Music is a powerful mood changer.
It was December 11, 1862. The war-torn soldiers of the American Civil War were locked in battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The evening turned into night as the Northern and Southern armies set their camps across the river from each other. In the cold dark hours of night duty, the Southern army band began to play Dixie. Across the river, the Northern army echoed with Yankee Doodle. And then in musical harmony as if taking direction from the master conductor, they awaited the next notes. With deliberate care, the Northern army began to play, Home Sweet Home. Fresh wind seeped through the cracks of the storm windows of the men’s hearts that had been so tightly shut in the great battles of brother against brother. One by one voices rose strong in the field reaching for the stars in the hope of peace. The endearing melody of the song united the hearts of the men on both sides. It is beautifully captured in the diary of Ada Christine Lightsey, “Voice after voice caught up in the song, and as far as we could hear on both sides, they were singing Home Sweet Home.”
How can a string of notes change fighting troops
into hearts of one accord?
It is because music is a powerful mood changer.
In contrast, one Saturday morning, I sent my happy ten-year old girl to clean her room. She cheerfully said, “Yes, mom!” and away she went. (It does not always happen like this. I’m just telling the story the way it played out). In a half hour, she was in tears. I asked what was wrong. She said, “I just…..(sob) …..don’t have any friends. I’m all alone.” I smiled. To prove her wrong, I was tempted to rattle off the names of 15 girls who just attended her birthday party. Loneliness was not her problem. I walked into her room. Blaring from her CD player was a country song about being lonely. For the record, I have nothing against country music, but I couldn’t deny my girl’s attitude had changed. She had played the “Lonely” song over and over until she was an emotional mess. We talked about her choice of music, and she agreed to change it to something a little more positive. She put on some upbeat music and lo and behold; I had a happy girl again in about 20 minutes! Scientists at the University of Missouri have found that people can boost their mood simply by listening to upbeat music. Through X-ray imaging, we can see how music affects our brain positively or negatively.
Music is so also effective in reducing anxiety: Play one minute of soft piano music and you can feel your muscles relax even without a massage!
Music has been noted to assist students in learning. After much research, John Hopkins University listed the benefits of music in learning. Music helps us learn because it will: *Establish a positive learning state *Create a desired atmosphere and build a sense of anticipation *Energize learning activities and change brain wave states *Focus concentration and increase attention *Improve memory and facilitate a multi-sensory learning experience *Release tension and enhance imagination *Align groups and develop rapport *Provide inspiration and motivation *Add an element of fun and accentuate theme-oriented units
How can we leverage this beautiful God-given gift of music?
We can set the mood of our home through music.
We can lead our families in the Godly priorities of a Christian home through music.
Praise The Lord-We can Sing,Sing,Sing to the Lord! Morning and evening, we play our favorite Christian praise and worship music. Or we just simply turn on our favorite Christian Radio Station. We have lots of favorite praise and worship songs.
What are your family’s favorite praise and worship songs?
Your Walk with the Lord-I have a list of songs that are very personal to me. They mark spiritual milestones in my life. As I listen to each song, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to me in specific trials in which He carried me through. And if He carried me through in the past, I know He will carry me through again. Here is just one of many songs that is on my top playlist. Just try…I dare you, just try not to change your attitude after listening to “Overcomer” by Mandisa.
What are the songs that help you stand taller as a
beloved Princess of the King?
Romance with our Husband-There are special songs that melt my heart and that make me toss my mom-hat out the window for time with my man. Memories of a special anniversary flood my cluttered mommy heart when I hear Forever And Ever, Amen. It transports me to a small country restaurant on the edge of town by the delta on a hot summer evening. The quaint tables were filled with couples who had already celebrated 40-50 years of marriage. We were the “young’uns” at 15 years of marriage. They honored our special day by playing Forever and Always by Randy Travis. We danced, and they congratulated us.
“Our Song” (Yes, this is the correct link…. It’s a long story. Maybe another post….) can play anywhere, (and I mean anywhere! )and my man and I will break out in a wonderfully embarrassing dance that sends children of all ages either to bed, out of the house, or at least out of our personal space. There are many more romantic songs that draw me closer to my husband…. But I am not willing to share with you. (Wink-Wink) However, if you stop by for a visit and notice I have my earbuds in and a big smile on my face….well just leave me alone…I’m just in love.
What are the songs that draw you closer to your husband?
Songs to Make Work Fun-Growing up in my home, Saturday was always chore day. My dad faithfully awakened us with some upbeat music that helped us get “in the mood” to work. We adopted this “whistle while you work attitude” in our family as well. You will note that clean-up productivity increases with a well-chosen work song like the Hamster Dance Song.
What are the songs that help you work with a happy heart?
Songs for Learning-Music for Study-As mentioned above, music helps learning. Music stimulates a different part of the brain. It opens different pathways. The trick is finding what helps each child. For some of my children, classical music worked better. For others, it was instrumental music, such as acoustic guitar. We found that music with lyrics did not work as well.
Songs for Learning-Music for Memorizing-Students don’t forget what they sing. If I wanted students to memorize the states and capitols, we sang it. We memorized all the Schoolhouse Rock songs including the unforgettable I’m Just a Bill. And of course, scripture memorization was always easier and available for recall when the words were placed in a song.
Songs that Build Family History-Years and miles can separate extended families. My niece built a playlist that compiled all of the “Family Songs” that we sing together as a family. These are the songs that will be passed on to the next generation and unite us together on holiday get-togethers. One of our family’s favorite is Hallelujah. It celebrates our individual journey’s of brokenness and questions of faith. It maybe an odd song choice, but it ties our hearts together and sets the stage for acceptance, a key value in our family. “A righteous man falls seven times but rises again.”Proverbs 24:16
Songs that Ground Us in Faith- Marriage, family, parenting, and ministry are not for the faint hearted. Life has blind-sided us at many turns. Before marriage, my husband and I talked about what our keeps us standing secure in God’s presence. It was not a light conversation. He had survived the passing of his first wife, and I had survived my first husband breaking marital vows. We both concluded if it were not for God’s grace, His amazing grace, we both would be bitter and cold. We sang Amazing Grace to celebrate our wedding, and we continue to sing it in celebration and through the trials of life. I love this rendition of Amazing Grace by the old gospel singer, Mahalia Jackson. Sometimes you just gotta “hum to your toes” through this life while you revel in the King of Grace’s presence. Another song that anchors us in hard times is In Christ Alone. It is an anthem that we sing when nothing else makes sense in our life, when our heart echoes Peter’s resolve, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” John 6:68
What are the songs that have carried you through the storms of life?
In Ephesians 5:9 it says…
“ Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to each other; sing to the Lord and make music in your heart to Him; ”
God’s word is filled with many invitations to sing! Do a quick word search on the word “sing” to discover how God uses songs to inspire His people. Songs were sung before battles, at feasts, during announcements, at the dedication of the temple and the reading of God’s word. And in the final moments of time, music will herald the return of our Savior and usher God’s people into timeless praise. Music is one way God leads our hearts. On this earth, we can use God’s gift of music to help us shape the mood in our home.
Consider making a playlist that you can easily access and play throughout the day. Programs like Spotify, Google Play Music, or iTunes can help you build specific playlists.
Say yes to God’s invitation to lift up our voices throughout the day. Let’s let Mahalia Jackson finish our time together….. Come On On Children, Let’s Sing . Okay….now go take on the day! Lead your family well!
From our Home to Yours,