I’m no anthropologist, but by observation I would conclude that music is something at the very heart of man—of what it means to be human. Not only do we listen to songs or even sing along once in a while (when no one’s watching, perhaps?), but our very speech is characterized by distinct rhythms and we walk in tempo to a particular beat. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that music, consciously or not, is a big part of our experience as a species.
It’s also a very effective way to commit things to memory. While we may sometimes consider an “earworm” to be worse than a broken arm, we still use music to teach and to learn. In high school, I once set the Periodic Table to music so that I could reconstruct it on a chemistry exam. In college, I wrote songs to help me remember those names in Numbers and Leviticus for my Jewish History class. Music is a powerful memory aid.
This is why the apostle Paul admonished the Colossians to teach one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. And this is why the Jewish canon includes a songbook, the Psalms. God knows that we need reminding. Those words of poetry, set to music, stick in our brains and inform us throughout the day—like earworms from the Holy Spirit.
That’s something to think about.