Music – Its Position in Christian Ministry

Music is as old as human race. From the earliest days it has been employed in the service of God. There are various types of music, but as far as heaven is concerned, only Gospel music is recognized and that is the subject of this discussion. Gospel music is performed for the express purpose of bringing souls to Christ and establishing them in Christ. The distinctive qualities of Gospel music as compared to other music are that God is the source of the message while Holy Spirit is the communication power.

It is noted that if our music is melodious and loud, well composed, well practiced, and well performed, God will always rejoice with us as we dance vigorously to His name in holy commotion. However, it should be noted that though a song is melodious in our ears, yet it does not mean it is acceptable to the Lord. I mean, it is not all music performed in Gospel ministries today are effectively used by God. The reason for this can be adduced to the weakness of the composer, performer and the message. Most of the so-called Gospel music that abounds nowadays is just a means of achieving secular goals and not sacred ministry. Only performance dedicated to a sacred ministry can be effectively used to honour and edify the kingdom of God. Sacred music ministry does not necessarily require sonorous voice or flamboyant artistic performance, but rather a talented ability to sing or compose meaningful, purposeful, spirit-filled and timely songs.

Music ministry plays an important role in presenting the good news of Christ unto mankind and as such anyone in this ministry must always seek the mind of God and be in constant tune with Holy Spirit to know the circumstances and needs of the people at a particular time. In addition to the general requirements for all ministers, anyone in this ministry must also shun all forms of ungodly self-glorification, artistic performance and flamboyancy. A music minister is as powerful as a Pastor or an evangelist in any ministration. Music itself is a Spirit that has an irresistible force on mankind. No wonder it is always used to open evangelistic fields. Nevertheless, for this ministry to be really effective as a sacred ministry the message, medium and minister must be in constant and perfect tune with God.

When this becomes the case, the music minister would be was led to sing from the heart through inspiration. Inspired songs are filled with Biblical truths and not necessarily with danceable and enjoyable instruments. Taking a good time to pray concerning your ministration will always give you an edge over other ministers who did not prepare themselves before performing. Lastly, every music minister is expected to be a living example of his/her song. Your song should not contradict your lifestyle. As a minister, always try to imbibe all the Godly qualities as outlined in the Bible, for your ministration to be really powerful and thus edify the kingdom of God.

The Role Music Therapists Play In Treating Autistic Children

Music therapists play the role of using the power of music to help their clients overcome various social, behavioral, emotional and physical difficulties. They work with clients of all ages and belonging to all kinds of social and cultural backgrounds. The musical sessions are conducted with the sole aim of establishing an interactive relationship between the therapist and the client in order to achieve various therapeutic goals.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a lifelong developmental disability affecting the ways in which a person communicates or relate to others around them. It has been shown in various medical studies and researches that music therapy can immensely help children with autism. Autistic children and teens are helped by the power of music in a number of ways, such as developing social behaviors and communicative skills, enhancing focus and attention, improving body coordination, reducing stress and anxiety and more.

Let us discuss some of the ways music therapists can help children and teens on the autistic spectrum:

Improve Social Skills: In most cases it is found that autistic children responds extremely well and become more expressive and socially active during musical sessions than during play sessions that are devoid of music. Moreover, an experienced and trained therapist can immensely help in developing social skills in these children by engaging them in various musical activities such as moving to musical tunes, passing and sharing musical instruments, dancing around a particular instrument, composing songs and many more.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Owing to the inability to filter our provoking stimuli, autistic children are more prone to exhibit anxiety-related behaviors. Music therapy has been found to be extremely helpful in easing stress and anxiety in these children.

Develop Communicative Skills: Most children with autism have a problem communicating with people around them. While some of them are non-verbal, some have problems following verbal commands and some fail to understand body languages. Skilled music therapists conduct therapeutic sessions with various musical activities that help these children learn to relate words with actions. These effective musical activities help in establishing a connection between the motor and auditory sections of the brain, thereby developing in them the ability to understand verbal commands.

Music is Enjoyable: It is easier for autistic children to consistently enjoy the musical sessions due to the simple reason that they do not seem like work to them. The children thoroughly enjoy the musical activities without feeling pressurized or forced to take part in them. It is almost impossible to make children keep working at something unless they enjoy it or find happiness in it. Music therapists can make the therapeutic sessions extremely creative, fun-filled and motivating, thereby helping them to stick to the sessions consistently.

In order to help children on the autistic spectrum, it is essential for the therapists to appropriately understand their pathological and personal needs. Before starting the therapy, they must engage in thorough discussions with the family of the child regarding the child’s behavioral patterns, disabilities and requirements. Only then can the therapist plan the right kind of musical sessions for them.

Play Music and Have Fun Doing It

All right, so you are a new piano player and you are tired of playing the same old stuff. You want to be able to sit down at the piano and have some fun. With the skills you have learned in learning to play the piano, you will now be able to play music and have fun doing it.

What type of music genre do you like? Country western, the oldies, today’s pop. Go out and purchase the sheet music for your favorite music and practice it. One reason people become discouraged in playing the piano is that they play the same music time after time. There is no variation, no fun in playing the piano. So pick up a few different types of music, not just one.

