The Joy of Music
In recent years, researchers have begun to confirm scientifically what many have discovered through experience: music makes you feel good! “Music affects deep emotional centers in the brain,” says McGill University neuroscientist Valorie Salimpoor. She and her colleagues found that the brain actually releases dopamine whenever we listen to music we enjoy. “If I asked you to tell me a memory from high school, you would be able to tell me a memory,” says Salimpoor.“ But, if you listened to a piece of music from high school, you would actually feel the emotions.”
Imagine the spiritual implications of these findings. Positive, faith-based music experiences have the potential to make it even more desirable to remain connected to the Church as we grow older. Perhaps God commands His people to “sing and make music” in worship because He wants us to enjoy the experience and stay connected with the Church for years to come!
Contributor Tracy Hanrahan is Coordinator of Special Programs for anima: the forum for the worship and the arts at Samford University, contributor to the Growing in Grace Children’s Music Series from Celebrating Grace, and is a long-time friend of the Dawson Music Academy.