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WSJ Talks About Personal Theme Songs


Recently (April 25), the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article (by Elizabeth Bernstein)

about Personal Theme Songs (PTS).



It really caught my attention because being a music hound, I have always processed a lot of life through song lyrics, messages and melodies. If you have looked around my blogsite, (https://www.perilsandpearls.com) you will have seen the Music Page. Sharing music that speaks to me, moves me – and/or my feet – is a vital and intimate part of sharing who I am with you.


When I read this WSJ article, it reinforced some of the power I feel through music that moves me. The author shared some science about the powerful connections we experience when we listen to a beloved song:

Listening to a beloved song can help us manage our emotions and focus on the task at hand. It can also help us access what psychologists call our autobiographical memory, or personal history.

Cognitive Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, who studies how music affects the brain, shared,

It reminds us who we are and helps us stay focused on who we want to be.

Yes, I can feel that when I am immersed in the message of the lyrics to new song by a Christian artist. And when the words of a song are right out of scripture, the power to remind and focus me is even more powerful! Music with spiritual messages help me stay in communion with God throughout my day. And I can't count the number of times He has brought me, or confirmed, a message through song lyrics.


The article went on to share more from neuroscientists about what goes on with our brain when we partake of music we love:

...we experience pleasure in the form of a dopamine release in our brain. And over time, our brain learns to recognize music we enjoy faster and releases the dopamine earlier. (Dr. Susan Rogers)

Even the beat of music has specific effects on the listener: “If its beat is faster than our heartbeat, it can fire us up and make a difficult task feel easier. A more sedate tempo can help slow our heart and respiration rate down.”


So, the Personal Theme Song can change with a different intended affect? Yeah, I can see that. My PTS can change from day to day or week to week; on the other hand, I can stick with the same favorite song for an entire chapter or season of my faith journey. And I’m known to have a Personal Theme Playlist as well- ha!


The final point of the article might be the most significant: Listening to enjoyable music can even give our brain a rest! Sigh, yes, I experience that regularly – even plan for it. Come the end of my ‘workday,’ I am very intentional about what playlist I put on while I transition into the evening, perhaps preparing dinner while I move into a different, slower pace. I assess my mood: Hmm...Is it a Motown or Jazz kind of transition? Do I want familiar music or to listen to some new tracks? I take these choices pretty seriously. Dr. Levitin says,

Listening to music we enjoy is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to activate our “default mode network,” or daydreaming mode—what the brain does when it’s not working or concentrating. This restorative state is essential to our well-being.

Well, all this talk about Personal Theme Songs got me thinking, what is my PTS right now? All I needed to do to answer that was to think of the most-played cut in my Spotify library (of over 5000 songs!). Answer: I Won’t Move. The lyrics are below – and I put the song on my blogsite Music Page so you can listen to a sample.


“I won’t move until You speak” is the theme of where God has me right now in my faith journey. I am so grateful for musical artists’ gifts to help create the soundtracks of our life stories.


I’m wondering...

What’s your current Personal Theme Song? What draws you to it? If I could listen to your PTS, what would I learn about you?

I Won't Move (by Life.Church Worship)


Find me here again In the place we met Where hopelessness meets grace

Quiet all the noise Every whispered lie Put to rest by perfect peace


Even in my doubt I will not forget You are faithful still to me

I won't take a single step 'Til I hear Your voice, I surrender


When my eyes cannot see It's Your voice that's leading me Out of darkness and into light It's Your love, it's breaking through the night I won't move until You speak...


Here I wait for You In the silence now I'm holding on to Your truth

I won't take a single step 'Til I hear Your voice, I surrender


And when my eyes cannot see It's Your voice that's leading me Out of darkness and into light It's Your love, it's breaking through the night I won't move until You speak...


You break the walls apart You heal the wounded heart I won't move until You speak

You calm the raging sea You crush the enemy I won't move until You speak


You break the walls apart You heal the wounded heart You've been there from the start I won't move until You speak

You calm the raging sea You crush the enemy You set the broken free I won't move until You speak


When my eyes cannot see It's Your voice that's leading me Out of darkness and into light It's Your love breaking through the night I won't move until You speak...


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Blessed to play a part ~

g


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