I would like to announce the collaboration of The Music of the Psalms with a beautiful book written by Suzy Mulligan titled Dear Children, Love God. This is a special, 8×8 inch hardcover book, with a loving message for each one of us. It is a gentle reminder that above all else we are children of God, whose love for us is unconditional, healing, and timeless.
To compliment the experience of reading through the book, I have provided the harp music of Psalm 51, Psalm 91, and Psalm 103 to be played in the background. These three Psalms offer about 30 minutes of beautiful restful inspiring music to help set the atmosphere for reading these words of encouragement.
You can watch a video sampling the book and music by clicking on the video below:
I am also offering mp3 downloads of these Psalms on the Marketplace here on this website. Each song is a long play — about 10 minutes.
I am very pleased to be joining Suzy in this project and it is my hope and prayer that many will be blessed through it. The thoughts and Scriptures that Suzy has included in this book are timeless word treasures that will encourage and lift people onto a higher plane of vision to understand how intricately our Heavenly Father is involved in our lives and gather strength to walk through the experiences of their lives.
I want to thank Suzy for bringing me in on this project and I want to encourage you all to go to her website at www.dearchildrenlovegod.com and order this timeless treasure.
I would like to share part of an article that was shared with me. It speaks about the individual song that is formed within the heart of each individual and finds unique expression through that one. So many times we think that our lives are wasted exercises, yet if we can gain the correct perspective, we can see these experiences as the orchestral parts to be played in our personal symphony. Each one is different and each one is sublime. Read and meditate!
Life’s difficult challenges aren’t interruptions. They’re what we need to compose our unique song.
Through it all he remained our hero, fought and won many battles on behalf of Israel and had his son Solomon build the Temple of Jerusalem. But the depth and heart of David remains most revealed in his poetry-turned-prayers called Psalms.
In the Psalms, King David moves me because of the intensity of his experience of life, because of his honesty, candidness, rawness, and courage to expose his frailties and fears. Because of his humility and yearning to be closer to His maker in the light and in the dark times, He was not embarrassed to be him. He was not shy about his feelings. He exposed himself and then gave it all back to God. Nothing he felt or experienced was wasted. All was used to connect back. All was sanctified through his actions.
I also love that he was a singer. It is written that the highest gate of prophecy is through song, sung with pure intentions.
Each one of us has a unique song that lies deep in our soul. It is the most pure type of music that stems from who we truly are, in all of our splendor and beauty, the one that reveals us completely, imperfections and all.
When we have a difficult challenge in life and experience some suffering, some of us view it as an interruption to life, a blip. But those troubles aren’t distractions – they’re precisely what create us. The pains and the uncomfortable parts of our story help craft our unique personality and character. The moments of distress create the peaks, dips, and special viewpoints we have; they create the flats, the sharps and the octaves of our song. Every experience of anguish is a note that we weave together to make a song that no one else can sing. And when we sing that song back to God through prayer, just as King David did, we fulfill the spiritual purpose for the suffering we were given.
This was part of King David’s greatness and the lesson he teaches to every one of us.
Suffering, pain, and turmoil are not intermission times in our lives; they create our intricacies, depletions, accents, and twists for a reason. When we are honest with our pain and lacks, and allow ourselves to laugh or cry or scream as a vehicle to come closer to our Maker, that’s part of our chorus. That’s part of our song that no one can sing but us. We can transform the darkness into sparks of light. When we turn pain into a vehicle for connection with the Almighty, we invest meaning into the suffering and make it holy. God doesn’t do that; that choice is in our domain.
King David became King David not despite his difficult life, but because of it. Can you imagine if he had a normal, steady, and balanced life full of everything he wanted and no struggles? He would not have become King David. He would not have written the Psalms to open up the Heavenly gates. He would not have become the spiritual hero that we aspire to be.
The world is our classroom. We face the tests that are given to us, to overcome a weakness and write new stanzas to our life’s song. And we can rely on God for His help and guidance. My kids recently lost their father. At the shiva I continuously heard from friends who lost parents at an early age that a hole remained with them for life. But they also gained a special connection to God that none of their friends seemingly felt. A double dose of God’s help and closeness in place of that parent, just as King David writes in his Psalms.
