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Musical Myths...
by Melanie Bockmann

There are a LOT of opinions out there when it comes to music! I’ve noticed that some of the most ignorant opinions about music are also the loudest opinions—which is why it’s important to... be able to evaluate every idea for yourself and not let someone with a narrow view bully you into feeling that all kinds of things are wrong even when they’re not. 

I've chosen some of my pet peeves to discuss. :) Let’s talk about a few things pertaining to music: 

1. When it comes to drumbeats, there’s no such thing as a “Christian beat” or a “non-Christian beat.” 

Drumbeats and time signatures are not inherently good or bad. 

Since God is the author of rhythm (and it’s evident that He likes rhythm if you look at all the examples of nature, including your heart beat, the sound crickets make, the way babies naturally enjoy being rocked to sleep, etc.) ALL rhythm belongs to HIM. Granted, some people take God’s rhythm and create secular music with it, but they don’t own it. God does. 

Some people believe (wrongly) that certain time signatures and beats are OK for Christians and some aren’t. This is NOT biblical, it’s not Ellen White-ical (yes, I just made that up), and there’s no foundation for a beat having an inherent “morality.” It’s just someone’s opinion. 

According to Andrews University musicology professor Lilianne Doukhan, no type of beat can change your character—it doesn’t have that power. Certain beats might make you feel a certain way because of how our bodies respond, but it cannot transform you into a good or bad person (see In Tune With God, by Lilianne Doukhan, available here and at the Adventist Book Center). 

Don’t let anyone tell you that a type of beat is right or wrong. 

2. Anyone can record an album, write a song, or work “in the industry”—that does NOT make that person an expert musicologist. 

A musicologist is someone who actually studies music. While someone who likes music or creates music might have some personal stories or opinions to share, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that those did not come from an expert. Personal anecdotes (stories) of peoples’ experiences with music vary widely, and are very subjective (which mean they pertain specifically to the person telling the story or opinion, and don’t necessarily pertain to everyone). Here’s a non-musical example:

I get VERY sick when I eat avocados. Like, seriously I think I’m going to keel over and die even if I have a small piece. (Which is a sad thing, because I love guacamole…but I digress.) However, just because I have had a bad experience with avocados, that doesn’t mean I should try to make everyone else stop eating avocados, too. That would be ridiculous, right? The reaction I have to avocados is my reaction. And I also should not try to make everyone else think that eating avocados is morally wrong just because I personally cannot eat them. The same thing applies when we talk about peoples’ personal or subjective experiences with music, or their own preferences when it comes to music. 

Does that make sense? 

3. Not all “secular” music is secular, and not all “Christian” music is Christian. 

In fact, I think we would do better at not categorizing it that way at all. Instead, we should ask ourselves, “Does this music inspire me or bring me down?” “Does this music support my relationship with God, or work against it?” And this is different for different people. It requires that we use our brains, and that we leave room for other people to disagree and make their own decisions for themselves. 

For example, there are certain songs I love to sing to God when I lead worship at church. They make me feel very close to Him and sensitive to His Spirit. Some of those EXACT same songs, however, make some of my friends feel further away from God. Because they know I love God, they choose to be kind to me and tolerant when we sing songs at church they don’t like. Because I love God and I love them, when I lead worship, I try to include songs I know make them feel close to God, too. That’s the way we work together to honor God, even through our differences of opinion.

4. When it comes to music, movies, books, or any other type of media, we should not judge other peoples’ relationships with God. Period. 

You have no idea where God is leading someone else…and it might be a different path than the one He has you on. Make your own decisions based on how God is leading you, and let God be responsible for leading others. He is definitely capable…even without the criticism and mini-sermons I see some of you direct toward each other in the forums! 

5. There is nothing wrong with any particular type of instrument—violins, flutes, organs, electric guitars, drums, pianos, cellos—any instrument can be used to glorify God. 

Any type of instrument can also be used to dishonor God. The Psalms list almost every instrument available (at least at that point in history) and encourage us to praise God with every single one. If pianos had been available when David wrote the Psalms, I’m sure he would have included those, too! A few thousand years later, we can still praise God with every instrument available. 

Those are only a few of the points I could talk about when it comes to music…but I figured you wouldn't read a blog that was 17 pages long... lol

I get VERY tired of listening to ignorant people try to take music away from the rest of us because of some narrow-minded, non-biblical views they like to push on others. It’s OK to use our brains, and let the author of music (God) give us the freedom to enjoy the gifts He’s given us. So go choose some good music, and be uplifted! :)


0 #6 mango 2013-07-09 00:08
good cause there's a preacher out there who is saying that syncopated beats with "poly-rhythmic elements" are bad (basically any beat similar to a rock or jazz beat)
+3 #5 islandqueen129 2012-09-27 01:04
I SO agree. ;-)
+1 #4 Quirky 2012-08-31 08:20
#4 kinda hit me hard cuz i know that i've been doin that to someone... :sigh:
+9 #3 Silverstar 2012-07-11 15:04
Cool, I will use some of those tips. :-)
+7 #2 tim33 2012-07-09 06:53
Exactly right, God Bless You
+8 #1 winterjewels 2012-07-08 05:56
Thank you SO MUCH for clearing that all up. I've had a hard time figuring what God thought about music because so many have heard so many different things in their life and it's hard to choose which one is Godly with all these hormones.

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