Concentration & Classical Music

                 Concentration & Classical Music

The Power Of Music

We’re all familiar with the song, “The Power Of Love,” by Celine Dion.

But just how potent is the Power Of Music in our daily lives?

Positive effects of Classical Music in primary schools

Can exposing children to classical music in the primary schools aid in better concentration and social skills?

Susan Hallam, a professor of education and music psychology conducted a study on 252 children in nine primary schools in East London. Children, ages 7 – 10 were exposed to well-known classical works such as  Beethoven, Haydn & Mozart.

Here are some of the results reported in UK’s Daily Telegraph:

  • Enhanced listening skills
  • increased concentration & social skills
  • Positive attitude
  • Increase in musical knowledge
  • Improvements in English comprehension.
               Classical Music & Concentration

Is it possible for music to provoke a change in the learning environment, resulting in improved focus and results? 

ABSOLUTELY YES

According to an article in USC News, perhaps the greatest and least expensive study aid one can have is – you guessed it –  classical music.

Numerous academic studies were conducted focusing on the connection of classical music on learning.

A French Research…

…  published in Learning and Individual Differences substantiates such findings.

In this study, students were required to listen to classical music in the background for on hour while attending a lecture. The results showed that these students scored significantly higher on a quiz than those who had no music playing.

The researchers concluded that listening to classical music made the students more receptive to information by heightening their emotional state.

This raises an interesting question.

Is the power of music always positive?

We all heard about the negative influences of rap and heavy metal music but…

CAN GOOD MUSIC INFLUENCE  US TO DO BAD THINGS?

The Study

A study was published in the Psychology Of Music Journal by an Israeli researcher, Naomi Ziv. The study involved 120 students who were asked to carry out mundane written tasks for about 90 seconds.

Some of the students had upbeat music playing in the background, while others worked in silence.

They were then asked to tell a lie to another student about a certain scenario.

The Findings

Surprisingly, about  65% of those who listened to the music agreed to do it,  compared to  45% who worked in silence.

In a similar,  more controlled study,  the results were even more surprising.  About 80% of those who listened to their favorite music agreed to lie, compared to 33% of those working in silence.

The Experiment

Meanwhile, in Finland, a study was conducted on a group of teenagers taking part in a gambling game. In this study by the Helsinki Aalto University,  the stakes were low  but while gambling,

  • for 1/4 of the time music they liked was played in the background
  • for another 1/4 of the time music they disliked was played in the background
  • for the remainder of the time, the game was played in silence.

The Findings

Do You Know What Your Kids Are Listening To?

The sound of their favorite songs increased risk-taking compared to silence.

The Conclusion

Listening to your favorite music may subconsciously increase risk-taking. It may also lead to uncharacteristic or unethical behavior.

What do you think?

I would love to hear from you.

Any questions, comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


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Sources  Limelight: Australia’s Classical Music & Arts Magazine, Jan.10, 2014.

                 Limelight:Sharon Benson, Sept.2, 2015.

USC News, Dec.5, 2014

Photos Courtesy Pixabay

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Insomnia & Classical Music Music

Classical Music & Insomnia

“As the day turns into night, keep your worries out of sight.

Close your eyes and go to sleep. All your thoughts are yours to keep.”

Ideally, we sleep 1/3 of our lives on average. But how much do we know about sleep?  What are the reasons for insomnia and what is the cure?

What part does music and particularly, classical music play in sleep inducement?

A record not to attempt

The world’s record for a period without sleep is:

18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes

However, if you aspire to break that record, be prepared for hallucinations, paranoia, and blurred vision and a host of other symptoms.

         Causes Of Insomnia

Stress

Lack of exercise

Irregular bedtime schedules

Eating too much late in the evening

Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol

Heat

Medication

Sleep Needs

  • Women need an hour  more sleep than men
  • School-aged children  8 – 11 hours
  • Teens need about 10-hours of sleep.
  • About 10% of people suffer from sleep apnea – i.e. they stop breathing for a very short time (from a few seconds to minutes) while they sleep.

