There is something about setting things to music that helps us to internalize information. When you learned the alphabet as a child, you probably did not just memorize the letters in order. You were most likely taught a catchy song which concluded with “Next time won’t you sing with me!?” Somehow, this little melody helped us all learn our ABC’s at an early age.
Have you ever tried to memorize scripture and been frustrated? On the other hand, have you ever been amazed at how easily you can recall lyrics to songs you haven’t sung in years? Or how about the song or commercial jingle that gets stuck in your head despite your intense efforts to forget it!? There is a reason for all of this.
Scientists have discovered that when we sing, not only do we utilize the part of our brain that controls speech, but also other regions that control pitch & rhythm. By setting words to music, we actually incorporate additional areas of our brain which helps us internalize the information more efficiently.
When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, the bullet wound was affecting her brain near the area that controls speech. It was unclear whether she would be able to speak again. But through music therapy, she was able to start regaining her speech and vocabulary! Check out the article here.
Science has finally come around to explaining something that God’s people have understood and used for thousands of years. Israel’s history was passed down through generations in songs, children used songs to memorize scripture, and the tradition of singing their prayers is still practiced today.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THIS?
Next time God speaks a word to you – make up a song about it! Sing the scriptures – sing your prayers. Write songs about what God has done in your life. Sing about His promises. It doesn’t matter if you think you are a talented singer, or if you “hit the right notes”, because there are no “right” notes! If you sing, you will hit some notes, and you will be activating the rhythm and pitch areas of your brain. This will help you internalize in a way that regular speech could not.
Scientists have also discovered that the brain activity of someone who has a song “stuck” in their head, versus actually listening to that music, is virtually identical. In other words, once you have something internalized, your brain is just as engaged when you are thinking about it as when you are actually hearing it. Imagine being able to engrain the promises of God on our hearts as effectively as those clever commercial jingle writers can get a song stuck in our head. What if the word of God, in song, was written on our hearts so that even thinking about it caused the same brain activity to take place in us as if God was speaking those promises to us directly in that moment.
NOW TURN IT OUTWARDS
Something is released, not only in us, but into the atmosphere and our circumstances when we sing – especially the word of God. In fact, the Hebrew word “Naba” which in the old testament is the word most often translated “to Prophesy” has as part of its definition: to sing holy songs as led by the Holy Spirit, (or) to sing, as seized with a divine impulse. This is what Samuel and his company of prophets were doing with their psaltery, tablets, harps, and pipes in 1 Sam 10:5. It is also the exact same word that God used to command Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. As Ezekiel made his sound… the bones started to make their sound and come alive! As Samuel’s company of prophets made their sound, Saul and his messengers couldn’t help but to prophesy as well! (1Sam 19:20-24) Your prophetic song will be a contagious, life-giving force! So sing over your circumstances, your family, your city or region. Declare the Word of God in song!
While it is encouraging that science is beginning to confirm and partially understand how and why this stuff works, the important part is to know that it does work, and to do it. Heaven and Earth are changed by sound. In fact, they were created by sound!
So, remember that the God who sings over you (Zeph 3:17) is anxiously waiting for you to join in. Release your sound!