Thursday, October 27, 2005

Musical Interlude

I am not a “musical” person.

I do not have any “musical” talents to boast of.

Back in elementary school my music teacher told me I didn’t have a good voice and ever since I have been very self-conscious about my singing where people can hear me. I also attempted to play violin in junior high and spent two year stuck in the “back seats” where the painfully inept would waste away far from the prying ears of our conductor.

So I find it quite ironic that I really do love music.

It is comforting, soothing, like a big blanket that you can wrap around yourself. I think more than anything I love music because it is internal in a way.

Music has the ability to express what simple words cannot. It can paint a picture with a melody and verse that some artists wait a lifetime to create on canvas. There is something within the human body that is drawn to music. A simple beat will almost force one to tap their foot. A building up of words and instruments will make you sit tall at the end of your seat waiting for that crescendo of sound and then you relax back as the music fades and quiets.

Music also speaks to us in those moments when we can’t seem to form the words that express our thoughts. We’re often drawn to songs because they comfort us in our moments of distress, they sum up the feelings of excitement and joy that are bursting forth, or they offer hope and a promise when we feel we can’t go on.

My last post, Question of the Week, asked “If you had to choose 5 songs to go on a CD that would be titled with only your name, what would they be?”. Some took this to be five songs that represent your life, while others chose their five favorite songs. I’ve come to realize that often my favorite songs do represent my life. The lyrics might not tell of something I’ve done or experienced, but the song itself reminds me of a certain moment in time, a memory of who I was at the moment I first heard the song, or a wave of emotions that have become imbedded into the music and the music into my life.

Music has this effect on people. It unites us, it divides us, but more than anything, it defines us in ways that are personal and intimate. There are songs that immediately bring a smile to my face and others that induce tears at the first few notes. Think of how we use and experience music in our lives: A wedding song or “our song” that sums up this thing that is called love; a favorite hymn played at a funeral offering comfort and hope; movie scores and soundtracks that blend emotion and action into the mind of the viewer; and so much more.

So why is this non-musical person talking so much about music? The answer is simple; I want to share with you a story of a recent musical experience.

Monday I was driving to work on a very cold morning. For some reason I was in a funk of sorts and having a good ol time in my pity party of “whoa is me”. I was listening to my new David Crowder CD – “A Collision” and a particular song came on.

So here I am, in a funky mood and really not listening to the song.

And then it happens.

Let me set the stage with the lyrics:

Are we left here on our own?
Can you feel when your last breath is gone?
Night is weighing heavy now.
Be quiet and wait for a voice that will say . . .

Come awake, from sleep arise.
You were dead, become alive.
Wake up, wake up, open your eyes.
Climb from your grave into the light.
Bring us back to life.

You are not the only one who feels like the only one.
Night soon will be lifted, friend.
Just be quiet and wait for a voice that will say . . .

Rise, rise, to life, to life . . .


Light will shine.
Love will rise.
Light will shine, shine, shine, shine.
He’s shining on us now.

If you’ve ever heard this song there is a mellowing of the music and Crowder is almost whispering “rise, rise, to life, to life . . .” then there is a build up of sound as the violin begins to play louder and louder and you hear piano join in and then all of a sudden it all comes together on the word SHINE and you hear guitars and drums and the bass and Crowder’s voice so loud and clear carrying one solid note and the other guys in the band are singing “wake up, wake up” in the background. (I’m not doing justice to this amazing moment in this song so please, please go find it and listen to it).

At the exact moment that this happened the sun burst forth from behind a building and




It was if all of a sudden something inside of me ruptured. I just started crying. It wasn’t tears of sadness or even tears of joy it was more of an immediate reaction to a truth that was made all too real in that one moment.

Music has this effect on me.

How about you?


Blogger Tony Myles said...

Totally... especially when it's live and honors God. Some of my fondest music experiences are under musicians like Crowder or Chris Tomlin as they take their hearts to God and lead the way for everyone else to do the same. I've been broken, restored, energized, and weakened by the intent and direction of a song.

Then when I can get into the car and crank it up I do so... singing at the top of my throat and the bottom of my soul an anthem of where I'm at and where I want to go.

Maybe that's it... maybe music is both a mirror and ticket to somewhere else.

10/27/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Katie: I react that exact same way to music. My friends can't for the life of themselves understand why I burst into tears every time I watch Sister Act 2: particularily the two scenes in which the choir sings, "Oh Happy Day" and "Joyful Joyful". The harmonious blend of voices, the crecendo of sound, the glorious melody. Wow.

That's why #41 is one of my absolute favorite songs on earth: if you own any Dave Matthews CD, chances are, it's on there: listen to it. It's amazing. It's jazzy and filled with so much life. It's just such a great tune.

Okay I'm going to stop, or I'll go on FOREVER on this topic. But yeah, Katie, I feel ya on this topic. Music has been my way of expressing myself for years: and also a way of coping with my various emotions. You did such a great job of explaining music's effect on those who enjoy it: Thanks for sharing!

10/27/2005 12:31 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Oh, and after reading Tony's post, I do want to add one thing: I have found all throughout my life that gospel songs in particular (LIKE Joyful Joyful, O Happy Day), have ALWAYS brought tears to my eyes: I think this is a true testament to God's hand in music: Especially when it glorifies Him. And truly, I think that's why music moves us so: God wanted it that way: and he probably feels the same way about it! It's a way to draw closer to Him and fellowship with Him by sharing with Him a common bond... You know it's funny: sometimes when we're (the choir) jammin on stage, singing a gutsy, heartfelt gospel song.. I can't finish. I get so choked up that I can't finish. That to me is proof right there: That God's hand is all OVER music... and that's why our souls are wrapped up in it as much as they are.

