Music is part of our lives whether we realize it or not. Music is clinging of pots and pans, the sweet sounds of nature, and can be heard through various instruments. Music has the power to influence our moods, strengthen our minds, and it also has the power to heal. The authors of our text suggest that music is a gift and it is vital to our development and human spirit. (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p.155) The ultimate power behind music is absolutely intriguing. The tone, melody, and rhythmic incantations can send us into a trance that intertwines with our deepest thoughts and emotions; ultimately controlling our mannerisms and inner most thoughts.
As a child I remember learning sweet lullabies such as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, You are My Sunshine, and Jesus Loves Me. My mother would sing these songs to me each and every night before prayers. Now as a parent, I sing the same soft melodies to my children. These songs are warm and bring on sweet slumber. The words are innocent and simple. When I think of these songs, I am brought back to a time in which things were simple. I remember how safe, protected, and loved I felt when my mother would snuggle me and sing me off to sleep. Music during my childhood was about comfort, security, and joy.
As I grew up and entered the years of my adolescence, my taste of music changed. I went from the soft sounds of innocence that was influenced by my parents to a sound that reflected me as an individual; as a teen. Music became a drug in which I experimented with. There were songs that made me giddy, songs to heal my broken heart, songs that were forbidden, and songs that helped me to escape the reality in which I lived. I would gain strength from songs like, “Unbreak my Heart, by Toni Braxton and “Since You Been Gone,” by Kelly Clarkson when I was going through a very damaging break up. There was something healing about the words being sung. The pain was real. Not only was this music reflective of the confused mess of hormones and emotions I was feeling inside as I went through puberty, but also a way that I could rebel against my parents. Color Me Bad had released a song called “I Wanna Sex You Up,” that was real popular and there was another by Boyz to Men, “I’ll Make Love to You.” These two songs were forbidden in my Christian home. They were considered naughty and sinful. My parents lectured me countless times about my taste in music and tried to shield me from the influence of the tasteless words. As an adolescent I was in need of expression and a way to fit in to a world that was very confusing. I sought out music that I felt expressed who I was and what I was going through at the time. “The music is what the emotion sounds like.” (Altshuler & Janaro, 2012 p. 161) Most importantly, I was looking to be my own person and not controlled by my parents and like a willful child I did the opposite of what my parents hoped for me. Music was freedom.
As I have gotten older, my place in this world has been defined through my relationship in Christ. Thus, the music that plays on my radio, and the words I chose to sing have a deeper meaning. I seek music that holds promise, love, hope, and forgiveness. I find these needs to be fulfilled through gospel and praise music. There is nothing greater than singing about the promises of God’s great love to comfort the soul. When I feel like the walls are crashing in on me and that I am alone in the world, I gain strength knowing that the Lord God is carrying me. I am reminded that I am not alone through songs like, “Praise You in this Storm,” by Casting Crowns. As I sing, “every tear I cried, you hold in your hand; you never left my side,” I feel an overwhelming flow of God’s love and I know that no matter what; God is in control. There is a promise that brings hope through this gospel music. There is a cleansing of my soul that comes when I sing the words written by Travis Cottrell in his song, “Jesus Saves.” It is because of God’s great love and sacrifice that I am made clean and new. I wear no chains in life because of the promise of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. There is a spiritual connection that is all powerful when I sing the great name of Jesus and this brings ultimate healing power.
Music is also a great way to express happiness. When I am happy I like to hum, whistle, even burst out in song. There is not just one song I sing when I am happy. Lately, I have been singing, “Fa la la la laaaa, la laaaa, laaa, laaaaa.” Yes! Deck the Halls, and it brings great joy to my heart and a great big smile. It is also a catchy tune that engages those around me, which spreads great cheer. I have also been known to break out with, “let it go, let it go!” and “everything is awesome!” These songs are fun, happy, warm, and contagious! Such an easy and quick way to spread a smile.
Music is important through every stage of life. It is an expression and a reflection of who you are. Our lives change like the seasons, as we grow and discover. Thus the music that defines us also changes.
Altshuler, T., & Janaro, R. (2012). The Humanities: A Shining Beacon. In The art of being human: The humanities as a technique for living. New York: Harper & Row. pp 151, 161