Interlinc's YLO 78 is out. I wrote this article for the theme "Music Matters." If you get the magazine, it's on page 5. If you don't -- it's right here!
The Language of the . . .
By Kirk Moore
When I was a kid, I loved going to campfires to hear my dad lead sing-alongs. To this day I love to sing, play and experience the wonder of a campfire. I’ve also experienced how music reaches folks at a level that is difficult to explain.
When I was a seminary student, I spent several months as a chaplain at a nursing care facility. I spend much time with folks there who suffered from memory loss and dementia symptoms. We sang together. We sang old hymns, familiar children’s songs, campfire songs and even a few songs that were new to them.
In singing with these wonderful folks, I witnessed something for which I have no complete explanation. When we sang, the people, who often sat in their chairs without any sign that they were aware of my presence, would clap their hands, stomp their feet and sing along with me.
Something else unexplainable happened a few times as well. After singing some particularly familiar songs, I had some short, meaningful conversations with folks who rarely talked and when they did, rarely made sense.
I could only conclude that music reached areas of these folk’s minds that other things didn’t.
In addition to singing with folks who are older, I’ve been a songleader with children. Over the years I’ve witnessed young children singing, clapping, doing motions and even dancing long before they could talk and often before they could walk. (Not the dancing part – but the other parts!) I’ve had parents tell me that the singing sessions their children have been a part of have changed the way they acted all day long.
I can only conclude that music reaches areas of children’s minds that other things don’t.
Do these two experiences hold true for music ministry with youth?
I’ve been singing with students for more than 20 years. In those years I’ve observed that long after any lessons I've taught them or words of wisdom that I've spouted have been lost from their memories, they remember the music.
I can only conclude that music reaches areas of youth’s minds that other things don’t.
Does music reach people in ways that other things can’t? Yes. It truly is an expression that reaches to our very essence. Some would say that music is the language of the soul.
What’s your life experience with music?