Would my kids have chosen that combination if asked? I don’t think so. But who chooses anything? When we stop fighting against why we have a certain life circumstance and accept the Divine plan, embracing what we do have and are here to do. That’s when we can finally make use of all the beautiful, awkward-like and seemingly off key notes we possess to compose the special song only our soul can sing.
Easier said than done. Trust me, I know. But time is so precious, and so are you.
“Music is so naturally united with us that we cannot be free from it even if we so desired” (Boethius cited by Storr)
Music’s interconnection with society can be seen throughout history. Every known culture on the earth has music. Music seems to be one of the basic actions of humans. However, early music was not handed down from generation to generation or recorded. Hence, there is no official record of “prehistoric” music. Even so, there is evidence of prehistoric music from the findings of flutes carved from bones.
The influence of music on society can be clearly seen from modern history. Music helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence. When he could not figure out the right wording for a certain part, he would play his violin to help him. The music helped him get the words from his brain onto the paper.
Albert Einstein is recognized as one of the smartest men who has ever lived. A little known fact about Einstein is that when he was young he did extremely poor in school. His grade school teachers told his parents to take him out of school because he was “too stupid to learn” and it would be a waste of resources for the school to invest time and energy in his education. The school suggested that his parents get Albert an easy, manual labor job as soon as they could. His mother did not think that Albert was “stupid”. Instead of following the school’s advice, Albert’s parents bought him a violin. Albert became good at the violin. Music was the key that helped Albert Einstein become one of the smartest men who has ever lived. Einstein himself says that the reason he was so smart is because he played the violin. He loved the music of Mozart and Bach the most. A friend of Einstein, G.J. Withrow, said that the way Einstein figured out his problems and equations was by improvising on the violin.
Bodily Responses to Music
In general, responses to music are able to be observed. It has been proven that music influences humans both in good and bad ways. These effects are instant and long lasting. Music is thought to link all of the emotional, spiritual, and physical elements of the universe. Music can also be used to change a person’s mood, and has been found to cause like physical responses in many people simultaneously. Music also has the ability to strengthen or weaken emotions from a particular event such as a funeral.
People perceive and respond to music in different ways. The level of musicianship of the performer and the listener as well as the manner in which a piece is performed affects the “experience” of music. An experienced and accomplished musician might hear and feel a piece of music in a totally different way than a non-musician or beginner. This is why two accounts of the same piece of music can contradict themselves.
Rhythm is also an important aspect of music to study when looking at responses to music. There are two responses to rhythm. These responses are hard to separate because they are related, and one of these responses cannot exist without the other. These responses are: (1) the actual hearing of the rhythm and (2) the physical response to the rhythm. Rhythm organizes physical movements and is very much related to the human body. For example, the body contains rhythms in the heartbeat, while walking, during breathing, etc. Another example of how rhythm orders movement is an autistic boy who could not tie his shoes. He learned how on the second try when the task of tying his shoes was put to a song. The rhythm helped organize his physical movements in time.
It cannot be proven that two people can feel the exact same thing from hearing a piece of music. For example, early missionaries to Africa thought that the nationals had bad rhythm. The missionaries said that when the nationals played on their drums it sounded like they were not beating in time. However, it was later discovered that the nationals were beating out complex polyrhythmic beats such as 2 against 3, 3 against 4, and 2 against 3 and 5, etc. These beats were too advanced for the missionaries to follow.
Responses to music are easy to be detected in the human body. Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. Furthermore, baroque music decreases blood pressure and enhances the ability to learn. Music affects the amplitude and frequency of brain waves, which can be measured by an electro-encephalogram. Music also affects breathing rate and electrical resistance of the skin. It has been observed to cause the pupils to dilate, increase blood pressure, and increase the heart rate.
The Power of Music on Memory and Learning
The power of music to affect memory is quite intriguing. Mozart’s music and baroque music, with a 60 beats per minute beat pattern, activate the left and right brain. The simultaneous left and right brain action maximizes learning and retention of information. The information being studied activates the left brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information.
