One interesting phenomenon I experienced while teaching secondary students was how easily they could sing the latest songs on the charts, word for word, especially if there was a catchy tune.
Yet they had trouble memorizing definitions in physics or genetics.
So in a stroke of brilliance I thought I would capitalize on this. I suggested they put the definitions or physics facts to a current tune they knew well in order to help them remember.
Imagine the blow to my ego when I found heaps of Youtube clips by people (such as Mr Parr) who had the same idea! Not to be deterred, I played some of these clips to the students and many of them actually took it on board. We had fun anyway and I'm sure some learning happened along the way.
Music seems to be integral to the core of our being as humans. It's not surprising considering we are made in the image of a creative God and music is one of our expressions of being.
The Bible is full of exhortations to "make a joyful noise", to use instruments and lift our voices in worship.
It can also soothe our troubled psyche: when Saul was troubled by an evil spirit, he sent for David to play the harp, "then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him" (See 1 Samuel Chapter 16, verses 14 – 23).
It is becoming established that people suffering from dementia and other mental illnesses are responsive to music in ways unlike to any other stimuli.
When the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were occupied and repressed by the Soviets, music was one key to their retaining their identity and emerging as independent nations in the revolution of 1991. No matter how hard the Soviets tried, they could not suppress the Baltic national identities.
The Singing Revolution actually started in 1987 as a non-violent response to Soviet occupation. Folk songs and dances kept their spirits alive throughout the lands, culminating in the barricades which prevented the Soviets from taking control and resulted with these nations breaking away from the Soviet Union.
Music and songs
The music and songs of a nation are so intertwined with its culture – think how easy it is to pick tunes from Ireland, or South America, or Japan. Every nation sings – even good old Oz!.
Therefore I was extremely encouraged with the scenes of Indonesian people taking to the streets en masse after the terrorist attack in Jakarta in January 2016. They were singing "We are not afraid" in defiance of the terror wrought upon them by ISIS.
This has shades of the protest songs against the Vietnam War in the 1970s ("We shall overcome" etc)
My challenge to us as a global village is this: will someone compose a song with a stirring tune and a simple lyric that can be used worldwide in resistance to terror?
Obviously this will not solve the issue of terror, it may not even have any impact upon the perpetrators of terror, though one would hope there might be some effect. But it will unite people to stay strong, not lose heart and retain the value for life that we hold dear.
So someone write a song
Doesn't have to be long
To help us all stay strong
In the face of all that's wrong.
Aira Chilcott B.Sc (Hons), M. Contemp Sci, Cert IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Cert IV in Training and Evaluation, Grad Dip Ed., began her working life at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, investigating characteristics of cancer cells. Turning to teaching in the Christian school system provided opportunities to learn theology, more science, mission trips and explore the outdoors through bushwalking and other exploits. Now retired, Aira is a panelist for Young Writers and volunteers at a nature park. Aira is married to Bill and they have three adult sons.
Aira Chilcott's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aira-chilcott.html