“Musick has charms to soothe the savage breast.” – William Congreve, from The Mourning Bride (1697). This is undeniably true, even though the quote is often improperly rendered with the word “beast” in place of “breast”.
It’s not unusual for teachers to bring students into the school Library to “chill out”. Once, when a particularly frustrated and agitated student was escorted into my oasis, I ventured to ask if he liked music. He was literally beating himself against the wall, but replied with a frown, “Yeah.”
I told him that when I feel anxious or overstimulated I like to play songs by the now defunct duo, The Civil Wars. I played Dust to Dust and watched the boy as he leaned up against the nearest wall, slumped his shoulders, and finally slid down to sit, relaxed on the carpeted floor.
I let my CD continue to play and observed his breathing slow down and his face relax. When the CD finished, I asked him if he enjoyed the songs. He said, “Yeah.” I agreed, saying, “their music always helps me breathe.” He nodded and stood, ready to go back to his classroom.
On another occasion, a teacher had brought her student to the Library, where the young man was having a definitive meltdown in the corner. The principal was alerted on the walkie-talkie, but the student was having none of it. Every intervention was failing. I took the risk of overstepping my bounds by bringing over an iPad on which I had brought up a video of In the Pines by Justin Johnson.
I approached the corner, requesting permission with a glance to the principal. She gave me a positive look, so I turned the iPad to face the student, gaging his reaction. I said, “I found this video of a really unusual instrument. Have you ever seen this before?” The student looked up, disengaged from his tantrum for the moment – curious. He shook his head when he saw the homemade instrument on the screen.
“Would you like to hear how it sounds?” I asked. The troubled boy nodded. The song redirected his energies toward a pathway to peace.
Of course, music does much more than merely soothe the savage breast. It breathes life into the soul.
Now, much of my music collection is what many would label “outdated”. I prefer the term “curated”. Over the years, many records, tapes, and CDs have come and gone. I’ve kept the ones that resonated with me. As a Believer, I enjoy Christian music. When I am fearful or feel broken, I listen to John Michael Talbot or Fernando Ortega.
When I feel like coming into God’s throne room dancing, I play He Reigns, by Newsboys.
When my spirit is spent and I feel empty, I fill up with Selah.
When I need to harmonize my spirit with the Almighty, I listen to Third Day.
But Salvador may say it best in their song, Breathing Life:
You paint the morning with the motion of Your hand
You move the water make and ocean from dry land
And everything that lives in heaven and on earth
You have created from the dawn of every birth
You raised the mountains up to reach and touch the sky
You forged the depth of pain and crossed the river wide
You built a bridge that reached from heaven down to me
And though I’m unworthy, once a captive now I’m free
Breathe life oh breathe life into me
And let Your fire consume me
I can’t listen to this song without crying tears of gratitude. So, the next time you or someone in your life is feeling empty, stressed out, exhausted, or ill, try the miracle of music. The science behind this phenomenon is called cymatics. It’s a thing, y’all.
Music has healing properties. The vibrations of music realign matter (including every part of the human body) into beautiful and symmetrical patterns. It’s why we enjoy singing and humming to our favorite songs.
No wonder music makes us feel better. It literally vibrates our beings into harmony.
*Written by Chris Rodriguez, Cindy Morgan • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC