for sharing your incredible talent with this ministry. Rob–dude–you have so.much.talent. I pray that the Lord will continue to use you for His glory and bless you as you serve Him!
To give you a chance to get to know Rob, I asked him a few questions to post on my blog. White Wolf reader, meet Rob Monahan…enjoy!
Rob!! I couldn’t believe what I heard when I saw one of your videos on Facebook. Your guitar playing is stunning! Could you please tell us a little about your background in music?
I started taking piano lessons back in second grade and continued on until freshman year of high school. I started to lose enjoyment in it, but once I started listening to Relient K they inspired me to pick the piano back up. I began to write songs shortly after that my sophomore year.
Throughout middle school, I was involved with choir and once I entered into High School I had gradually become a part of 3 ensembles including a vocal jazz group and one year of jazz band playing bass. My choral director was phenomenal and taught me so much about music theory and ear training, that it really shaped a lot of what my musicality is today.
I began to teach myself guitar my sophomore year as well. It was not easy at first, but having a basic knowledge of piano and theory made it more possible. My friend and I started to write some songs together a play a ton of covers for live shows and ended up moving on to a different group after that that I am still with today. After high school, I was shown an artist named Andy McKee. I couldn’t believe the kind of music that he was playing and came across Antoine Dufour shortly after. After learning a few of his songs, and learning about open timings, I started to cultivate my own sense of percussive acoustic guitar.
I adore the song that you wrote to go with White Wolf and the Ash Princess! Adore! Can I say that one more time? ADORE! I can’t wait to share it with my readers! Tell me, how long did it take you to write the song and what were your inspirations for the melody?
I spent about an hour the other night trying to think of some ideas that went along well with the premise of the book. Nothing has really come to me, but the next day I kept thinking about it a lot and thought of an idea. I was thinking of what it would be like to just live in the wild and the expansiveness of a forest. I found the tuning that I felt best portrayed the basic theme and wrote it in one sitting.
Have you written other songs? Can you explain your process for us?
I lost count of how many songs I have written between the few groups I was in and my own solo songs. Most of my ideas come from just picking up the guitar and just messing around. I really try to stay away from forcing an idea because it is not an enjoyable process. I try to think of emotions or scenarios and try to work off of that. Even just jamming with my friends creates some fun ideas since we have varying musical inspirations.
What is your favorite style to play?
Fingerstyle guitar is my favorite to play because it’s a style that you don’t normally see everyday. My second option is jazz because I love the altering tones that come with it and creates endless opportunities
We’ve talked before about your music. I know that you play guitar, but remind me again–what other instruments do you play?
My primary instruments are piano, guitar, and voice. I also can play the electric bass. I have a basic understanding of drums, violin, cello, saxophone, and upright bass to name a few.
Do you have any dreams or aspirations for the future pertaining to your music?
I would like to start playing live sets again and to give lessons. I also think being a studio performer would be a lot of fun.
How much time would you say you put in to become the musician you are today? Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers who may want to pursue music?
I used to play between 3-6 hours a day and since I had a desire to learn more with theory I would spend a lot of my free time reading and working through some compositions. I don’t play nearly as much anymore and I’m lucky to get a couple hours in in a week. Pursuing music is a great choice. It breathes creativity and imagination and allows you to express yourself in a way that words don’t need to.
Wow! Didn’t I tell you the guy was amazing? And guess what? YOU can learn to play the guitar, too. Rob is now offering lessons. If guitar isn’t your thing, he also offers piano.
If you are interested in learning more about Rob and the lessons he provides, please visit him here at Rob Monahan Music
To hear Rob’s song, “White Wolf and the Ash Princess” on YouTube, please click “here”