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Music is an extremely touchy subject. My dad likes to say that the three touchiest subjects to speak on in a sermon are child training, spending habits, and music.
I love music and always have. I often sing while I go about my work, and I love listening to music as well, especially while I cook, edit pictures, organize my room, or do practically anything that keeps me in the same place for awhile but doesn’t involve a lot of concentration (maybe that explains why my recipes turn out the way they do at times…haha). I am now a choral music junkie, but my music tastes have drastically changed over the past year or two.
I’ve always had pretty classical music tastes. Wait, let me clarify. Most people think “orchestra” when I say classical, but that’s not really what I mean. By classical, I mean traditional music that is classy. Spiritual music is great, but about 2 years ago when I really started listening to more music, I listened to a lot of secular stuff. Still within the classical realms, but secular. I loved musicals (the decent ones)…did you know that there’s a line in a musical for every situation? Yeah. I could practically carry on conversations with lines from musicals. The most “modern” music I got into was classical crossover, along the Hayley Westenra/Josh Groban/Andrea Bocelli/Sissel lines. Classically trained artists, but it leaned a little more towards classy pop and was mostly secular music. I listened to a LOT of music.
Then I went to Bible school, and for 7 weeks I listened to no secular music whatsoever. At Bible school, we had choir practice every day, preparing a program of choral music. By the end of those 7 weeks when I went back home and started listening to my old music, I found that it no longer satisfied. It was empty, trivial. However, I didn’t find much music to replace it that I enjoyed listening to (I enjoyed singing choral music but didn’t necessarily enjoy listening to other people sing it unless I was at a live concert.), so I soon got used to the secular drivel again.
So for 6 months, I listened to my old music, although maybe not quite to the extent that I had before (I just plain didn’t have as much free time, for one thing.). Then I went to the same Bible school again, but this time just for 3 weeks. I came back home and found that once again my secular music sounded cheap. Being a little older and wiser, this time I hypothesized that maybe God was trying to tell me something. I found some good choirs/sacred music groups that I enjoyed listening to, and the rest is history. While I do listen to a little bit of secular music now and then, I get annoyed with it very quickly and find myself enjoying sacred choral music much more than the secular stuff.
5 Reasons Why I Love Sacred Choral Music:
- 1) It is God-centered, not man-centered.
- 2) It is beautifully intricate.
- 3) It is inclusive. Many parts harmonize into a whole. It’s a beautiful picture of the church (body of Christ) as it is meant to function in community. It is not a soloistic work.
- 4) It is peaceful.
- 5) It is spiritual.
You might not like choral music. I didn’t either (I wasn’t opposed to it, but I didn’t seek it out for the pleasure of listening.). Keep an open mind.
Choral music certainly isn’t the only sacred music out there, but it’s a beautiful form of it. I’m not saying that everyone has to listen to choral music (but you should give it a try!). What I AM saying is that a steady diet of secular music can be very detrimental. I feel such a difference in my mental/emotional/spiritual state after listening to sacred music when compared to how I feel after listening to a lot of secular music. Sacred music puts me in a much calmer, restful state of mind. I get restless when I listen to too much secular music, and I feel unfulfilled.
As in everything, moderation. And making a choice to listen to God-conscious music is certainly a good one that makes a lot of sense if you’re concerned about your spiritual well-being. Even if the secular music you’re listening to is not WRONG, is it the BEST?
In case you need something to listen to, here are a few of my favorite sacred composers/arrangers (I can’t speak for all of their works because I haven’t heard them all, but what I’ve heard, I like.):
- Lloyd Kauffman
- Larry Nickel
- John Rutter
- Moses Hogan
And feel free to check out my sacred music playlist on YouTube (in it you’ll find a lot of works by the composers above)!
Just like so many other things in life, once you experience the good stuff, the cheap stuff will be just that: cheap.