Music is Magic – Use It!

By George E. Moore, P.M, R.S.S. of Celina Lodge #241

As a newly raised Master Mason in 2003, I had the benefit of learning the Blue Lodge “Examinations." I learned from the very well-traveled and Masonically-educated Brother W.B. William C. Adams. He earned many Masonic titles in his life – including being knighted as a Knight of the York Cross of Honour.

During our many hours together at his kitchen table in my Masonic infancy, he shared many valuable bits of wisdom with me. He stressed that everything we do as Masons during our degree work is for the candidate. When he mentioned this, he would often chuckle and add, “That man paid good money for that Degree.”

As Freemasons, we are gifted with a very unique opportunity, throughout our Fraternity, which separates us from all other groups and organizations fiercely competing for the modern man’s precious time.

Our ritual work is comprised of thousands of beautiful small experiences which combine for an unforgettable overall experience. If done well, it can encourage the candidate to make a lifelong commitment to our fraternity. Sometimes this extends to creating multiple generations of Masons, as well.

Unfortunately, some of these beautiful small experiences in our rituals are overlooked by modern Masons for one reason or another. This includes the overlooking of music as part of the Masonic experience.

Think about the power of music in one’s own life. A song can instantly set the mood for a moment, take a person on a trip down memory lane, and even touch the most tender chords of human existence.

Now, think of how powerful music can be in our Masonic rituals and how much it can add to the candidate’s experience. Read through the rituals all across Freemasonry – music is in there for a reason. Think about how different the Third Degree would be without “Pleyel’s Hymn” being sung at the graveside. Playing a funeral dirge on the march to the grave site, such as Chopin’s “Funeral March”, adds even more to the somber tone of that occasion. Even something as simple as adding quiet background organ music during the circumambulations of a candidate can change the whole ‘tone’ of that portion of the ritual work – pardon the pun.

Many Grand Bodies, in various jurisdictions all across Freemasonry, have music resources available. Sometimes it’s in the form of pre-recorded music but they could possibly even be able to connect you with a Masonic musician who could assist in the performance of the ritual. These Grand Bodies also often permit the use of optional music and songs during ritual work in addition to that which is found in the ritual itself. This is subject to each Grand Body’s laws, rules, and regulations, which must be strictly adhered to at all times.

If you are a member of a Masonic Body that is not fortunate enough to have any musical resources or musicians available do not despair. The internet offers many music options which can meet your Masonic music needs. Virtually any song you would like to use can be found online and downloaded either for free (if in the public domain) or for a small fee. The music can be put into a playlist to be played during the Degree work. If you are unsure how to do this, ask around your Masonic circles. See if there is a Brother who is tech-savvy that can help put it together and provide instruction or perhaps they have a child or grandchild that can help.

In the last few years, I have made it a “Masonic Mission” to make sure that music is a part of Degree work where appropriate. I have been told by many Brothers, Companions, and Sir Knights that the appropriate and timely use of music really enhances the Masonic experience for everyone, particularly the candidate, which should always be our focus.

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