Simple Sleep Secrets

Ambiance – Keep bedroom comfortable

Distractions –  remove tv from in the bedroom

Sleep ritual – go to bed approx. same time every night

drink a glass of warm milk

-take a bath

listen to calming music

Can Music Arrest Insomnia?

Regardless of the causes, quantitative evidence strongly suggests that music, in particular, classical music, can induce sleep.

A friend of mine tells me that watching tv late at night puts him to sleep.

For others, simply reading a good book does the job.

And yet,  for others,  listening to a relaxing tone pushes our snooze button and sends us off.

Whereas, some other methods might work, “music can help people fall asleep,”  says  *Dr. Michael Breus, Ph.D. It is important, however,  to choose music with a slow beat  – approximately 60 beats per minute range.

Jules Massenet

The classical masterpiece “Meditation” from the opera Thais,  by the French composer, Jules Massenet is a good example.

If you choose music like  “Guns & Roses” instead, your chances of falling to sleep are slim.

Music-Sleep Connection

Supported by studies worldwide, this connection has no age or gender bias. Even schizophrenics and persons with chronic and short-term sleep problems have been helped.  

The Tempo Makes A Difference

In typical studies, people listen to relaxing music (such as classical)  about 45 minutes before retiring.

According to Dr. Edward R. Laworski from the Mayo Clinic,  “A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 – 100 beats a minute.”

It is not surprising then that  “Music with a rhythm of about 60-beats a minute helps people fall asleep, ” according to Dr. Breus. 

The heart -rate begins to slow-moving toward that 60-beat per minute range, as you are falling asleep. In other words, your heartbeat is “tuned” toward the sleep zone, to the slow music.

But what if classical music is not your cup of tea? No problem. There are other forms of relaxing music which clock in at 60-beats a minute.  “The better choice,” says Dr. Breus” is always music without words.”

He warns, however,  against listening to anything that evokes strong emotions, whether positive or negative, before bed.

Dr. Breus recommends listening to music in bed, but not with the use of earphones. Rather than earphones which may damage the ear canal, pillow sneakers with speakers are the ideal. Designed to allow you to comfortably listen to music in bed, the sneaker comes in a variety of prices and sizes.

“A good laugh and a long sleep  are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”Irish Proverb

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Any questions, comments or constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.


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*Expert & author of the Sleep Doctors Diet Plan

Sources: WebMD/

                -Mayo clinic

              – BabaMail

               -Wikipedia

               -Harward Health Publications 7/12

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Classical Music Mysteries

Young or old, which one of us is not fascinated by an unsolved mystery or watching a thrilling suspense movie? Especially if it has a  happy ending, right?

 Similarly,  throughout the years there have been – not a few classical music mysteries –  many remaining to this day.

Music From Dead Classical Music Composers?

In 1970, Rosemary Brown, a Londoner and mediocre pianist, claimed to have had a direct communication channel with long-dead great composers.

Rosemary Brown

Apparently famous composers like Beethoven, Schumann and Bach were all lining up to dictate their works to her. Among other pieces supposedly channeled to her were Beethoven’ s  10th & 11th  symphonies.

Unlike other mediums who could, at best, improvise, Rosemary distinguished herself by actually writing down the music.

She was so gifted and convincing that she received accolades from Litz experts,  after performing classical music channeled from dead composers.

Two Skulls In A Tomb

Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809) was an Austrian composer. He was without question, one of the most important figures in classical music’s development during the 18th century.

He had been buried for only eight days when, two phrenologists, wanting to find the source of the composer’s genius, stole his head.  

The robbery was not discovered until eleven years later, when Haydn’s patron,  Prince Nicholas Esterhazy, wanted his remains transferred. Then the quick-witted phrenologists gave him a different skull to bury the body. 

In 1895, however, the real skull was found and willed to one of Vienna’s music societies.

The grand reunion between the real skull and rest of the body took place in 1954. However, the substitute skull was not removed and so there lies two skulls in a tomb.

But which one is Haydn’s and to whom does the other one belong?

That is the question.

Who murdered composer Alessandro  Stradella?

Alessandro Stradella is best remembered for his breathtakingly beautiful chamber music.

