Saturday, July 30, 2011

How Do You Hear the Music?

Do you hear music with your ears?  Your mind?  Your heart?  Your spirit?

I hear music with my body.

Thursday night, a chamber music group of students from Garth Newel performed at the church where I preach.  The sanctuary has wonderful acoustics and it was an amazing evening of lovely music by gifted musicians.

I sat in the back and soaked in the experience.

I couldn’t help noticing, as I have so often before, the others in the audience, so many known to me so well.

Paul sat with eyes shut, head down, listening, it seemed, with every fiber of his being, focused in utter stillness of concentration.

Diane leaned forward, as if she were being embraced by the musical notes filling the air.

Sue and Laura never seemed to move a muscle, so intense was their concentration.

I could only see Les from behind, but it seemed as if he were smiling.

Most folk sat in stillness.

I always wonder at that.

How can they sit so very still?

My body simply won’t be still when there is music.

Toes tap of course.  And the head bobs.  But the body also sways.  Facial muscles respond with smiles and frowns and my mouth makes surprised o shapes.  And my hands take on a life of their own, reaching forward as if to grasp the notes from the very air.  And sometimes I have to physically resist the equally physical urge to jump to my feet.

A quick review of online literature suggests that science has long known that humans have a physiological response to sound and particularly to music.  But the discussions are all about our internal responses: the change in heart rate and respiration, even the suggestion of chemical changes in response to music have been measured.

The question I ponder this week is how are my mind, spirit and body responding to the music that is God in my life?  Where are my feet taking me in response to God’s claim on my life?  To whom are my hands reaching out?  What rhythms are inciting me to act?  Are they God’s rhythms?  Mine?  What symphonies of sound are claiming my attention?

FB survey: just for fun. Check out McDowell Pres’s FB profile and respond to the survey, “What is your spiritual life adjective this week?”, borrowing from musical adjectives heard at the concert. Just click on the link, become a friend if you aren’t already, and join in


  1. Lots of good questions to ponder. I, too, feel the music in my whole body, and hope my response to His call is the same.