Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about music. I really love it. I want to listen to it all the time, and I desperately wish that my life could have a soundtrack. I wish I could create amazing melodies spontaneously. I think that you would be hard pressed to find somebody who says that they hate music… there’s something inside everyone that is deeply musical. Music can speak a different language and it can cross cultural boundaries as well. Sometimes music can help break down a hard heart, and it can convey emotions that we don’t usually express plainly. It can bring people together, and it can tear them apart. On one hand, we can’t completely trust it, since it’s fueled with so much emotion, but on the other, we need it in a deep way.
Here are some interesting things about music that I’ve been pondering:
- Music has been a part of life since the beginning. It’s talked about in Scripture (David’s singing and dancing, trees and rocks singing for joy), and it’s found all over history and archaeology. I don’t think (and someone smarter than me, feel free to jump in here and correct me if I’m wrong) that there is any culture group in history that hasn’t had their own form of music.
- Music is linked to science in many ways. String theory has been a really interesting idea to me, because if at the most basic level, everything is made up of tiny vibrating loops of different sizes and different frequencies, everything could essentially be making it’s own music. I think it is beautiful to think that everything in the universe could be playing its part in some great symphony.
- I recently saw a strange story on the Today Show about “Brain Music” where a company will record your brain waves and make music out of it. I also read an article in Rolling Stone last month about a new book that is called “This is Your Brain on Music” and it’s all about the neuroscience of music. I am not sure yet whether it will be on my book list (mixed reviews on Amazon), but I still think that it’s really interesting to think about all the parts of your brain that get involved with music. You could be using the part that stores memories, or a deep part of your subconscious, or emotional parts of your brain depending on the type of music you’re listening to. The article talked about how amazing it is that, for example, if someone played you 5 seconds of Beethoven’s 5th on strange instruments or saws or something wacky, we could still recognize it. Music is so complex, and so human, that the smartest computer in the world couldn’t even begin to do what we can do so easily with regard to recognizing and even creating music.
- I think music is important to us because we feel a need to express something, to reach out to something bigger than ourselves. It’s more than just talking… it’s talking and meaning it, whatever we may be saying. It’s our heads and our hearts working together in a way that they don’t usually work together. Music can help us worship and communicate with God.
I’ve also been thinking a little bit about music as it relates to our work in Mexico City. Most of the team there has a musical background of some sort. When we visited Mexico City last year I met some girls from the UNAM that were in a band. Especially if we are able to have a large group, it would be wonderful to have students leading the worship and even possibly help them ‘translate’ the RUF songs (both musically and lyrically!) into their own music. I hope that we are able to think about doing that.