Alessandro Stradella

He had also distinguished himself by writing music for the Queen of Sweden.

Yet he lived a colorful,  but immoral lifestyle.  His embellishment of money from the church and his high-profile affairs with married women resulted in his downfall and eventual death.

After several failed attempts on his life, he was stabbed to death by an assassin in 1682.

Who done it?

The killer’s identity remains a mystery to this day.

How Did Beethoven Die?

How many of the following symptoms does one need in order to die?

  • Abdominal pain

    Ludwig von Beethoven
  • Bronchitis
  • Poor digestion
  • Deafness
  • liver damage
  • excess of fluid in the skull
  • a swollen spleen
  • a shrunken pancreas
  • lead poisoning

These, among others, were among a catalog of symptoms which may have contributed to the composer’s death.

But the actual cause of death still remains a mystery to historians and doctors.

Last Song On The Titanic               

The Unsinkable Titanic

Gallant acts of self-sacrifice, unwavering courage, and stories of bravery and heroism.

What was the last song played by the  Titanic’s musicians?

Mere words cannot describe the last moments aboard the ill-fated Titanic, during its maiden voyage in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912.  From the engine room crew to the wireless operators, it was all hands on the deck which helped to minimize the number of deaths.

From Dance To Gospel Music

However, some of the real unsung heroes were the Titanic’s musicians. This gallant band stayed on board performing until the last lifeboat was loaded.  But what was that last song that was played and why was that important?      

In the absence of conclusive evidence, the three  contenders  are:

…And the band played on…

“Nearer My God To Thee?”          

“Autumn” or

“Oh God, Our  Help In Ages Past.

But that last song played still remains a mystery.

What is also somewhat of a mystery is why the musicians chose to stay on board until all hope of rescue was gone. Yet, who can say how many lives were saved or hope restored because of the music?

One thing is certain –  eternal in the heavens lives the memory of that gallant band.

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What do you think?  Has this been helpful? I’d love to hear from you 

Your comments, questions or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


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Sources: Britannica.com

Classic fm

Thoughts.com

Wikimedia.com

Pixabay.com

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Classical Music-Calming Cat & Canine

Can Classical Music Calm Your Cat & Canine?

Violin Strings From Cats Guts?

Legend has it that the strings of a violin were once made from cats guts. Perhaps that explains, in part, why playing a piece of classical music to your cat has such a calming effect. 

Not only cats but canines and plants respond positively when fed a dose of classical music, studies now reveal.

Why Cats Prefer Classical

Cat listening to calming Classical Music

“Most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions,” according to Dr.Miguel Carriera, a veterinary surgeon at the University Of Lisbon, Portugal. During clinical evaluation, the cats display a calmer, tolerant and confident behavior.

Studies have suggested that classic music is the cat’s preference because it contains frequencies and tempos that match a cat’s purring and high-pitched meows.

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Calming  Music For Cats

Psychologists at the University of Wisconsin, Maryland are writing music – just for cats. The music mimics a pulsating cat’s purr and meows. The intent is to enrich the cat’s environment while helping them remain calm and relaxed.

Can Classical Music Calm Your Canine?

A Dog’s Best friend?

It was once thought that man was a dog’s best friend, and vice versa. Now new studies suggest that man could be replaced by music as a dog’s best friend.

Through A Dog’s Ears

Canine Enjoying Soothing Classical Sounds

We all have different musical tastes and preferences.Have you ever wondered what music sound like through a  dog’s ears?  What genre of music can contribute to a calmer, happier dog?

One such study published in the journal  ‘Physiology & Behaviour,’  in which dogs were separated into two separate groups.

More Bach, Less Bark

One group of dogs were observed in silence while the other group had classical music by Bach pumped into their kennels.  In the second week, the roles were reversed. The dog’s heart rates, saliva samples, and behavioral traits were observed for a two-week period.

At the end of the second week,  the dogs’ stress levels in both groups decreased significantly after listening to classical music. Furthermore, when music was being played, the dogs spent less time standing and barking.

While studies on other genres of music upon dogs are inconclusive, listening to classical music has been proven beneficial to them.

