Guest article: What’s in the music?

Hello, my name is Christopher Dryden, I am the brother of David Dryden and I regularly blog over here and not as regularly over here.

A few years ago I asked my brother to post a guest entry on my blog, which he did and it was a phenomenal job. At this time of year as we acknowledge the end of another cycle it was appropriate to ask him to write a guest entry for me again. In return he invited me to return the favour and so here I am taking up some space.

What I briefly want to talk about, then, is the importance of music. Yes, that’s right: music.

Growing up, music was very important to David and I. Attending church as regularly as we did opened us to the activity of singing. More importantly at home particularly Mum would have music on constantly. We would visit some of her friends’ homes and again we would be exposed to different artists and styles of music. I never knew what I was listening to until I was a lot older.

From the singing there eventually was introduced the instruments. Our parents weren’t notably talented musicians; Dad knew some of his way around an acoustic guitar, but not enough to confidently play at church. Mum knew her way around a tambourine and that was about it. So it was surprising that all three of their children (for we have an older sister) took to musical instruments pretty quickly.

Of the three of us, however, it was David who had the most natural aptitude for instruments quickly becoming a multi-instrumentalist of a more than competent quality. Aligned with that was a creative outlet enabling him to put thoughts and emotions to words and music creating soundscapes that transported the listener not only through his thinking but theirs also.

It is here that I want to celebrate the beauty of music. In a way that reading text and watching visual experiences cannot capture there is something in music that reaches the intangible part of us. It’s intriguing seeing the role music had on old King Saul. For his mental and spiritual distress, there was something about the right sounds reaching his ears that would soothe him.

To this day, in as much as I am not as conflicted as the old King, I recognise there is a soothing capacity in music. There is an energising ability in it as well. There is something too about connecting with lyrics in the context of the musical meal provided that allows those truths (or lies) to be digested a lot easier.

It’s important as well to consider the effect of music in reinforcing certain approaches and mind-sets. I don’t believe in harmless or neutral music any more than I believe in neutral philosophies. What passed for pop music back in the day (the late 80’s and 90’s) actually was part of a social and cultural malaise that took relationships cheaply and lightly. That’s hardly neutral and harmless.

There is much to celebrate in music, however. It can be used for a great source of good. As a teaching tool it is brilliant to see children grasp truths by the melody and rhythm in the music. As an adult, likewise, it is a delight to reaffirm truths of the world in which we live in the glorious expression of the song and music.

It’s something worth taking great joy in.

Thanks for your time. Enjoy the rest of my brother’s blog.

C. L. J. Dryden



  1. Pat

    Hi David and Christopher,

    Thanks Christopher; I really enjoyed reading that.

    One of the most painful aspects of leaving Christianity has been the lack of praise and worship in my life. There’s nothing quite like being part of a group singing to and/or about God.

    As you said, music can be energizing and/or soothing and I still sing to myself some of the beautiful old hymns, like ‘Abide With Me.’ I try to remember the ones that only worship ‘God’ alone, the ones that seem quite neutral; but l do sometimes find myself singing words I no longer believe.

    I still very much miss the ‘gathering together’ aspect of going to church; and, of course, the music……

    • I so much know what you’re talking about. Me, I played my instruments in a church. I love music. Yet churches are what I know. Plus my wife is christian. And I can understand the loss of the gathering and the music, the way it can make one feel to belong and to feel the music.

      All we can do is our best, realise where we are now and find the blessings that God has given now. There is a reason why xtianity is successful. It finds those part of us most precious and vulnerable and uses them to trap us. It takes a lot to pull away. But it’s possible.

      • Pat

        It’s reassuring that you know what I mean. Your words support and encourage me. Thank you so much.

      • You have no idea how good you’ve been to me with your comments. In the end we can only support each other while our ships pass each other, right? God bless you too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: