You remember the portable record players we had. The kind that were housed in a box with a latch that played 45 LPs. Remember the joy of loading the 45’s and watching them drop and the arm moved over, and the music started? How many of you danced in your rooms while you played these records?
Then we were teens. We played the radio and made mix tapes for our boyfriend or girlfriend. We watched the Beatles music evolve into complex melodies and words. The Byrds, the Grateful Dead and Dylan put our feelings to music.
Music is a constant in our lives. It seems like it is always there in the background, even if it is just a song in our head. We hear music in the grocery store, on our car radios, in our ear buds when we are walking or working out, in our places of worship.
But when was the last time your really listened to the music? Last night I just wanted to listen to music. No YouTube videos, no social media, no book to distract me. Just the music. I dimmed the lights, curled up on the couch with a blanket and put Paul Simon radio on Pandora. You can hear so much when you block out all the other noise and just listen.
Of course, you hear the words, try listening for the expression or emphasis the singer puts on certain words or phrases. Listen beyond the guitar or the keyboard. Do you hear the drums? In some songs they are simply keeping the beat, in some songs they are an important part of the melody. And wait, what is that … a flute? Is that a harp I hear? I never heard that in that song before. Oh, I love the violins or fiddles bringing their sweet, sensual sounds to the song.
We have all heard about music being one of the last connections to go. Dementia patients respond to music in positive ways. Music has always been with us, going back to the beginning of civilizations. Recent studies by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine have confirmed the healing power of music. Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD. said “music helps reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and cortisol in the body. It eases anxiety and can help improve mood.” I have definitely found this to be true for myself. When I am working all day in my office without any music on, my mood and energy suffer. Hearing music lifts my spirits and encourages me to get up and move a little bit.
So, if you see me in the grocery store, bopping to the music, I can’t help it. I feel the music and it makes me happy. And I encourage you to take some time to get quiet and really listen to the music. You will be amazed at what you hear, and how relaxed you feel.
Live with passion, live with relevance, live with courage.