Reflections

The Power of music

By Ben Mwine:

I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us – Martin Luther

I could as well say enough said and leave it at what Martin Luther said. But there's a little more space accorded to me to say another thing or two so I'll attempt to try and use it to underline just how big a deal music is.

Imagine your favorite blockbuster epic movie, romance, thriller play those iconic scenes in that movie with the volume muted and see what a difference there is. It's not quite the same is it? Such is the power and influence that music has on our spirit and soul. But then you see it goes a little further than that…

 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” – Proverbs 18:21

You don't need to be a Christian or believer in the bible to see the sense in this proverb. How many wars have been started because of words said at the wrong time in the wrong way? How many marriages have been broken because of things that were said? Such is the power of words. Now combine the power of music and the power of words and what do you get? Probably one of the most understated Powers ever. No wonder Martin Luther puts it just below theology.

I was introduced to music at a very early age because my mom couldn't live without music; if she wasn't playing something on the old national radio, she was singing or humming a hymn and there was no running away from it.

As I grew up, I took up her passion for music, and discovered that no matter what was happening in my life, there was a song for it. Fortunately I grew up in a time when most of the music wasn't about grinding and shaking and God knows what else! The music back then was mostly happy music, and came from just about everywhere, including people like Brenda Fassie, Luther Vandross, Pat Shange, etc.

The majority of the music was about love, and life. Fast forward to today and most of the songs you hear just don't add up. It's about cheating and stealing and killing and I think it's safe to say that more than 50% of all the music we have hitting the chats is about sex…(I took a peak at the lyrics for the top 10 billboard singles). Does it then surprise you that the world is struggling with the highest rates of teenage pregnancies and infidelity ever? I think it is safe to say that the music we listen to has had a big part to play in it all.

And yet on the flip side, and more importantly for me, music has the power to soothe, comfort, encourage and put good warmth in our lives. That's why as a matter of principle I only listen to music that has a positive and inspirational message (sorry Lady Gaga…). Believe it or not, music will affect and influence your subconscious as the rock 'n' roll movement in the 60's and 70's clearly showed. We live in a world where a lot of emphasis is put on positive energy and positive thinking and you won't find anything more powerful in delivering this than music, in either direction of course.

Music is one of the greatest communication tools there is, even without words, so imagine the power it holds when it is combined with what I like to call deep lyrics. So when you're choosing music to listen to, don't just go by the beat or tune, look a little deeper and pay attention  to what the song is saying.

I remember in high school how we used to write letters to girls who were the objects of our affection and at the end of the letter we'd put a list of dedications that were meant to express how we felt. Well I know a guy who dedicated Michael Bolton's “Said I loved you but I lied” to a girl and she didn't know the song or bother listening to the song, 'nuf said.

Here are a few dedications of my own. May they inspire you and prove what music can do for your soul.

Whitney Houston – I look to you

The Winans – Count it all joy

R. Kelly – I believe I can fly

Ps. Did you know that music is such a big deal that God sings too!? Oh yeah, please read Zephaniah 3:17

Ben Mwine

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