Friday, March 27, 2009

Music and Mood

Tonight my husband and I attended an elementary school concert where our fifth grade grandson performed. The songs included country, pop, gospel, folk,and religious numbers, and each piece was melodic and inspirational. Both the performers and the listeners felt happy and edified from the experience. We gave the children a standing ovation and left with smiles on our faces.

The average American listens to more than 1300 hours of music each day. Music can either inspire or encourage us, enlighten or drag us down. One of my favorite writers, Kahlil Gibran, wrote, “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”

When I was young, I listened to music without noticing what I was putting into my mind. Now, just as I try to avoid junk food, I try to avoid junk music which hardens my spiritual arteries and dulls my spirit. I seek out music that inspires me and feeds my soul.

Neuro-scientists describe the healing and harmful effects that music can have on the soul. Since music is a right-brain phenomenon, it powerfully influences our mood and our morality. Research has shown that youth and adults are greatly affected by the unfiltered music that enters their mind.

"Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years," wrote William F. Buckley, Jr. As music becomes more affordable and available, we can find easy access to music that can calm our troubled hearts or that troubles our calm hearts. Today many lyrics are filled with profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity. They invite us to hate and hurt ourselves and others. They tempt us to lose ourselves to drugs, sex, or violence. They tell us that good is bad and bad is good. They lie.

King David, who soothed Saul as he played his lyre, said, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth, rejoice, and sing praise." May we take time during our busy lives to listen to music that heals our hearts and makes us whole. Then, with Isaiah, we can exclaim, "Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted."
© Carol Brown

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