Have you ever thought about how music defines us as humans? If music bubbles up from the very core of us, what tunes would you create: happy, sad, angry, discordant?
This weekend, I watched a History Channel special: “Beatles Go On Record.” As I listened to the progression of music the Beatles made together over the years, I experienced emotional flash-backs to my youth.
My first Beatles’ memory begins with the song “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” when I was in second grade. On one occasion when my relatives came to town for a visit, my cousin and I hid ourselves in my bedroom listening to records. We put on the Beatles and started dancing — think Twist.
Note: To put this story in context, you should know that Baptists aren’t terribly fond of dancing. My grandpa and uncle were Baptist preachers, and my Daddy was a Baptist Minister for Music and Youth. (My youngest uncle Phil, only eight years older than me, is now a Baptist missionary in Zambia.)
Back to the story: While my cousin and I danced and sang in my room, the door burst open. My uncle looked apoplectic as he surveyed the scene before him: my cousin shimmering and shaking to “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Where was I, you may wonder? BeHIND the door…unseen. Needless to say, things didn’t go well for my cousin that night.
Yes, the Beatles framed my experiences growing up. But they aren’t my only musical influences. Home itself was a musical experience. As kids, we wrote and performed musicals for the adults at family gatherings. I always wanted to grow up and become the Von Trapp Family singers. Between all the cousins, we had just enough bodies to perform.
When I was in junior high, Daddy created a musical group called Sound 70. We performed across the state of Texas in churches, festivals, and even on a flatbed trailer-turned-stage with vocal singers, a Jesus Rock Band called Liberation Suite, drama, and bell ringers.
Rock music defines my generation. Classic Vinyl on XM radio lets me sing along with the Doors, Eric Clapton, The Who, Led Zepplin, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. You name it, they play it. Great for driving in traffic. But Christian Rock/Alternative music is still my preference — Switchfoot, Sanctus Real, Relient K, Hawk Nelson, TobyMac, Remedy Drive, Jars of Clay, Skillet, Barlow Girl, NeedToBreathe, The Afters, Lifehouse, and more.
Music comes from deep down within the heart and soul.
Sometimes the music flows from pain. I was deeply moved this weekend by the story of Sanctus Real lead singer Matt Hammit and his little son Bowen, who was born with a broken heart — literally. ABC World News ran the story. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Tiny Bowen was born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 0n September 9.
Matt wrote the song, All of Me, based on his family’s experience.
Music flows out of joy and pain, faith and frustration. I’m thankful for artists who share themselves through music, so that I can find myself inside what they create.
When you drill down really deep, what flows out of you?
What is YOUR heartsong?