Even though I am a certified non-musician, I reign as the number one consumer of music in the family. My daily diet begins with early morning P.B.S. radio, continues with the same or "golden oldies" in the car, and then classical music again in my office. Music nourishes my soul, soothes my spirit.
Honestly, I know nothing about music. But decades of sitting in church, listening to records, tapes, and radio has saturated me with good stuff. At night as I plop my head on the pillow, I always sing my last thoughts: "Oh Jesus joy of loving hearts I turn unfilled to Thee again." I don't know why it floats into my consciousness, but it does. Just that much. No more. A prayer. A sigh. And I'm asleep.
Teaching our children
Filling the hearts and minds of our children with good music works best when planned and intentional like regular meals. Children should be bathed in music from early infancy, maybe even pre-natally. Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Beethoven, Stravinsky, as well as Christian hymns and Psalms, are as vital to health as orange juice and oatmeal.
Adult people, too, are mellowed, or charged up, by music. Music may touch us most in that part of the human anatomy now called the right brain. The left brain deals with reasoning, order, and logical thinking. Ordinary classroom teaching aims at the skills of the left brain. The right brain has to do with creativity, emotion, spontaneity, feelings. I suppose joy and excitement spring from right brain stimulation while left brain reasonableness responds in its own way to the orderliness of rhythms and harmonies. Music massages the whole person, bypassing brain cells, tickling, electrifying, quieting, healing, deep inside where little else can reach.
Regular church attendance remains as one way young people get fed music. Souls are being caressed there with right brain melodies and left brain inspirations and information simultaneously. But more is needed. Homes should consciously create a musical ambiance by thoughtful use of radio and recordings, beginning when children are in very early infancy. Christian music should be mixed well with the classics for sure. Jazz, rock and other popular sounds, selectively, have a place, too.
Someone has said "God gave us music so we can pray without words." That's part of it. Creatures of God have a soul hunger only satisfied by music. When Jesus said, "Man cannot live by bread alone," He was claiming for us our essential spirituality, which must be fed. Living without music is spiritual malnutrition. Good music stimulates the mind, improves circulation, eases pain, relaxes muscles, raises immunity, heals broken hearts, quiets fears, brings people together.
Truly, music is one of God's most awesome gifts.