Music. What can I possibly say about music and the way that it heals me. Let me preface by saying: I AM NOT A MUSICIAN. Nope. Or a singer. Not in any way. I played the clarinet in the 7th and 8th grade band and, let’s just things I’ve found things I’m better at. I was always at least last chair. Sometimes 23rd or 24th. There were only 25 of us. I eventually cut my losses and found something that I was better at. In this case, cheerleading…I later got the superlative Most School Spirit. I was a yeller.
Music and Me
I digress. I am not a musician. I wish. Shower singing is the gist of my abilities. But I cannot stress enough how much I love melodies and drum beats and lyrical poetry. I met someone a couple of years ago who didn’t like music. I’d never met such a person in my entire life. They just didn’t like it. They had a *super* niche genre that they liked and that was all they listened to and even that, rarely. It was such a strange idea to me. To each his own, but I just really can’t imagine life without a vast array of it.
My musical tastes are eclectic, to say the least; my playlists often all over the place. I don’t find new tunes very often, only because it’s so easy to access whatever you want right now that I don’t explore often. But when I do, I am always reminded why I love music. Today, I was getting distracted by my playlist while trying to write, so I decided to find a laid-back playlist of artists that I’d never heard, that way I wouldn’t be tempted to sing along. This decision was spurred on by the song Jolene, by Dolly Parton.
Anyhow, the playlist was excellent. I’m going to have to save it and add some of them in to my regular rotation. The new music was making me feel refreshed and, even better, inspired. It got me thinking about music and what it means to me. Music…stitches my soul together. Lyrics and sounds…the emotion of it all. It just fills me up. There is music for every emotion, mood, or circumstance that you could possibly imagine.
The first time I saw my daughter dance, she was probably 6 months old. She didn’t know what music was. She was still trying to understand the world. I never taught her how to dance. It was as natural as learning to sit up and roll over and walk and talk. She just knew. I believe that it is inside of us from the very beginning; an ever-giving gift from the universe. It pumps me up and it reminds me of the good times and sometimes of the bad. It makes me cry and rage and laugh.
I even sing instead of speak, often. More often than is normal. When I can’t get the motivation to start a task, I start some tunes and it almost always gets me on my feet. When I’m feeling uninspired, angry, sad, or happy. When I feeling myself. When I’m not feeling myself. There is always a song to make it feel better or, if I need it, worse. When I came home from my grandma’s funeral, the first thing I did was add some of her favorite songs to my playlist. Songs that bring to mind memories of her singing and dancing in her living room. Songs that make my heart smile, even if my eyes cry a little.
During my worst depressive episodes, I was also going to a lot of live events. It was what my friends and I did. Some people to go the club, some people dig sporting events…we went to live music venues and filled ourselves up with music. In my 20’s, music saved my life as much as humor.
Music’s Amazing Healing Power
I’ve seen music do amazing things; been part of amazing moments centered around it. I used to work in a nursing home. I saw, on many occasions, two people, who were riddled with Alzheimer’s, pick up their respective instruments and play like they were 20 years old again. They couldn’t remember the death of their spouses or who they were, but the music stayed. It was the one thing the disease couldn’t steal from them.
You could pull one of them up to the piano and ask her to play. “Oh, I don’t know how to play,” shaking her head. But if you played the first 3 notes of The Tennessee Waltz, she would dive into the keys with a fervor I had never before seen. She played the piano in a famous venue for many years. She rarely ever spoke. When you talked to her, she would nod along politely, but you could tell she wasn’t with you. But the music melted away the years and she played beautifully.
Even if for a moment, it healed them.
I’ve also been in situations, at live music events, where the energy pouring off of the people in the audience was palpable. Those are some of the coolest moments I’ve ever had and some of the clearest memories. When you have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people who are pumped to same beat; who are singing the same songs and feeling all of the emotions that music brings…it’s a really special shared experience. Brought to you by music.
Music can be a source of pleasure and contentment, but it can also relax your mind and help you to feel more energized. Music therapy is often used with mental health patients to promote emotional health, help them to cope with stress, and boost their overall psychological health. It’s healing and helping benefits cannot be understated.
Some of the overall benefits of music can be:
- mood and motivation elevation
- reduction in stress
- improve focus
- reduction in anxiety and depression
- improves cognitive performance
- improvement in memory
- can help with pain management
- can help with sleep
- can improve endurance and performance
I’m sure that most of us can look at the list above and pick some, if not all, of the things listed as ways that music has helped us. As with my story about my daughter as a baby, I believe that music is a universal experience; it for everyone, no matter their station or circumstance in life. We all get to benefit from it. Where ever it came from, however it came to be, it is here for us to enjoy and be healed by its nature.
Music means so much to me and I cannot imagine a life without it. Soothing melodies or hard rock guitar riffs, it makes no difference to my soul. It touches me deep and it awakens so much of the good inside me; a key to the lock of my creativity and motivation. Music is my muse.
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