The Power of Music

I recently viewed a 60 minutes piece on El Sistema, the fascinating music program in Venezuela that has literally transformed lives in this impoverished country.  You really need to watch this. While I must provide the disclaimer that music cannot transform an eternal soul, the obvious power of music’s influence for good or for evil is clearly evidenced in this social experiment.  The Venezuelan government dumps millions of dollars each year to give free lessons to the children of this impoverished country.

One of the most striking parts of the video is when the spokesman for the school discusses pop music with CBS’s Bob Simon.  The school intentionally uses Classical music, because they know that pop music will not be a positive influence for change.  Raphael tells Simon this:  “What they have at home on the radio is popular music all the time.  Their father, who drinks all the time, gets drunk with that music.  You have to give them something different.  And when they sit in one of these chairs in the orchestra, they think they are on another country in another planet, and they start changing.”

It has always intrigued me that many unbelievers discern the moral power of music better than many Christians.  What Christians should intuitively recognize even more than unbelievers is that good music reflects the image of a Creator and His good creation, and that bad music reflects the marred deformity of a fallen, sinful human race.  There is a difference between good and bad music.  God calls us to be distinct and discerning.  Philippians 4:8 should be applied the music choices of a church and  individuals Christians.  If a communist government can recognize the positive influence of good music, how much more should we as Christians exercise our spiritual senses in this critical part of our lives.

I leave you with this quotation from Henry Martyn, an Anglican missionary to India in the 1800s.

Since I have known God in a saving manner, painting, poetry, and music have had charms unknown to me before; for religion has refixed my mind, and made it susceptible of impressions from the sublime and beautiful.

3 Responses

  1. This is an outstanding video. What a great reminder to us as believers that our music should reflect the holiness of God!

  2. Thanks for a great video clip and such an inspiring segment showing kids growing up in poverty found achievement in classical music. The scenes of them lining up for their music lessons, practicing outdoor (since home is a slum), playing rusty instruments and yet rejoicing so much in their learning should be convicting to our kids (What’s the problem? Practice isn’t fun!) Jesus said we will lose our talent if we don’t do anything with it (Matt 25:14-29). But thank God He can give the increase abundantly if we do.
    – Kevin

  3. […] 10. The Power of Music […]

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