< Articles & Quotes >

Quotes of Music’s Influence on Character & Behavior
Compiled by W. Herbert Klopfer

Good music may have the power to prevent crime because it induces moods and states of mind which, according to authorities on the subject, are incompatible with crime. At a minimum, therefore, hearing good music should be included in the daily routine of a child's life.

"Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is educated, graceful, or of him who is rightly ill-educated, ungraceful..." (Plato in Republic).

"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sound,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils,
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
and his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted."
William Shakespeare

"Music is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind and spirit of man"   William F. Gladstone

"Teach your boy to blow a horn, and he will never blow a safe"  Slogan by Conn Music Company

Surveys of large prisons revealed that only four of eleven penal institutions had any musically educated inmates at all. In the prison with the highest number of musicians, only nineteen of almost 2500 inmates (less than one percent) knew anything whatsoever about music.

The bandmaster of the Southern Illinois Penitentiary believes that trained musicians do not commit crimes. He had trained prisoners without previous musical knowledge to play in the prison band, and they managed to stay out of trouble after they were released.

In the first fifty years of existence of the Music School Settlement (located in the heart of New York City’s east side district), not one of the 30,000 children enrolled in its music studies has ever come before a juvenile court for delinquency.

"People should have hymns as well as the Bible so that they cannot only read God’s word, but they can also speak to him in song." Martin Luther, Improvement Era, May 1957, p. 346

"Many a missionary robs himself of strength and power and ability to accomplish good, and to make friends, by not knowing how to sing . . . The singing of the songs of Zion, though imperfectly, with the inspiration of God, will touch the hearts of the honest more effectively than if sung well without the Spirit of God. Sing with the Spirit of God. Love the words that you sing."  Improvement Era, 4:686; also compiled by G. Homer Durham in Gospel Standards, Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Heber J. Grant, p. 170).

"As scriptures are to great literature, so are the hymns to great music."  LaVonne Van Orden

The "devil . . . is known to have a bad ear for good music, and a good ear for bad music."  Times and Seasons, 15 Jan. 1842, p. 664

"Music creates atmosphere. Atmosphere creates environment.  Environment influences behavior."
Richard Nibley, Ensign, December 1971, p. 53

Music has a powerful influence on the behavior of God’s creations, even that of plants and animals. Brigham Young stated that "sweet music will actually tame the most malicious and venomous beasts, even when they have been stirred up to violent wrath, and make them docile and harmless as lambs"  Journal of Discourses, p. 48.