Saturday, September 21, 2019

Music – Words to the Soul

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” Plato

Plato’s words become especially real to me on Saturday morning. It’s my time of reckoning (with myself) after a busy week of trying to hold life together. Good days and bad have bounced back and forth like a volley ball. Then Saturday. Pulling myself away from a normal healthy breakfast, I indulge in a stack of pancakes smothered in real butter and maple syrup, two pieces of bacon, and a pot of green tea. All the while allowing soft mellow music to coax away any grey emotions that have clouded my soul, obscuring God’s presence and purpose in my life. 

Researchers tell us that music has the ability to increase creativity and ideals. As writers, music can be fuel to our words. Where words fail, music speaks, extracting emotions and reflections through harmonic frequencies, whispering thoughts to our senses as we write. 

As music draws out words for the writer, it also expands the experience of film. In the film version of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, we witness Aslan, offering himself as a sacrifice for Edmund’s sin. We watch him being tied to the stone alter, somber music intensifying, digging deep into our hearts, linking us with pain and sorrow as we watch his abuse, and then the final stone knife thrust into Aslan by the evil witch. As morning dawns, we hear the stone altar crack and see Aslan alive. Victorious. Having risen from the dead, the price of sin fully paid, while the resounding music crescendos, announcing his victory. Wefeelthe elation, thus exposing something of ourselves to ourselves.

 Good writing has the potential to awaken that same emotion, but I contend that writing alongside good music intensifies the ability to rip the mask off the writer, burrow truth into our soul, and extract the words that need to be said. Words that breach the armor of even the hardest of hearts.

When listening to music we like, we experience less anxiety and lower cortisol levels than those who take anti-anxiety drugs. The brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes us feel good and reduces anxiety. Thus, music has the power to improve mood which, in turn, can improve our ability to concentrate and capture thoughts . By emptying ourselves of negative emotions, we can focus more clearly on the moment, the message, the experience of creating story.

Not all music is created equal. The music must have a strong emotional impact and not be perverted by the world’s grinding negativity. Music with lyrics reduces our mental performance, while instrumentals boasts creativity. The more voices we hear while working, as in lyrics, the lower our productivity. Good music makes repetitive tasks more pleasurable and helps us be more centered on the task at hand. Certain regions of our brain that evokes emotion and concentration are more active when we listen to music.

My favorites to write by includes film scores from Schindler’s List, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Out of Africa, Chopin’s Symphony in E Minor from the film version of The Secret Garden, Yo Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone, and the film score from The Hours.  

Good music is worship, the soft symphonic sounds permeating deep into our psyche, detoxing and filling us with peace. It is from this place that good writing happens. From a soul that has been on the dark side but is free and able to reflect on our terrible awfulfrom a point of overcomer thus pointing a way out to others. Music creates thoughts from deep in our soul—drawing them out onto the page—into the hearts of our readers. Creating story—pulled from memories of who we are and what we believe. Inspired by music.

Music, Words to the Soul - inspiration from @GannonEmme on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. It sounds as though Saturday mornings are delightful and delicious around your house Ms.Emme. For me, Saturday mornings are when I treat myself to hash and eggs. It's also a more leisurely pace than most mornings; which also makes it a perfect time to reflect on my week. Am glad I'm not the only one who lets music minister to my soul. Instrumentals only. While song, especially worship songs bring joy and closeness with God, instrumentals (partial to bluegrass hymnal instrumentals myself) bring me inspiration to write what my heart feels). God's blessings ma'am.

  2. I was very anxious the other day and listened to music while I got writing chores done. The music had great emotional impact for me and by exercising my emotions in a safe way, I lessened my anxiety.

    1. Music is so relaxing, JPC, and has the ability to lessen anxiety. In the Old Testament, we read where King Saul would have David play his instrument to calm his anxieties. Still works to this day. Blessings and God's peace to you.

  3. I love your Saturday mornings also, J.D. I imagine you also have a lovely view of your cows grazing in the fields and music serenading all. Such a scene of inspiration. Blessings to you also!