Playing To Your Plants

Much closer, please.

Ever heard of a plant caressing a speaker?

Yet, that is exactly what happened in an experiment conducted by a group of university students in 1970. The plants were exposed to different genres of music.

The plants actually entwined themselves around

the speakers when the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn & Schubert was played. However, when rock music was played, the plants actually leaned away from the source.

So does playing music to your plants really cause them to grow better?

Yes – but not just any genre of music but more specifically, classical or baroque. And if a single instrument is engaged, the violin seems to be the instrument of choice.

In fact, new studies have found that the best way to boost plant growth is through the soothing rhythms of classical music.

To this end, experiments in 1962 by Dr. T. C. Singh, head of the Botany department of Annamalia University, proved quite interesting. He concluded that balsam plants exposed to classical music accelerated 20% in height and 72% in biomass.

In another experiment,  wheat produced a 66% increase in yield, when exposed to Baroque sounds and a J.S.Bach violin sonata.

The theory behind the science

Violin – Plants’ Instrument Of Choice
It’s In The Protoplasm.

According to Webster’s dictionary, “Protoplasm is defined as the usually colorless substance which is  that living part of animal and plant cells.”

The theory is that the vibrations from your favorite piece of music accelerate the protoplasmic movement in the cells. This, in turn, aids in the plant’s growth and results in a stronger, more vibrant plant.

So, pick up the violin and play to your plants. It’s a win, win.

…But keep an eye on your speakers.

What do you think?

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Sources:Mail On Line- Science & Tech.

BBC News 2 Mar.2015-‘Classical Music Helps Dogs Relax’

Classical fm  – the world’s greatest music

Photos courtesy of Pixabay & Wyevale Garden Centres

Classical Music Saves Lives

Classical Music Saves Lives

“Pie .. before I die”

The story is told of a husband on his sick bed who was about to die. He  motioned to his son, sitting at his bedside and whispered, “Son, I have one wish before I die.”

What is it, Dad?” the son asked. ”

“I would like a piece of Mom’s apple-strudel pie. Please ask Mom to send  a piece for me.”

“Okay, Dad,” the son responded, and off he went.

“Ah,” his father said to himself, patiently waiting, “Mom’s apple-strudel pie.”

Hearing  his  son return to his room, he said -” bring it right here, son.”

“No Dad, I’m sorry,” the son responded, “Mom said you can’t have any.”

Shocked, his  Dad replied, “what do you mean, I can’t have any?”

“Mom said the pie is for after the funeral.”

(LOL)

Influence Of Classical Music On Sick Or Dying Patients

Whereas the role of music in intensive care patients, is somewhat unclear, it has been documented that  relaxing music is very important in intensive care medicine. Studies  suggest music decreases anxiety and stress levels  for patients in preoperative settings, and may contribute to a faster recovery rate.

Whereas  some benefits can be obtained from  other forms of music, classical (Bach, Mozart, or Italian composers) and meditation music provided the most health benefits in intensive care patients.  This type of music has come to be known as the “ideal” therapy for “treating” patients with

  • anxiety
  • depressive syndromes
  • cardiovascular disturbances
  • pain, stress or
  • sleep disturbances.

However, studies also suggest and warn against listening to heavy mental or techno music as these are not only ineffective but may lead to life-threatening conditions for intensive care patients. This music can cause both heart rate and blood pressure to increase  by encourages rage, disappointment and aggressive behavior.

“Must hear music before you die “

There are so many  highly acclaimed classical musical masterpieces. Below are just three of the recommended  must hear before you die,” all time greats. More on this subject at a later date.

  • Handel’s Messiah
    George F. Handel

    a fixture for the Christmas  season, this piece was written by a man  Ludwig Van Beethoven described as the “greatest composer who ever lived”George Frederick Handel. It stills mesmerizes listeners 250 years after the composers’ death, from the opening line “comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God” to the very end.

