Last night, I spoke of some of the concepts that American musician, Eleanor Winship shared with us recently. Music was her theme.
In times of the past, music was revered. There were only two ways you could hear music. You either found someone to play for you, or you learned to play yourself.
As lovely Renee (one of the attendees) pointed out, Music is the only art that is fleeting. It is made, and it is gone. It disappears into the ethers. It truly is like magic. It is quiksilver. A gift from the Gods, and the alchemist’s challenge.
Through music, we feel ecstacy, joy, sorrow, grounded, alive, full, dark and light. It has the ability to take us through a range of emotions, and as the delightful Jo, (who came last night) said, define us.
We all have ‘our’ songs- the soundtrack to the many visions of our life so far.
Throughout history, Music was an art that brought people together. Music was shared in the home, and was the bond that held many families close. Music marked every community event and tradition.
(Did you know that the invention of the tv was the single biggest player in the downturn of the Piano industry? What a loss!)
Now, music is everywhere. We have the iPod, effectively allowing us to create our own private universe of music. We download our fave songs and make our mixtapes and can listen to the songs over and over again. Whereas once music joined us, now music often separates us.
But humans long for the new, for an experience of something foreign and exciting. We often have a physical reaction to songs that touch us deeply. Hairs stand up on our arms, and goosepimples form on our legs. We remember the very moment we heard a fave song for the first time. But hear it again and again, and the magic disappears.
When Michael Jackson died, his music flooded the airwaves. Songs from our past blasted from every music playing gadget. The first time I heard ‘Ben’ upon hearing the news of Michael’s death, I was moved to tears. The second time, I stopped still and listened. The third and forth and fifth times, I don’t remember. Complacency stepped in with familiarity.
Eleanor suggests that we need to preserve the wonder of music. How might we do that, I wondered, in a world stuffed full of electronic and mechanical sound? In a culture that provides music in every gap in life? In shopping centres, on telephone answering services, and ring tones on mobile phones.
How do we stand up for good solid live experiences of music and hold this as our touchstone? How do we say no to rubbish and a big YES to quality?
- We can protect the ear.
- Keep music special and we open our ears (and our children’s ears) to the wonder of sound.
- Too much is too much.
- Allow time for stillness and quiet.
- And when you listen to music, listen to it live.
- Take in music of all generations and all cultures.
- Search for the music magic and share it with everyone you know.
- And sing!Let’s sing to ourselves, with our families and to our children. The more we sing, the more flexible and open we allow ourselves to be. The vessel for good music is prepared. We sing and we create a loving foundation for the music experience.