Valerie Steimle is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”). She has been writing as a family advocate for the past 20 years. She is the mother of nine children living in southern Alabama and is the author of four books and a weekly newspaper column, Thoughts from the Heart.

How many times have you come home from a rough day or a trip out of town and collapsed on the couch to recover?  You stay put for a while and your body wants to unwind but something is missing.  The thought comes to you that listening to your favorite music will do the trick and you push the play button of something you love to hear, sit back down on the couch and begin to relax. Family members will respond to a hard day of school and work when soothing music is played at home.

Mormon Tabernacle ChoirChallenges are in everyone’s life yet music makes a difference.  Music does a lot for your spirit whether for good or evil.  It has a remarkable effect on people without them ever knowing.  I love the remarks of Dr. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist in New York City who wrote “Awakenings.” From an article written in the Parade Magazine, March 31, 2002, (“When Music Heals Body and Soul”), Dr.  Sacks said he knew what effects music had in a person’s life but didn’t feel the need to listen to music until he fell and damaged the nerves and muscles of one leg. As he lay in the hospital, he couldn’t get any music on the radio so a friend brought him a tape recorder and tape of his favorite music.  That music helped him find his rhythm in walking on that leg and he credits his fast healing to the music he listened to.  It is truly amazing what soothing, inspirational music can do.

Whether the supermarket, department store, or church, great pains are taken to find music enjoyable to everyone’s ears.  As I stroll through the mall, some stores play the lousiest, most obnoxious music; I don’t even want to go into the store.  It’s usually the kind of store where teenagers shop. Supermarket music on the other hand is usually soothing and is so much a part of the background, I don’t usually notice.

Music plays a big part in setting the mood for movies, plays, funerals, or weddings.  What would Christmas or Hanukkah be like without any music?  Summer camp wouldn’t be the same without any singing. My sympathy with the deaf is magnified when I think about all the wonderful music they are missing.  Personally, I sometimes communicate my feelings better in terms of a song rather than just talking.  Words and music to a song can communicate much more than I can say.  Some movies and even TV commercials have brought me to tears by the emotion of the music. There is something about a great piece of music that fills the despairing soul.  Music can lift your spirits when you are down.  At times when we were in a dancing mood at home, I would put on energetic music and dance around the house with my family.  According to Connie Tomaino, Director of the Institute of Music and Neurologic Function, “The best music to listen to when you’re feeling stressed is music that consistently gives you pleasure.”

Playing music for children is also effective in getting them to do chores or use their energies in a positive way.  Play energetic music and children start to dance.  They have a natural rhythm with music.  Remember Mary Poppins?  Just ask any grade school teacher the effects of singing and music in the classroom.  They know how it helps to calm and motivate children to learn better.

Music affects everyone differently.  What grates upon the nerves of some might be calming to others. What is offensive to some is not to others.  Religious music is very inspiring to many which cross over religious beliefs and ideals. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I know how the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has helped uplift and give solace to many people. This year the world renowned opera singer Nathan Gunn and actress Jane Seymour sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in their annual Christmas Concert in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City, December 18th.  Great accolades came from both guest singers about the wonderful spirit felt during the Christmas concert and how this was a great opportunity to share the music of the season with others.

From the First Presidency of the Church in Salt Lake City back in 1985, President Spencer W. Kimball, prophet of the church and his counselors Marion G. Romney and Gordon B. Hinckley wrote these words on the preface of the church’s hymnbook: “Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel.  Latter-Day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music.”

There are so many sources for music besides CD’s, radio or television.  I listen to Pandora.com which is based on the Music Genome Project. This organization is the most sophisticated taxonomy of musical information ever collected. For over eight years this Music Genome Project had a team of musicologists researching the effects of music on each individual. They believe that everyone has their own unique relationship with music.  I set up my account online and then picked exactly what music I liked to listen to while using my computer.  It’s like having your own personal radio station right online.

The internet has broadened everyone’s horizons of music on “Youtube”, “Jango”, “Grooveshark” and many other websites promoting the opportunity to listen to any kind of music available much of which will help all families to feel uplifted and closer to their Father in Heaven.

Music is much a part of our lives, from the grocery store to church; it will always be here.  Dick Clark said it perfectly: “Music is the sound track of your life.”  So the next time your family is feeling glum, argumentative or not in the mood to do anything, play some happy, uplifting, energetic music and watch the mood change.

“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” — President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111

Lyrics from the Mormon hymn, The Spirit of God:

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And angels are coming to visit the earth.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

The Lord is extending the Saints’ understanding,
Restoring their judges and all as at first.
The knowledge and power of God are expanding;
The veil o’er the earth is beginning to burst.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

We’ll call in our solemn assemblies in spirit,
To spread forth the kingdom of heaven abroad,
That we through our faith may begin to inherit
The visions and blessings and glories of God.
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

How blessed the day when the lamb and the lion
Shall lie down together without any ire,
And Ephraim be crowned with his blessing in Zion,
As Jesus descends with his chariot of fire!
We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven,
Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb!
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

Additional Resources:

Interview with Jane Seymour and Nathan Gunn on their participation in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.

Music is very much a part of services and lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  (inadvertently called “The Mormon Church.”  Learn more at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Request a free copy today.

Attend a local Mormon Church meetinghouse.

Valerie’s website: Strengthen Your Home.

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