Volume. XXV, No. 1
Sunday, 04 July 2010


From the Pastors Heart: Worship Part 10


I have seen churches and Christians using music in their worship without careful studying. There is virtually no difference between secular music and contemporary Christian music these days. Some of them argue that the style of music really is not important as long as the words are biblical. In fact, lots of churches and organizations have used all kinds of music with the excuse that they want to bring young people to Christ or churches. The words “praise” and “worship” have especially confused the minds of church goers or comers. However, I must emphatically say that it is extremely important for us to use sacred and godly music for worship by all means. We have seen new developments in psychology for at least the last two decades in music psychology. Many universities offer masters and doctoral programs in their psychology departments. The applicants to these programs are supposed to have psychology, music, and communication related undergraduate backgrounds. We must notice that music and psychology are related in this major. Often their professors are experts in psychoacoustics and neurophysiology, which also indicates that music affects the mind and body. Of course, for Christians, I may include spiritual aspects too. We need to listen to Patrick N. Juslin, who wrote the article, “Seven Ways in which the Brain Can Evoke Emotions from Sounds,” Sound, Mind and Emotion, which is a publication from The Sound Environment Centre at Lund University (report no. 8), which contain texts from a series of interdisciplinary symposiums arranged in 2008. He said, “Sound moves us. It may cause great pleasure as well as great pain. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of music – often referred to as ‘that one of the fine arts which is concerned with the combination of sounds with a view to beauty of form and the expression of emotion’ (Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd ed.). Emotional reactions to music have fascinated people since Ancient Greece (Budd, 1985), though it is only recently that researchers have made progress in understanding how such reactions come about (Juslin & Västfjäll, 2008). It turns out that our reactions to music tell us a story about who we are – both as individuals (e.g., in terms of our memories, preferences, and personalities) and as a species (e.g., in terms of our innate human disposition to use sounds as sources of information in our inferences about future events, potential danger and affective states of other individuals). Although music arouses positive emotions more frequently than negative emotions (Juslin et al., 2008), music does arouse some negative emotions such as sadness and irritation quite frequently. If we consider sounds more generally, it is even more common that sounds are a cause of negative emotions and stress (Västfjäll, in press).” It is noteworthy that sounds in general are a cause of negative emotions and stress. Does music matter? Why not?

 
Music affects us in many ways. Patrik Juslin continues to say, “A review of the literature reveals that a number of different brain regions have been implicated in studies of emotional reactions to music, including the thalamus, cerebellum, hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, midbrain, insula, Broca’s area, nucleus accumbens, visual cortex, and supplementary motor areas. . . .” Thus, if someone considers music to be neutral, he is too naïve. A lady who experimented on plants by using different music published the results in a small booklet under the title of The Sound of Music and Plants in 1973. It was not a scientific book, but one interesting result was that her plants responded to different types of music differently. I found an interesting article about David Merrell’s experiment with mice using different styles of music. His stories are cited in many places, and I tried to trace down the real source. The nearest source I could find was a report in the Schiller Institute website. The website had a page under the heading of “Symposium, Feb. 7, 1998, Washington, DC, Committee for Excellence in Education Through Music.” A symposium, “Towards a New Renaissance Through Classical Education,” was sponsored by the Committee for Excellence in Education Through Music and the Schiller Institute.
There was a presentation by David Merrell on the effects of rock music versus classical music on laboratory mice. David Merrell carried out the experiment over two years, and his hypothesis was that music will have an effect on the learning abilities of white male mice: classical music will have a positive effect, whereas rock music will have a negative effect. He divided white male mice into three groups: (1) hard rock group, (2) classical music group, and (3) control group with no music. They were run through a fixed maze over four weeks. This is what he said: “But the interesting thing about the first year I did this project . . . is that I actually had to cut it short, because the heavy metal music had made these mice, who can’t understand words, just the sounds alone had made them so violent, that, within three weeks, there was only one mouse left in the rock group. It was rather interesting, because the mice, they just-- they seemed to be so discontent, one with another, and they would separate themselves from the other mice. And then, they’d just turn around, and kill one of the other mice. Whereas, the Classical mice and the Control mice, they were perfectly fine with one another. They didn’t have any problems whatsoever. It was interesting.” He found some flaws from his first experiment, so he did it again with 72 test subjects (mice) in the second year. “He put the mice into separate five-gallon aquariums, thus eliminating the possibility of subject destruction. He gave each mouse the same amount of food, light, and water: They received 12 hours of light; and the music was kept at ten hours a day, at 70 decibels . . . . He then divided the 72 mice into three different groups. The Control group listened to no music, thus simulating the normal environment of a growing mouse. . . . The Classical group listened to Mozart . . . [because] it seemed like Mozart was used the most in other studies done with music. He continued the use of the Anthrax CD for the third study group.” I am not going to quote the whole report, but the conclusion should be known. “Aside from the facts which I have been able to show you today, I can say, from my own view and my own opinion, from observing the mice, that it [music] seemed not only to affect their ability to learn, but their ability to cope, one with another.’ . . . the Classical and the Control [groups] . . . . They were fine with one another. However, when I put the Hard Rock mice in there, within an hour, they had just begun fighting so severely, that I had to separate all the mice. . . . So I gave them about a week, just to calm down and settle down. I actually played a little Classical music to them, to see if it would reverse the effects.’ Even a week later . . . the Hard Rock group was still fighting . . . . [David said,] It’s too bad that it’s not a subject that is widely publicized, as widely as it should be, because I found multiple areas of research, which are extremely significant, whether it’s how great the effects of Classical music are on pre-schoolers learning their ABCs, or whether it’s just the bad morals in the hard rock music. Something very interesting is that these mice could not understand the lyrics, but the music alone was bad enough, much less the lyrics, which the people are subjected to, but the mice weren’t. And, that’s something that I think is pretty significant as well.” If you want to read the whole report, you may visit the following website:
 
