A year ago, I had the opportunity attend E.F.Y. (Especially for Youth), which is an amazing program focused on youth ages 14-18 years old. This week-long experience changed my life for the better! One class that I will never forget was about how music can be a negative or positive influence on people’s attitudes. The instructor started the class by playing a piece of music that had a beautiful arrangement of the piano, the violin, and the flute. I instantly felt peaceful, happy, and relaxed. I could feel God’s spirit enter the room. The instructor then changed the song and played a completely different piece of music that was a loud, hip hop style that made me feel uncomfortable because the song had a bad message in it. The feeling in the room instantly changed, and I wanted to plug my ears and walk out. The spirit was gone, and the peaceful feeling was gone. Does music affect the way we think and feel? Absolutely! Our entire class just experienced the difference between the two songs and how they each had their own impact on the way we felt.
Since that experience at E.F.Y. I have tried to pay better attention to the type of music I listen to, and what other people listen to, and I have found that people reflect the same attitude as the music they are listening to. Try the experiment on yourself. Next time you are in your car and you find yourself singing along with the song on the radio – pay attention to the lyrics and how you feel. What do you notice? Studies about how music makes us feel even helps businesses have happier customers. Pay attention to the music that is played in grocery stores, or when you visit Disneyland. The music they play is to help you FEEL relaxed, and happy. Pay attention to how you feel the next time you attend church or the temple and how music was involved in inviting the Spirit of the Lord.
The For the Strength of Youth says, “Music can enrich your life. It can edify and inspire you and help you draw closer to Heavenly Father. Music has a profound effect on your mind, spirit, and behavior. Choose carefully the music you listen to. Pay attention to how you feel when you are listening. Some music can carry evil and destructive messages. Do not listen to music that encourages immorality or glorifies violence through its lyrics, beat, or intensity. Do not listen to music that uses vulgar or offensive language or promotes evil practices. Such music can dull your spiritual sensitivity.”
It also counsels, “When listening to music, be courteous to those around you. Keep your music at a reasonable volume, and remove your earphones when others are talking to you or want you to be part of their activities. Remember that the Spirit speaks with a still, small voice. If you listen to music constantly, you may not have the quiet time you need for thinking, feeling, and receiving spiritual guidance.”
We do need to be careful about the music we choose to listen to, because the spirit WILL leave the room! I want to choose uplifting music that will invite the spirit into my life!