I remember it like it was yesterday. I am sitting in a windowless room at California State Northridge University as a dour, long-faced professor drones on about some arcane element of musical theory. He assigns us a sight-reading exercise. I choose “Dixie,” not because of any particular allegiance to the south, but simply because I already know the melody.
I am bored to tears and decidedly not enjoying myself. I have loved music and played it ever since I was eight and written songs ever since I was ten. So how is it that I’m struggling to maintain a C in a music class? How is it that this class is managing to make music seem so boring?
Whenever I’m asked to speak about songwriting or about the ministry of Music for the Soul I always find myself thinking and saying the same thing. It’s music. At some point you have to listen to it. At some point you have to play it. No amount of talking is going to get you there.
Talking about music is like trying to describe the ocean to someone who has never seen it, never heard the waves crash on the shore, or smelled the salt in the air.
That’s why before I write another word of this blog post I want to invite you to listen to the music you can find on this website. We’ve created a search-by-topic section on our homepage.
For the last seventeen years, a team of over thirty songwriters and over one hundred musicians has given their time and talents to create the healing songs you will find here.
Our creative team has been supported in this process through the input of dozens of Christian counselors and professional clergy. We also receive input by interviewing several individuals dealing on a personal level with the very topics for which our songs minister.
Our content has proved to be life changing for many and even life saving for some.
The proof is in the listening.
NINETY FORTY TEN
Back around 1990 – in other words before everything was instantly accessible on the Internet – I heard about a California study which had concluded that children remember ten percent of what they’re told, forty percent of what they read, and ninety percent of what they hear in music. (That is why Music for the Soul’s publishing company name is called Ninety Forty Ten Music.)
I have no way of verifying this report. However it does suggest that teaching our kids their ABCs with a song is a really good idea.
Beyond that, I think if you were able to do a study on adults the results would be similar. My personal experience tells me this is why I can sing all the words to several jingles and TV show themes from the 1970’s but have no idea what the pastor talked about in the sermon last Sunday.
Songs are a powerful way to communicate with people who are carrying deep pain over trauma and wounding from their past. There are many reasons why this is so. But primary among them is that songs help people remember the message. This is because of the memory power elements of melody and rhythm.
Songwriters are in the business of making music that is “catchy.” In the music industry something that makes a song easy to remember is referred to as a “hook.” It grabs a hold of you and won’t let go.
Let’s say there is an event in a person’s life that is not his or her fault. But they’ve blamed themselves for it for years anyway. A pattern of thinking and negative self-talk has been ingrained for years.
The advantage of a song is that it puts a new message on a tape loop in the mind of the listener. This is because of the memory power of music. Neither reading nor conversation can do this.
What we do at Music for the Soul is work to create healing songs that are “hooky.”
We want to make it easy for the listener to remember that – no matter what the issue is – they are not alone. Others understand. God understands. Healing, freedom, and wellness are possible.
The proof is in the listening.