Music that moves you

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My music career has been utterly unsuccessful (sorry, Mom). Consider the evidence:

I was an enthusiastic member of the school chorus, but most directors quickly determined that I was best situated in the company of stronger voices. My one ‘solo’ in middle school was actually a speaking part.

My most fervent memory of handbell choir was the time where our music minister stopped me mid-performance and had us all start from the top.

One Christmas, I requested and received a keyboard. Sadly neither rhythm nor coordination was included. Undeterred, another year, I asked for a set of bongos. I thought that perhaps a percussion instrument that afforded two surfaces on which to play would set me up for greater success. No luck.

Happily, my lack of musical talent does not dampen my interest in music. I particularly love music when I run and when I drive. I’ve found truth in research that suggests that music can have a profound influence on mood and often serves as a boost during exerciseDr. Nina Kraus, a professor of neurobiology at Northwestern, studies the effects of music on the nervous system. She says, “Our bodies are made to be moved by music and move to it.”

One group that is moving me lately is Mumford & Sons. I am not alone in this: many coworkers and pastors we work with seem to have songs from this English folk rock band sprinkled through their playlists and echoing in their minds.

Spirited Life participant Jason Byassee is among them. In a recent piece on the Christian Century’s blog, Jason contends that Mumford & Sons is the most important band for the church since U2. He states that the band’s power as performers, lyricists, and musicians stems from their language of faith and because the themes of love and friendship in their songs are beautiful, simple, and honest:

“One commentator pointed out the deep pathos in “I Will Wait.” Its lyrics are so simple as to be barely quotable here; the chorus repeats the title over and over again…But you can’t belt that line unless you’ve had someone fail to wait for you before. Unless you’ve been betrayed, left hanging, shut out—and you’re making a promise not to do that to someone else. It’s a song about friendship. And not much else is worth singing about with that kind of self-forgetful ecstasy.”

One of my favorite excerpts from Mumford & Sons’ music is from the song ‘Sigh No More’:

Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

For me, it is a modern day 1 Corinthians 13 (love is patient, kind…) crossed with Romans 8 (freedom for children of God), with an enchanting melody and a rhythm that resounds deep in my soul, moving my feet, fingers, and heart.

Thanks be to God for those to whom the gift of music has been granted so generously. I am jealous of your talent…but I am working through that, and your music helps.

Catherine Wilson

Images courtesy of Creative Commons users @kMeron & kDamo

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