Ken tells part of his story this way. "I started banging on the piano when I was five years old," he says, "making up crazy little fantasies on my mom's piano. When I was eight years old my parents got me a wonderful piano teacher who taught me the classics with Braille music and taught me to play by ear." His teacher also taught him how to improvise. "Every time I learned a piece my teacher would tell me, 'Now you improvise in that style.' So music became a special language." (Even today in his programs he often asks the audience for a several-note musical phrase, then improvises a song around those notes.)
With a degree in music therapy and piano performance from Michigan State University, he worked for many years as a music therapist at a local hospital. "I had a bunch of teenagers who were really hurting," he says, "and I started writing songs about their lives. Then I thought, 'Why don't you start writing songs about your Christian life?" So I started doing that, and people really responded.
In 1985 Medema founded Brier Patch Music, named after Brer Rabbit's home in the legendary Uncle Remus stories. "Brer Rabbit lived in a place not comfortable for anyone else." he says, "and we decided to follow him there."
Medema likes to dream dreams and imagine things that have not entered the minds of many sighted people. He brings these dreams into his music, singing songs that challenge his listeners to nurture their imagination. He challenges Christians to be authentic and truthful in everything they do, and truly to be a light to the world. He also challenges people to get out of their comfort zones and minister to those who are the outsiders.
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