The Bible Study Class was asked to write an essay on “Music.” A favorite music experience or memory in a descriptive way. Guidelines: one paragraph to a page. They blew it to bits. Many took two pages and most could have written a short novel.
When sharing the essays with the class—there were MANY additional thoughts—due to the emotion running through the room. Fellow class members would chime in with their own memories and collaborate. It was a jam session without instruments.
Music “moves” us. Music is an expression of love, joy, sorrow, worship, …you name the emotion and music has evoked the mood or the action.
Have you ever been down and turned on an upbeat song to sway you out of your funk? Studies show that listening to exciting music actually increases our heart and breathing rates and causes adrenaline to enter the bloodstream. Music has the ability to energize us through our physiology.
In the same line of thought, music with a slower tempo can calm us. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is lowered in the blood when your body is exposed to music that is calmer. Think elevator music and lullabies. The tranquility of a lullaby can lower heart and respiration rate, therefore increase your chance of putting that cute little baby to sleep! Then you can go sing the Hallelujah chorus in the next room.
“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” Ludwig van Beethovan
Ray Charles said music was a necessity to him like food and water. Martin Luther said, “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
Each essay had its own life. Just after the Berlin wall had been taken down in1989 one class member was in a choir that sang in a church in East Germany soon after—they closed with Wilhousky’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic.’ When they got to “Glory, glory, hallelujah, his truth is marching on…” you can imagine the reaction of the recently oppressed people…and even twenty five years later when retelling the story, the room stood still.
The writers spoke about lyrics that took them to heights of joy and lyrics that navigated them through tears of mourning.
Music that rests near to many—songs that are played at loved ones funerals.
CLASSIC ROCK—everyone seemed to like, no matter what the age. Glen Miller was mentioned and “In the Mood” was a unanimous thumbs up too.
Tossed around and analyzed with no consensus: organ music, jazz, contemporary style worship music, heavy metal rock (mostly negative), country, classical, instrumental, rap, blues, Latin.
Sweet song for many: National anthem
Best Hymn overall: “Amazing Grace”
A comment came, “Amazing Grace was beautiful at the Ash Wednesday service.”
I quickly added, “I love the last verse of that song.”
Kim calmly started to sing this final verse of John Newton’s CLASSIC song
from memory as she sat in her seat…..
When we’ve been here then thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we first begun.
Research shows that when different people listen to the same music they have the same patterns of synchronized activity in several brain areas, suggesting a universal experience.
Music. The Universal Language. Maybe a symphony orchestra with a choir is a way to negotiate with the enemy. Sorry Secretary of the State.
“Where words fail, music speaks”. Hans Christian Anderson