According to The Center for New Discoveries in Learning, learning potential can be increased a minimum of five times by using this 60 beats per minute music. For example, the ancient Greeks sang their dramas because they understood how music could help them remember more easily. A renowned Bulgarian psychologist, Dr. George Lozanov, designed a way to teach foreign languages in a fraction of the normal learning time. Using his system, students could learn up to one half of the vocabulary and phrases for the whole school term (which amounts to almost 1,000 words or phrases) in one day. Along with this, the average retention rate of his students was 92%. Dr. Lozanov’s system involved using certain classical music pieces from the baroque period which have around a 60 beats per minute pattern. He has proven that foreign languages can be learned with 85-100% efficiency in only thirty days by using these baroque pieces. His students had a recall accuracy rate of almost 100% even after not reviewing the material for four years.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Georg Frederic Handel
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In 1982, researchers from the University of North Texas performed a three-way test on postgraduate students to see if music could help in memorizing vocabulary words. The students were divided into three groups. Each group was given three tests – a pretest, a post-test, and a test a week after the first two tests. All of the tests were identical. Group 1 was read the words with Handel’s Water Music in the background. They were also asked to imagine the words. Group two was read the same words also with Handel’s Water Music in the background. Group two was not asked to imagine the words. Group three was only read the words, was not given any background music, and was also not asked to imagine the words. The results from the first two tests showed that groups one and two had much better scores than group three. The results from the third test, a week later, showed that group one performed much better than groups two or three. However, simply using music while learning does not absolutely guarantee recall but can possibly improve it. Background music in itself is not a part of the learning process, but it does enter into memory along with the information learned. Recall is better when the same music used for learning is used during recall. Also, tempo appears to be a key of music’s effect on memory.
Play Handel’s Water Music (Morning Has Broken)
One simple way students can improve test scores is by listening to certain types of music such as Mozart’s Sonata for Two Piano’s in D Major before taking a test. This type of music releases neurons in the brain which help the body to relax. The effectiveness of Mozart’s sonatas can be seen by the results from an IQ test performed on three groups of college students. The first group listened to a Mozart sonata before taking the test. The second group listened to a relaxation tape before their test. The third group did not listen to anything before the test. The first group had the highest score with an average of 119. The second group ended up with an average of 111, and the third group had the lowest score with an average of 110.
William Balach, Kelly Bowman, and Lauri Mohler, all from Pennsylvania State University, studied the effects of music genre and tempo on memory retention. They had four groups learn vocabulary words using one of four instrumental pieces – slow classical, slow jazz, fast classical, and fast jazz. Each of the four groups was divided into smaller groups for the recall test. These sub groups used either the same (i.e. slow classical, slow classical) or different (i.e. slow jazz, fast classical) pieces when taking the recall test. The results did show a dependency on the music. Recall was better when the music was the same during learning and testing. These same researchers did another test which restricted the changes in the music to just tempo (i.e. slow to fast jazz) or just genre (i.e. slow jazz to slow classical). Surprisingly, the results showed that changing the genre had no effect on recall but changing the tempo decreased recall.
Healthy and Not So Healthy Effects
Many revealing scientific experiments, studies, and research projects have been performed to try and discover the extent of the power of music. Up until 1970, most of the research done on music had to do with studying the effects of the beat of the music. It was found that slow music could slow the heartbeat and the breathing rate as well as bring down blood pressure. Faster music was found to speed up these same body measurements.
The key component of music that makes it beneficial is order. The order of the music from the baroque and classical periods causes the brain to respond in special ways. This order includes repetition and changes, certain patterns of rhythm, and pitch and mood contrasts. One key ingredient to the order of music from the baroque and classical periods is math. This is realized by the body and the human mind performs better when listening to this ordered music.
One shining example of the power of order in music is King George I of England. King George had problems with memory loss and stress management. He read from the Bible the story of King Saul and recognized that Saul had experienced the same type of problems that he was experiencing. George recognized that Saul overcame his problems by using special music. With this story in mind King George asked George Frederick Handel to write some special music for him that would help him in the same way that music helped Saul. Handel wrote his Water Music for this purpose.
Another key to the order in music is the music being the same and different. The brain works by looking at different pieces of information and deciding if they are different or the same. This is done in music of the baroque and classical periods by playing a theme and then repeating or changing the theme. The repetition is only done once. More than one repetition causes the music to become displeasing, and also causes a person to either enter a state of sub-conscious thinking or a state of anger. Dr. Ballam goes on to say that, “The human mind shuts down after three or four repetitions of a rhythm, or a melody, or a harmonic progression.” Furthermore, excessive repetition causes people to release control of their thoughts. Rhythmic repetition is used by people who are trying to push certain ethics in their music.