By taking that first step in going outside your comfort zone and investing in a different genre of music, you will soon be able to play if you keep at it. Practice the music that you have purchased. Yes, sorry, I said practice. As with trying to do anything well there is always practice involved. After all, can you truly become accomplished at anything without any practice at all?

Once you have given the consistent effort that it takes to practice, you will find that there are many opportunities available to you. Maybe you have dreamed of playing the piano in a piano bar, or maybe it was just playing in front of your friends. Either way, think of the fun you would have, playing the music that makes people happy and being able to actually watch people love the music you play.

If this is something that you would be interested in doing, be prepared. You will first have to know a multitude of music and songs, but definitely don’t let this discourage you. You can play music and have fun too. Just make sure that you are prepared for any type of song requests that come your way.

How much fun could you have playing for family functions? And having your family to be proud of your hard earned accomplishments, to finally be able to do something that you love to do and have fun doing it. Music is able to bring so much happiness to people and being able to be one of the providers of music and having fun doing it can be no more rewarding.

There are so many people out there that would love to be able to play music that they love, especially in the world today, with all the stress and the way the economy is at present. By being able to play music and have fun doing it, you are not only being rewarded, you are helping to relieve built-up tension and stress.

For all of us that had to take piano lessons and complained but kept at it, we really should thank our parents. Little did they know that they would be opening a completely new world to us, a world of music and fun. A world where we can not only play music for ourselves, but also share our ability to play and have fun doing it.

The Benefits of Music and Music Therapy For Children With Special Needs

Music can be a motivating and fun way to teach all children and in particular children who have special learning needs. It is unquestionable that through the medium of music many essential and enabling life skills can be learned and the benefits that playing and learning music can have on a child’s growth and development are immeasurable.

All children have the same need to express themselves and playing a musical instrument can provide an outlet for creative and emotional expression. When we think of music we don’t often think of it as therapy. But it can be.

The playing of good quality percussion instruments during music therapy sessions can be of inestimable value for children who have difficulties in hearing, seeing, moving, thinking or responding; each can experience the music in their own unique way. The music is not the goal of music therapy. Cognitive stimulation, self-expression, self-awareness, or increased motor movements are some of the goals that music therapy can focus on and the music itself is simply a tool to achieve these goals.

Listening to music for enjoyment is very beneficial but active participation is even better. For children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, playing music may be an effective way to stimulate speech development and communication skills, express emotions, develop a sense of rhythm and provide opportunity for physical, cognitive and motor development whilst creating an environment for socialisation and fun.

Every child can be helped to learn to enjoy and to become involved in music to some degree and instruments tuned to a harmonic pentatonic scale which produce a soothing sound straightaway, makes playing them an instantly gratifying experience.

Playing music and music therapy has proven to be a very effective method in dealing with autism and aspergers syndrome. Most children diagnosed with Autism or Asperger’s lack the social skills that enable them to participate fully in play and other social situations. Interestingly, many children with autism show a heightened interest in music. While they may be unable to easily communicate verbally with others, music is an avenue for many autistic people to express themselves and communicate in a non-verbal, non-threatening manner. Playing music puts the individual at ease, allowing for strides in social interactions to follow.

Easy access to musical instruments may provide an outlet that encourages children to use music to deal with emotional issues, especially when they are unable to express them through speech. Where words fail, music may be a medium through which to explore one’s inner world and experiences. Often people with developmental delays and learning disabilities such as Down’s syndrome will respond to music. The easy, non-challenging way in which pentatonic instruments can be played offers opportunities for response and expression to children and adults with such developmental delays.

Musical instruments in the classroom or playground offer blind or partially sighted children the opportunity to explore and musical sound and awareness. Instruments, which are simple to play and enable creative experimentation and tactile exploration, encourage the use of motor skills, thus developing coordination whilst stimulating the imagination.

Music is a tool that is used in pain management and healing for children undergoing medical procedures and as a comfort for those who have suffered a traumatic experience. Music can be a powerful distraction, turning the patient’s attention away from pain and promoting relaxation as well as to help ward off depression, promote movement and ease muscle tension.

The use of music in group therapy has long been advocated and practiced in the music therapy profession, in addition to the purely musical benefits, playing in an ensemble is useful for working on concepts such as cooperation with others, coordination, and a sense of accomplishment. Making music and singing songs together in a group can build a harmonious cooperative spirit of support and encouragement for everyone. Children who experience severe obstacles in forming relationships with other children, adults and their environment can achieve security and joy in making music. Music making involves many of the fundamental elements of social interaction; turn taking, listening and responding to another person can all be augmented in music therapy.

To see, hear and play musical instruments at school or in community programs is an important cultural experience for every child. While music therapy is an important discipline, you can also achieve benefits from making music on your own. Successful projects include sensory or music gardens where musical instruments have been installed outdoors, making them accessible at break times as well as for use with the curriculum. Playgrounds and outdoor spaces should be viewed as therapeutic settings and an outdoor music centre or garden could enhance learning and development for both children with and without special needs.