  • Vivaldi – the four seasons. – This is the best known of Vivaldi’s works. It consists of a group of 4 violin concerts – by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, each giving expression to the season of the year. In fact, listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons has been described as the new brain food.
  • The Marriage Of Figaro
Wolfgang A. Mozart

The characters come alive in this hilarious opera, described as the greatest ever written, by the renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Regarding this piece- a journalist wrote –  “contains so many beauties, and such richness of thought, that could only come from a genius.”

What do you think?

What are some of your “must-hear” classical favorites?

 

Your comments, questions or suggestions are greatly appreciated

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Sources: Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

PubMed.gov/US Library Of Medicine/Nat.Institute Of Health

New York Times/Music/Oct.26/2016

Worditout.com

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Classical Music Changes Lives

Classical Music Changes Lives 

Can Classical Music Change Lives?

Can classical music improve a person’s  mental, physical or emotional well-being?

Is there any documented evidence or empirical study to support this claim?

 Cow’s Milk, Anyone?        

Back in the year 2001, a team of research scientists from the University Of Leicester in the UK found that when cows were fed a daily dose of classical music, the quality of their milk improved.

If classical music can do that for cows, imagine what it can do for me and you?

Who has not heard of the Mozart effect?

Wolfgang F. Mozart

A team of researchers published a study* to quantify the connection between listening to Mozart and a child’s Intelligence Quotient. The results showed exponential growth in the child’s intelligence in just a few short years.

Additionally, exposing prematurely born children to Mozart for just 30 minutes a day, resulted in their increased growth and development.

Ever heard about the Vivaldi effect?

Antonio Vivaldi was a virtuoso violinist and composer, whose was best remembered for his masterpiece, “The Four Seasons.”

Antonio Vivaldi

According to Northumbria university study, subjects showed improved accuracy and less response time in the performance of tasks, after listening to Vivaldi.

New Brain Food.

In fact, listening to Vivaldi’sFour seasons,” has been heralded as the new brain food.

We’ve already discussed several benefits of music therapy in Music & Medicine

There is a plethora of research documenting the  benefits of  listening to classical music – such as:

Higher IQ

Improved alertness and Memory

Better quality of sleep

Depression and dementia

High blood pressure a problem? 

Blood Pressure Check Anyone?

Now there is hope for high blood pressure victims.

Research from the University of San Diego* found that listening to classical music for only 1/2 hour a day can help stabilize raising blood pressure levels.

But who would have thought of using classical music as a crime-fighting prevention vehicle?

 

 

Classic Music & Crime                 

Can music actually play a part in reducing violent crime, drug addiction and a host of societal ills?

In the year 2003,  city officials started playing classical music at several train stations in London.

The reasoning was that, since a lot of crime is impulsive, external stimuli – such as classical music  –  could have a soothing effect on primeval behavior.

Did it work?

It is often said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating – and the results were simply astounding.

In as little as 18 months – there were substantial decreases in robberies, assaults on staff and vandalism. In fact, the plan was so successful that a similar strategy was implemented in Portland, with police calls decreasing by some 40%.

El Sistema

El Sistema is a voluntary music education founded by a  Venezuela  musician, educator and activist                                                                                              Antonio Abreu, in 1975.

Silver Bolivar Youth Orchestra

“El” Sistema” simply means “system” and is synonymous with  the word “network.”

      The social action for music program has become so successful in impacting the lives of children in Venezuela that it has been adopted in the U.S., England and other countries.

Over 300,000 children in Venezuela have had their lives changed by the program, and they love to boast about it.

“I would have been dead, or still smoking pot,” said a French horn player from the Silver Bolivar Youth Orchestra. “Joining the orchestra not only changed my life but my whole family’s.”

He went on to say that his father was drinking far too much, and his brothers had dropped out of school.

“But when I got hooked on my instrument, my father stopped drinking and one by one, my brothers went back to school.”

So back to the original question – Can classical music change your life?

Answer:  Classic music not only changes lives – but saves them too.


I’d love to hear from you. Your questions, comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Sources: The Telegraph, article by Julian LLoyd Webber, 6th November, 2008.

WQXR – April 8/13

Return Of Kings – Jon Antoni  Jan 10, 2016.