An Australian physician and psychiatrist, Dr. John Diamond, found a direct link between muscle strength/weakness and music. He discovered that all of the muscles in the entire body go weak when subjected to the “stopped anapestic beat” of music from hard rock musicians, including Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Queen, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Bachman – Turner Overdrive, and The Band. Dr. Diamond found another effect of the anapestic beat. He called it a “switching” of the brain. Dr. Diamond said this switching occurs when the actual symmetry between both of the cerebral hemispheres is destroyed causing alarm in the body along with lessened work performance, learning and behavior problems in children, and a “general malaise in adults.” In addition to harmful, irregular beats in rock music, shrill frequencies prove to also be harmful to the body. Bob Larson, a Christian minister and former rock musician, remembers that in the 70’s teens would bring raw eggs to a rock concert and put them on the front of the stage. The eggs would be hard boiled by the music before the end of the concert and could be eaten. Dr. Earl W. Flosdorf and Dr. Leslie A. Chambers showed that proteins in a liquid medium were coagulated when subjected to piercing high-pitched sounds
On Animals and Plants, Too!
Tests on the effects of music on living organisms besides humans have shown that special pieces of music (including The Blue Danube) aid hens in laying more eggs. Music can also help cows to yield more milk. Researchers from Canada and the former Soviet Union found that wheat will grow faster when exposed to special ultrasonic and musical sounds. Rats were tested by psychologists to see how they would react to Bach’s music and rock music. The rats were placed into two different boxes. Rock music was played in one of the boxes while Bach’s music was played in the other box. The rats could choose to switch boxes through a tunnel that connected both boxes. Almost all of the rats chose to go into the box with the Bach music even after the type of music was switched from one box to the other.
Play Bach’s Air on The G String
Play Strauss’ The Blue Danube
Research took a new avenue when in 1968 a college student, Dorthy Retallack, started researching the effects of music on plants. She took her focus off of studying the beat and put in on studying the different sounds of music. Retallack tested the effects of music on plant growth by using music styles including classical, jazz, pop, rock, acid rock, East Indian, and country. She found that the plants grew well for almost every type of music except rock and acid rock. Jazz, classical, and Ravi Shankar turned out to be the most helpful to the plants. However, the plants tested with the rock music withered and died. The acid rock music also had negative effects on the plant growth.
One cannot deny the power of music. High school students who study music have higher grade point averages that those who don’t. These students also develop faster physically. Student listening skills are also improved through music education. The top three schools in America all place a great emphasis on music and the arts. Hungary, Japan, and the Netherlands, the top three academic countries in the world, all place a great emphasis on music education and participation in music. The top engineers from Silicon Valley are all musicians. Napoleon understood the enormous power of music. He summed it up by saying, “Give me control over he who shapes the music of a nation, and I care not who makes the laws”.
To Know More
Ballam, Michael. Music and the Mind (Documentation Related to Message). pp 1-8.
Jourdain, Robert. Music, the Brain and Ecstasy. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc.,1997.
Lundin, Robert W. An Objective Psychology of Music. Malabar: Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, 1985.
Laurence O’Donnell III is a musicist (he plays the bassoon) from Perth, Scotland. He has created a site named Music Power. This paper was produced as a result of his senior paper. Email: email@example.com
I came across this story that I wanted to share with my readers about the power of music. I was very touched by this woman’s ability to finally be able to express herself with music after so many years of being trapped inside her mind and body from such a devastating brain injury. I hope you are blessed by this story and gain a new appreciation of how much we need the expression of music in our lives.
Rosemary Johnson had made music for the first time since suffering a devastating car crash in her 20s.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
Violinist Rosemary Johnson has spent the last 27 years coming to terms with the reality she would never make music again, following a devastating car crash. A member of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra she was destined to become a world class musician before the road accident in 1988, which left her in a coma for seven months.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 19; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
Miss Johnson suffered a devastating head injury, robbing her of speech and movement and meaning she could only pick out a few chords on the piano with the help of her mother Mary.
