A study was done in which gardens were planted in different and yet identical greenhouse environments. The only thing that varied from greenhouse to greenhouse, was the music.Various boom boxes were placed next to the plants to serenade them with tunes as they grew. One greenhouse played classical. Another, metal. Another, rock. Another, pop etc. By the end of the experiment, the only plants thriving were the ones listening to classical music. All the other plants were withered to some degree or completely dead.
This is not my plug for classical music, but this is curious to ponder when we think about how music can be helpful or dangerous. Music captures emotions within us in its volume, mix, and style, and either draws emotions out of us and kills them, or gives them new life. This is why I’m deeply convicted that audio mixing and sound engineering is a theological art. It brings life, or it brings death. Volume shapes emotion. Mixes shape people.
Just read through the Psalms. God explores emotions in the Psalms: Laments (songs of sorrow, questioning, and doubt), Penitential (songs of confessing) and Imprecatory (songs praying for judgment and calamity upon our enemies), Thanksgiving (Todah) Psalms,Salvation History (songs about our story), Songs of Trust, Hymns and Doxology (songs responding directly to deep truth), Liturgical Covenant Songs, Royal (Kingly) Enthronement Psalms, Songs of Zion (Kingdom), Temple Liturgies, Wisdom, and Torah Psalms (Law and Word).
Consider the variety of peaks and valleys, empty and full, high and low, loud and soft, etc. that all these differing forms of poetry invoke? Most churches divide over volume because its “too loud” or “too soft.” The problem is that neither argument is concerned with how both loud and soft are both essential to discipleship!
If the trade of audio engineering is embraced as a discipleship tool,, we will begin to see musical moments that seize opportunities to communicate truth directly to people’s emotions.
A soft mix put to harsh words can help a person receive it, and vice versa. Sometimes truth needs pop, hit, and it needs even to offend. Nothing can capture these swells like audio. As you read a sample of each of these psalms today, sketch a picture on a pad of paper as to of how they might look in “sound.” Is there a way we can help people better understand Scripture through musical movement, not just textual flow?
*For further reading in the Bible: Psalm 22; Psalm 124; Psalm 102; Psalm 118
Accompanying this study is over 300-Hours of video footage from 150 of today’s top Christian thinkers on culture, creativity, innovation, and invention atwww.makejesusculture.com and www.gardencityproject.com. We aim to help churches develop grass roots culture formation for their contexts. Go now!