Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?
How the music can free her whenever it starts
And it’s magic if the music is groovy
It makes you feel happy like an old-time movie
I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul
But it’s like trying to tell a stranger ’bout a rock ‘n’ roll

If you believe in magic, don’t bother to choose
If it’s jug band music or rhythm and blues
Just go and listen, it’ll start with a smile
That won’t wipe off your face no matter how hard you try
Your feet start tapping, and you can’t seem to find
How you got there, so just blow your mind

If you believe in magic, come along with me
We’ll dance until morning ’til there’s just you and me
And maybe if the music is right
I’ll meet you tomorrow sorta late at night
And we’ll go dancing baby, then you’ll see
How the magic’s in the music, and the music’s in me

Yeah, do you believe in magic?
Yeah, believe in the magic of a young girl’s soul
Believe in the magic of a rock ‘n’ roll
Believe in the magic that can set you free
Ahh, talking ’bout magic

Do you believe in magic?
(Do you believe like I believe?) Do you believe, believer?
(Do you believe like I believe?)
Do you believe in magic?
(Do you believe like I believe?)
Do you believe in magic?

– “Do You Believe in Magic?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful

I’m of the opinion that this is one of the happiest oldies there is. I would venture to guess that anyone who doesn’t “believe in magic” (the magic of music, that is) will start believing post haste once they listen to this heartwarming classic. [In case there’s any question, no I am not in support of singles meeting late at night and dancing into the wee hours of morning – but hey, it’s a great idea for married couples! These song lyrics are quite wholesome within the innocent and appropriate context of marriage.]

I’ll put to you the same question that The Lovin’ Spoonful put before their audience:

Do you believe, believer? Do you believe in magic?

There is certainly a “magical” element to music. Music is powerful – it has the power to evoke strong feelings in the listener. Feelings of joy, feelings of sorrow…feelings of motivation, feelings of lethargy…feelings of goodwill, feelings of angst…and the list goes on. The world is full of songs:

Christian songs. Worldly songs. Romance songs. Breakup songs. Songs for a friend. Songs for an enemy. Songs about Heaven. Songs about Hell. Songs about cats. Songs about dogs. Wedding songs. Funeral songs. Happy songs. Sad songs. Songs about sports cars. Songs about pickup trucks. Songs with meaningful lyrics. Songs with nonsensical lyrics. Fast songs. Slow songs. I can go on all night, but I think you get the point. You’d be hard pressed to find any style or subject that hasn’t been utilized by an artist in the music industry.

Considering how affecting music can be on the soul (both melodically and lyrically), we would do well to take account of what kind of musical content we consume. Today, I want us to realize two spellbinding facts about The Magic of Music. First, we should know that there is…

Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, / To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

– William Congreve, The Mourning Bride (1697)

The melody of a song can have a mighty influence over our emotions…for better or worse.

If you’ve ever been in one of these situations, you were likely being influenced by the magic in the melody. A song’s melody can greatly affect our mood. With that being said, doesn’t it stand to reason that the melody we choose should be aligned with the mood we choose? If I want to turn my frown upside down, listening to some cheery music just might do the trick. If I want to embrace a reflective mood, listening to some somber music may help me to do so. Music can be a tool to help us pursue the right feelings when we need a push in one direction or another. There is a time for all kinds of melodies, because there is…

A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

Happy songs are not inherently superior to sad songs, or vice versa…rather, each style has its place. Melodies, in and of themselves, can be neither good nor bad. But sometimes, a melody that’s appropriate at one time, may not be appropriate at another time (i.e. Playing the celebratory “Pomp and Circumstance” is uplifting at a graduation, but would be grossly out of place at a funeral.) Or sometimes, a melody that’s appropriate for one person, may not be appropriate for another (i.e. A happy-go-lucky person may benefit from listening to a heart wrenching song every now and again in order to expand their empathy and emotional depth, but a person who battles depression indulging in such would most likely only be taking a downward spiral emotionally.) We can use melodies to help us light up the right neural pathways in our brains, whether the moment calls for grief or glee. Sow seeds of melancholy music to reap a melancholy mood, and sow seeds of merry music to reap a merry mood – a time for everything, and everything in its time.

Consider how David used the magic in the melody to elevate Saul’s moods:

Now the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrified him. Saul’s servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrifying you. May our lord now command your servants who are before you. Have them search for a man who is a skillful musician on the harp; and it shall come about whenever the evil spirit from God is upon you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will become well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Now select for me a man who can play well, and bring him to me.”

…So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would feel relieved and become well, and the evil spirit would leave him. – 1 Samuel 16:14-17,23

David’s music made Saul 1.) feel relieved, 2.) become well, and 3.) be left alone by the evil spirit that terrified him. Now that’s some kind of magic in the melody! Unfortunately, music’s power only goes so far. It can help us change our mood, but it cannot make us change our mind. Ultimately, Saul’s jealousy and hatred consumed him to the point that he tried to murder David on more than one occasion even while the harp was being played. (1 Samuel 18:10-11, 19:9-10) Saul was on the right track with his positive musical selections, but he needed to do the positive inner work also. May we learn from his mistake, and better both our moods and our minds – using music as a tool to help us reach our destination.

Do you believe in magic? There is indeed magic in the melody. You should also know that there is…

Music is a part of us, and either ennobles or degrades our behavior.

– Boethius, De Institutione Musica (6th C. A.D.)

The message of a song can have a mighty influence over our thoughts…for better or worse.

If you’ve ever been in one of these situations, you were likely being influenced by the magic in the message. A song usually hooks us with an entrancing melody, and then traps us with an engaging message. Musical artists can use this technique for good or evil. A catchy song will have you memorizing every word…and those words can be anywhere from the books of the Bible to words about drunkenness, drug addiction, or illicit sex. We have to be careful what we allow into our minds, because once a message has been cemented, it’s hard to remove. The songs we indulge in not only get stuck in our brains, but also get sunk in our hearts. I suspect Moses had a grasp on this idea when he shared his “favorite song”:

The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation… – Exodus 15:2a

Songs get in us and become a part of us. This is one reason why God directs us to sing in worship…it not only exonerates Him, but it writes the message into our own heart and the hearts of others.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

I encourage you to take stock of your music list and reject songs that don’t align with Christian virtues and values. Not only does listening to ungodly music line the pockets of degenerate musical artists, but it will slowly chip away at your moral integrity until your conscience is seared with a hot iron. No catchy song is worth that kind of trade-off.

For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul? – Matthew 16:26

Not music, surely. My soul over my songs all day, every day!

It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:5

If we choose to “listen to the song of fools”, we become fools ourselves. As wrong as it is to participate in sin, let us not forget that to approve of sin is wrong as well. (Romans 1:28-32) We may not be women who lie, steal, drink, do drugs, fornicate, commit adultery, etc. – but if we jam out to songs that boast of such, we are in essence saying, “I approve this message”. While melodies cannot be inherently good or bad, a message certainly can be. Pay heed to the manner of lyrics you stream into your noggin!

Do you believe in magic? There is indeed magic in the message.

In conclusion…

Do you believe, believer? (Do you believe like I believe?) Do you believe in magic?

When it comes to our musical selections, we must remember The Magic of Music. There is magic in the melody, and there is magic in the message. May each of us be careful to choose songs that make us pleased to say, “the magic’s in the music, and the music’s in me!” For, as the great musician once said:

All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.

– Johann Sebastian Bach

For God’s glory,
Mrs. Dustin Bolks

Chaste Bolks is a church of Christ preacher’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.