“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music” Professor Eduardo Miranda, Plymouth University
In an extraordinary 10-year project led by the Plymouth University and the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, her brain has been wired up to a computer using Brain Computer Music Interfacing software.
Photo: Plymouth University
By focusing on different colored lights on a computer screen she can select notes and phrases to be played and alter a composition as it is performed by live musicians. The intensity of her mental focus can even change the volume and speed of the piece.
It is the first time Miss Johnson, 50, has been able to create music in decades and has been an emotional experience for the her, and the scientists involved in the program.
Photo: Plymouth University
“It was really very moving,” said Professor Eduardo Miranda, Composer and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research at Plymouth University.
“The first time we tried with Rosemary we were in tears. We could feel the joy coming from her at being able to make music. It was perfect because she can read music very well and make a very informed choice.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 25 after the accident; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
“The great achievement of this project is that it is possible to perform music without being able to actually move. She is essentially controlling another musician to play it for her.
“It’s not yet possible to read thoughts but we can train people to use brain signals to control things.”
Photo: Plymouth University
Three other disabled patients who live at the hospital have also been trained to use the technology, and have been working alongside four able-bodied musicians from the Bergersen String quartet who play the music in real time as it is selected.
They are called The Paramusical Ensemble, and they have already recorded a piece of music entitled Activating Memory which will be heard for the first time at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival in Plymouth later this month.
Miss Johnson’s mother Mary, 80, of Hounslow, West London said the project had given her daughter new hope.
Violinist Rosemary Johnson at approximately aged 17; Photo: Paul Grover/The Telegraph
“Music is really her only motivation,” she said. “I take her to the grand piano in the hospital and she can only really play a few chords, but that was the only time she shows any interest. She doesn’t really enjoy anything else.
“But this has been so good for her. I can tell she has really enjoyed it. When she performed I went to the hospital and that is the first time I have heard her make music, other than the piano chords for a long, long time.”
The technology works like a ‘musical game’ where the players select pieces of melody at certain times of the performance to augment the overall work, which was composed by Prof Miranda.
Each patient wears an EEG cap furnished with electrodes which can read electrical information from their brain. They are paired with a member of the string quartet who views the musical phrases on a screen as they are selected in real-time.
Photo: Plymouth University
Julian O’Kelly, Research Fellow at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability added: “This is a great means of transcending disability to offer individuals a unique experience of creating music with each other, and interacting with skilled musicians to create original compositions.
“In the case of Rosemary, the project illustrated the great potential this innovation could have for participants who may have once been gifted musicians, but now lack the physical abilities to engage in music making.
“You could clearly see in her broad smile during the performance how much she enjoyed the experience.”
The patient quartet are made of Miss Johnson, Clive Wells, Richard Bennett and Steve Thomas.
Photo: Plymouth University
Speaking through an automated voice machine, Mr Thomas said: “I like music and I am very interested in the Brain Computer Music Interface. It’s more interactive with people actually getting my instructions.
“It was great to hear the musician play the phrase I selected. I tried to select music that was harmonious with the others. It’s very cool.”
The team are hoping that the technology could be used one day to improve mood and help them to express their feelings.
“If our patients were able to compose music to reflect their state of mind, that would be an amazing way for them to be able to express themselves and music therapists could then use that to work with the patients,” added Dr Sophie Duport, of Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability
Photo: Plymouth University
Joel Eaton, PhD Research Student at Plymouth University’s said: “One of the key things about this system is that not only does it give a user the interaction and control of an instrument, it allows them to interact with each other.
“If this idea was developed it could have ramifications in all areas of someone’s life. Potentially I can see the ability for someone to express musically how they are feeling again without their ability to move their fingers, to communicate with words.
My cousin Cindy sent me a link on Facebook that is just astounding. There is actually research being done today that is producing positive results in using frequencies to shatter various micro-organisms – chief among them Cancer. I want to share the YouTube link with you so you can see for yourselves the results. Flat out impressive!
Be sure and watch it and share it – this could possibly change the face of the medical world and the way we treat disease in the very near future.
Thanks Cindy for sending this my way. If any of you readers on this website come across any other information like this please share it with me. This is a team effort!