*JSRM – April 2001

Classical Music In The Sanctuary

Classical Music In The Sanctuary

How has classical music transitioned from the “secular” to the “holy” ground?

Is secular music satanic?

Does classical music have a place in the sanctuary?

Can God use any form of music for His glory?

 

 

The Purpose Of Music

Ask a million people and you will get a million different answers. To many, the purpose of music is entertainment and enjoyment.  To others, it is for relaxation and meditation, while for other persons, music isn’t music unless it excites the passions and stimulates the senses.

But according to one of the world’s  foremost  musicians and composers:

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. If heed is not paid to this it is not true music but a diabolical bawling and twanging.”    Johann Sebastian Bach.

How has classical music transitioned from the “secular” to the “holy” ground?

Genesis & Early Beginnings

What is religious music?

Religious or sacred music finds its roots way back in the Biblical days. David, shepherd boy who later became king of Israel, was one of the most prolific composers of songs.

Most of the Psalms in the bible was set to music and used in the temple service. Even today, Jews used them in synagogue worship.

In fact, many worship leaders today are still known as Psalmist. Even certain portions of the New Testament have been put to music and sung in the Orthodox liturgy.

While many composers have been inspired by their religion, music has been composed to complement religion.

Still, forms of traditional music have been adapted for religious purposes by such greats as G. Palestrina and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The former wrote masses for the Roman Catholic Church while the latter wrote music for the Lutheran Church.

Early Contributors To Church Music

Hildegard Of Bingen (1098 – 1179)

 A nun attached to a convent in Germany, Hildegard later founded her own convent. Highly intellectual, over the years, she set a liturgical text to music, writing hymns and religious songs. Some of her music been recorded and preserved down through the ages.

Many other classical composers who contributed to church music during the baroque and classical periods include Antoni Vivaldi and Johann S. Bach. Even Beethoven contributed with many Requiems and Masses and Mendelssohn with his repertoire of hymns and songs.

Patron Saint Of Music

Saint Cecelia is known as the Patron Saint of Music and church music in particular.

St. Cecelia – Patron Saint Of Music

Living in Roman times, she is said to have been the inspiration behind many composers and musicians  and is usually depicted with a  musical instrument in her hands. 

She is said to have heard heavenly music when she was married and told her husband that she had taken the vow of virginity and her guardian angels were protecting her.

She was martyred for her beliefs, and have had tribute paid to her by such notable composers as Henry Purcell and George Frederick Handel. November 22nd is known as her feast day and, one of Rome’s famous classical music venues – the National Academy Of Saint Cecelia has been named in her honor.

Music In The Sanctuary Today

During the nineteenth century, not a few classical composers have written some of the popular hymns still sung in many churches today. Still, others have had their music adapted as hymns, such as Handel’s Largo by George Fredric Handel.

Perhaps the best known and endearing hymn ever written was  Amazing Grace by John Newton, an Englishman, in 1772. The hymn was born out Newton’s repentance from the evils of slave-trading. Although written by John Newton, it was the American composer William Walker who first put Newton’s Amazing Grace to music.

Finally,  we dare not forget music by classical composers for special occasions, such as Wedding March, by Felix Mendelssohn, Bridal Chorus, by Richard Wagner, and Canon in D, by John Pachabel.

Should Christians listen to secular music?

Is secular music satanic?

Where do we draw the line?

What’s wrong with “Christian rock concert music?

While the Bible does not condemn any particular style of music, it does admonish us to focus on things “whatever things are true noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.” Phil. 4:8

Whereas everyone’s taste may differ, Christians are called to a higher standard.  In fact, the apostle Paul admonishes us, in 1st Cor.10:31 ..” Therefore, whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, do it all to the glory of God.”

So the big question then, for the Christian,  is whether or not the music glorifies God.

And if the music glorifies God,  then its purpose, style and lyrics must be considered.

But can God use any style of music for His glory?

My answer is a resounding yes.

What do you think?


Any questions, comments or constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.

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Sources:Got Questions?Org.

– New World Encyclopedia

–  Mfiles, Wikipedia

-Photos courtesy of Pixabay