http://www.schillerinstitute.org/programs/program_symp_2_7_98_tchor_.html.
 
What I want to tell you about praise in terms of music or styles of music is that music really matters to our worship. Music affects our mind and even behaviours. If you are interested in this, once in a while you may want to read some articles from journals such as Psychology of Music. It is not a Christian journal, but it offers some practical observations about the influence of music on our minds and behaviours. Does our church music matter to us? Yes, it does. I’ll continue to write on worship next week.
 
Lovingly,
Your Pastor (Ps Ki)
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Lucas Yiew.
*RPGs & Duty rosters are available on the literature table. Please take a copy.
*Daily Manna for Jul-Sep QTR available. Please see Elder Lee for a copy.
*Hospitality Roster for Pr Hai Seng Lim is on the notice board. Please put your name down to fellowship with him.  
*Those who can help to provide snacks or food for VBS, please contact Sis Peng Ha Yeo.
*Please note: Date for ACM & Session Election has been put forward 1 week. All members are expected to attend.
 
Looking Ahead
*Vacation Bible School, 12-16 July.
*ACM & Session Election, Sat 28 Aug.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Syd); Bro Yick Ho Lam & Sis Shannen Seow (S’pore);& others who have travelled.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies, protection & guidance.
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao, Len & Richard Pearson, Moses Tan (S’pore), & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. God’s guidance & help for Bro Richard (Melb) & Sis Yee Min Tee (S’pore); & Sis Mag Yu (S’pore).
3. Healing & health - Bro Winston Selvanayagam
4. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry, Life University; Pr Zhang & ministry (Sihanoukville).
5. Laos Missions - Bro Surish & ministry (Vientiane).
6. Bro Richie & Sis Myra Hornung - Missions work (Mindanao)
7. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry in Adelaide (July).
8. IBPFM (USA) - Board, missionaries & funds.
9. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond).
10. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
11. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
12. Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren; Pr Hai Seng Lim (Melb/Adl); Bro Joseph & Sis Chrisanthi Selvanayagam & family (Adl); Bro Norman Chia (S’pore); Sis Cindy Chan (Adl); & all others who are travelling.
13. ACM & 6th Session Election on Sat, 21 August.
14. Job - Sisters Xandrea Cai, Judy Li, Corinne Teng & Mag Yu (S’pore).
15. Final stage of Pregnancy - Mrs Sonya Rand (London) - safe delivery. EDC: 9 July.
16. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Demelza Ting. 
17. VBS - for Pr Hai Seng Lim, organizers, helpers & children.
18. B-P Churches - for unity of doctrine & fellowship.
19. God’s protection & peace in Israel.
20. School & Uni students sitting for their exams - for strength and stamina.
21. Believers suffering persecution in Islamic & Communist countries.
 

 

 

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