Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Importance of Music

The Importance of Music

CSO B&W

There is so much written – these days – about the importance of music. Music in our everyday lives, music education in schools, how learning an instrument improves one’s cognitive function.

Music is math. Music improves verbal IQ. Great music can transform the mundane into magic. Music lifts your spirits, improves your mood. Singing brings us together. Music reduces stress and anxiety.

The list of the positive impact that music has on humanity is voluminous. Shelves of books on the subject abide.

For some of us who have been fortunate to be introduced to music at an early age, none of this is news. Maybe your family played instruments, sang in the church choir, sang around the piano at holidays, gathered around the radio listening to Benny Goodman, or boasted a collection of Fifth Dimension LPs. Whatever music was going on in your life, an impression was made that will last a lifetime. Every child remembers the nursery rhymes learned in kindergarten, the lullabies sung. Every teenager claims “his” music as the soundtrack of his formative years. And it will be “his” music for life.

Music is one of the most fundamental expressions of human life. And, often, the more exposure we have, the more eclectic our musical tastes become. We may live for decades, thinking that all we like is Country music, then a friend invites us to a jazz concert and we are thrown into a frenzy over this exciting ‘new’ sound. We may play guitar in a rock and roll band, be in love with gospel music, think there never will be anyone like Frank Sinatra. Then, one day, you find yourself sitting in symphony hall and the orchestra is playing Barber’s Adagio for Strings and you are reduced to a puddle of tears, your life changed forever.

This is the glory of music. It is for everyone, everywhere. It is the universal language that expresses the unexpressible. It is the destroyer of walls between us. It is the ultimate human experience.

To discuss the importance of music is fun and interesting, and science has shown how beneficial music can be in treating all sorts of neurological and emotional issues. But, it is rather like discussing the importance of the sun. Lots of interesting facts, of course, but to really grasp its importance – just imagine where we would be without it.

Written for Regina Buckley, TEMPO, The Magazine of The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Fall 2016

An Old Story – Prologue

Clouds

~ Our Little Wishes

Think about the hundreds of people you see and meet, have brief conversations with, maybe work or play with. Every day. Every week. Some become friends, even lovers. But, in time, you or they move on, leaving impressions and memories of all textures.

Each one contributes a sentence, a page, a chapter to the story of you.

The business of everyday life casts you playing out scenes with your fellow actors, changing – ever changing – with entrances and exits. Until suddenly, without intent or warning, you take a seat on a bus, or walk into a room, or stand in line at the grocery. You look up and there is a pair of eyes you instantly recognize as those you’ve been waiting for.

The missing piece of a puzzle you didn’t realize was missing.

Even if you decide to let the moment pass, get off that bus, pick up your groceries and head for the car without looking back, that moment will change you. You will wonder what might have happened if you had spoken, if you had begun to walk down the long road of discovery. You will never be quite the same, because every other pair of eyes will always pale in comparison. You’ve seen a new light, one that shines from within only one person, and its warmth will haunt you all your days.

We are romantic by nature. In our culture, we are raised with tales of falling in love, getting married, living happily ever after. At least, in my generation, this was true. We bought the whole package – that we were destined to find the ultimate joy in life with that special someone – that once you have found him/her, we were to ‘never let him/her go’.

By the time we reach a mature adulthood (in years, even if not developmentally) we may suspect this tale of romance has been misrepresented. The eyes of romantic ecstasy never appeared. Or perhaps we found that special someone, reached for the brass ring and came up empty, or worse. We protect our hearts. We become jaded.

Yet. And yet. For most of us, in the quietest of times, if we are not too afraid of honesty, we secretly harbor a little wish for the love of a lifetime.

 

~ from AN OLD STORY, by Sherry Campbell