I hope that made sense... lol that just kind of poured out of me without a second thought to grammar or spelling.

10/27/2005 12:38 PM  
Blogger jes said...

music doesn't have this affect on me. i am a crybaby, though. for the past couple of weeks, everything makes me cry. i was listening to a one-minute story on the radio (beyond the call by HCJB radio), and during the story, mind you, TEN SECONDS into the story, i start getting misty-eyed. and within thirty seconds, it's a full-on ball.

This was the story:

"As Maria packed her daddy’s dinner pail—she had an idea. She put in a gospel booklet she’d received in her Bible class the day before.

Maria’s father worked hard in the coal mines of their village in Chile. Her mother had died, and Maria took care of her father and her young siblings.

Late that evening, the dreaded alarm sirens rang—alerting the village of a cave-in. The miners were trapped below. When rescue workers reached them—it was too late.

The eight miners had suffocated-one with a booklet clasped in his hand. On it was a note—to Maria. “My darling Maria. When you read this I’ll be in heaven with your mother. All of us did as your booklet told us. We prayed, asking Jesus into our hearts!”

Be ready to Go Beyond the Call! For HCJB World Radio, I’m Ron Cline."

now, did this make anyone else cry??

10/27/2005 12:53 PM  
Blogger Sydney said...

Aww... Sister..

I am right there with you! I had an experience very much like the one you are explaining..... Music is my refuge many times. I like most kinds of music but worship is my favorite. God gives us great experiences doesn't he!

10/27/2005 1:29 PM  
Blogger Deals On Wheels said...

Music, for me, is a way to relive a moment. Certain ("special") songs just take me back, and suddenly I can vividly remember (taste, sight, smell) something that I thought I had forgotten or lost forever. It's really powerful (overwhelming?), and often provokes strong emotion. It's like, "OMW! I just LOVE this song!" and then I'm suddenly sobbing or laughing hysterically (sometimes both at the same time). There are only a couple of songs that can do that to me, but almost all music that I've heard reminds me of something, someone or sometime. For me, though, it is almost never a lyrical thing – just the song in general. I guess you could say that my memory is in the music...

Great post! I really enjoyed reading it. :)

10/27/2005 1:47 PM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Great post K-T! Music really ministers to me in many ways. Brings back good memories and sad ones. Makes me laugh, makes me cry. Makes me speed, makes me (attempt to) dance. Makes me lay down on the couch and just listen.

How awesome it is to use music to talk to the Savior! I cry all to frequently during worship time at church. Especially at It Is Well. Gets me every time!

10/27/2005 2:47 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Nawww... doesnt really do anything for me. I dont know why. I hate music. Dont like it at all.


10/27/2005 3:55 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

A little smart mouthin from the "music man" himself?????

10/27/2005 3:59 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Ok I wont "sell out" and just try and be funny on this one. As a Christian musician I think about music and God and the connection all the time.

Music has a tremendous amount of power. Think about how songs make you feel. They can make you angry, sad, happy... every emotion can be tied to music. Add Gods Glory to the mix and its almost a perfect language. Words are great. I love words and I love language. I love that words can be placed together in ways that make MORE emotion pulled from them... when you put music to those same words a whole new batch of emotion comes to light.

People connect through music. They attach feelings to songs and songs pinpoint times in our lives or milestones or crushing pain... As a music writer I feel that the music is just an extension of me... part of my personality that God gave me. It is my TRUE and PURE voice. For the longest time I couldnt express what I was really feeling in conversation... BUT I could write a song about it and feel 100% ok with it that way. Now that I place all of that in Gods hands and for HIS glory (not mine) I feel like I found a voice I can be proud of, that God can be proud of.

10/27/2005 4:41 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Yep what he said, cause he's a "musical" person and he knows.

10/27/2005 4:48 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I love music. I, like you, can't sing a lick... (Although I did sing for the President of the United States of America, George Bush.) ...Not "W" But senior... But that's another post. If you beg me enough / remind me about this... I will post about it after I get back.

But I from the moment I get to the car to the moment I leave work, I have music playing in the background. Perfect post.

You are my favorite writer. So, who cares if you can't sing.

10/28/2005 7:59 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Ok Ben the last part of your comment about made me cry. Thank you for that encouragement and praise.

10/28/2005 8:24 AM  
Blogger Shenna said...

You said it Katie. And I'm with you. I love music! I often wonder why God didn't bless me with the talent to sing or play. Then I remember that even my voice is music to his ears.

I've had moments just like yours where I'll be singing or listening or worshipping, and the clouds will part, and the sun will just beam down, right on my face. It is incredible!

I believe music can portray what's in our soul. Love, hate, happiness, sadness...

I also believe (like you), that it can unite or divide. It is a powerful thing. Thanks for sharing!

10/28/2005 9:59 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

Jes: I cried. I cry a lot when I'm alone in my car. I cry to the songs that have "Katrina re-mixes". My heart often aches for the human condition.

Our emotions are one of the strongest most beautiful things God has granted to us, His creation. Let us use them to glorify His awesome name eh?

10/28/2005 10:24 AM  
Blogger MsThang said...

Wow great post! I think Tony summed it up best when he said "it's both a mirror and a ticket to somewhere else"

There are certain CD's (like Deals said) that I hold dear because it was the soundtrack to my soul at that time. Everytime I listen to them I am instantly brought back to that time as if I was standing right there in the middle of it again.

PS I am listening to Rebecca St James "God" right now.. love that CD.

10/30/2005 4:08 AM  

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