writer’s room By STeve SiLer soul notes with steve siler— Director, music For the soul m u s ic ia n s c o r n er i Got your whole Brain right Here… You love music. And you love Jesus. I’m making these assumptions because you wouldn’t be reading this unless you, or someone you know, found this article in CCM. I believe that as people who love Jesus, and who also love God’s glorious gifts of music and song, we’re called to a response. We may be called to the act of personal worship. We may be called to joy. We may be called, through the act of more intentional listening, to re-examine the way we’re living our own lives or to the need for our own spiritual or emotional healing. We may be called to the giving of our own gifts to lead others into a deeper experience of God and God’s life- transforming power. This might mean being a worship music leader or being part of a worship music team, singing in a choir, becoming a performing musician, or a songwriter. This last category might manifest itself in various acts of service. In rare instances it might even manifest itself in a career ministry path. For me the calling has presented itself in all of these ways at various times. I think that is why today I find myself writing this piece. It’s the introduction and opening statement in what I hope will become an ongoing dialogue as we seek to discover what God’s purpose for music, and more specifically Christian songs, may be in the time in which we live. I believe my background, which includes many years writing pop music in Los Angeles and television music for a New York based company before moving to Nashville and embarking on an eleven year stint as a Contemporary Christian music staff writer, gives me a wide-ranging and fairly unique perspective on the topic. Additionally, being the founder and director of Music for the Soul, a ministry bringing the light and hope of Christ through song to people living through life’s darkest, most difficult moments adds another layer of perspective to the discussion. You’ll find I have no shortage of strong opinions. The printed word can be tricky. Sometimes the stories and thoughts expressed in plain black and white with no vocal inflection or facial expression to qualify them can come off as unduly harsh or cynical. Statements meant only to express an opinion or a personal point of view can come off as sounding arrogant. So, consider this the blanket apology for anything you read here, now or in the future, that leaves you wondering, “Who does he think he is?!” Having said that, allow me to express my first strong opinion. Music as represented by the gift of song is God’s greatest gift of communication. Why? There is actually a biological reason. Language is processed primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain. Melody is processed primarily on the right. So, if I want your total attention to convey a message to you, my best bet is to sing it! Advertisers have known this for years—that’s why they sing to you about everything from gum to toilet bowl cleaner. Secondly, music is a memory device. Studies have shown that people remember more of what they read than what they are told and more of what they hear in music than what they read. Why do you think we teach the ABCs with a song? My guess is you couldn’t forget that melody if your life depended on it. So, with a song I’ve got your whole brain and a better chance that you’ll remember whatever I sing to you. This has massive ramifications for us as people who wish to share the Gospel. Let me leave you with a quote until next time from someone who is even smarter than I am. “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good, just and beautiful.” – Plato 50 CCM 50 CCM