the power of music

A young man or woman goes to the music store.
Or the pawn shop.
They buy a beat up guitar.
A keyboard.
Some blank music sheets.
Or a note pad and a number 2 pencil.
They sit in their basement with their headphones. Fumbling to play along to their favorite artist.
Or, on the side of a lazy river, scribbling the lyrics to their someday breakout hit.

They dream.

Do they dream about fame? And fortune? Thousands of screaming fans clamoring for their attention, in desperate need to hear their favorite song? Isn’t that the goal, after all? I would imagine it is.

But I wonder if an aspiring artist knows that, despite their level of achieved success, they have the potential to make someone’s day, even change their life by sharing a piece of themselves with us.

Did Bruce Springsteen know that a 47 year old man would immediately go to his music while driving 2 hours on a cold December night, tears streaming down his face, to see his father before he draws his last breath?

Did Journey know that their music would make millions of 80’s kids remember sweaty fumblings in the back seat of sedans and slow dances with their High School Sweetheart?

Did Van Morrison know that Into the Mystic would always remind me of that one night, sitting oceanside, watching a thunderstorm in the distance, drinking bourbon in beach chairs with a dear friend that has since died?

Did Dawes know that in his song A little bit of everything he would perfectly illustrate, as if on a design board, how to approach life when you don’t know how many days you have to live?

Did Michael Franti know that he would inspire my blog when he sang Good to be alive today? The song that slapped me in the face and told me that it is so simple, and necessary that I spend each day trying to make the world a better place and just be glad to be ALIVE.

So many songs.
So many associations.
So many memories.
So many things to so many people.
So many powerful emotions. Smiles of nostalgia. Tears of angst. Pains of heartache, sadness and loss. Euphoria and joy. The urge to play air guitar or pound the steering wheel to your favorite drum solo. The feeling that you have been where the artist has.

I have listened to thousands of songs in my life. There are millions of songs that I still want to hear. Songs that I know could speak to me. That will make me feel something, experience something powerful. I can only hope that when I hear them, I have a takeaway. Something that I can relate to. A fresh perspective on a old subject, a new spark to light the candle of another fond yet dormant memory.

Here’s to the person out there, just getting started, setting out on your musical journey and hoping for all of the typical trappings of success. May they know that success can me measured in so many ways.

Always keep in the back of your mind that you may change just one life with your efforts.


16 thoughts on “the power of music”

  1. I’ve always loved music. As a teenager I wanted to be like Mick Jagger fronting a rock ‘n’ roll band or play guitar like Keith but I never had a musical voice — I couldn’t even growl in tune like Tom Waits — and the only musical instrument I could play were drums. But hey! I can write. It makes me happy and I still enjoy my music. Couldn’t live without it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All of these connections are so important–I know it’s not the same thing, but every once in a while I hear from a former student about something that made a difference to him or her, and it reminds me why we do whatever it is we do:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you seen the documentary, ALIVE INSIDE?
    The film deals with the subject of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and how music therapy can help and ease their suffering. It gave me goose bumps when I watched it. Thinking….what music will be played to me if/when I get to that point?
    A few artist who are able to transport me to a fond memory~ Billie Holiday, Glen Miller, Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Third World, Pink Floyd, J Geils just to name a few.
    I feel artist share their words as a form of therapy. They compose lyrics to music as a way of ‘letting go’ of both good and bad experiences they have had in their lives. Lucky us, we get to reap the rewards.
    I try to attend a live concert venue once a month. I know it can get expensive but, I feel it’s way more therapeutic than going to a psychotherapist.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Artista create as their own form of therapy. Contributing to the air waves with their own compositions is nice and all but, I firmly believe they create in order to “let go”…..of the good and the bad they have conquered in their own lives.
    Reading this gave me chills. In a good way.
    Have you seen the documentary, “Alive Inside”?
    The film deals with the subject of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and how music therapy can help and ease their suffering. People are transformed upon hearing music from a time in their lives when they had all their faculties.
    I enjoyed the film very much. Music has and always will be my own therapy. I try to attend one live concert a month. Sure, it can get expensive these days yet, I know it does more for me than a copay towards psychotherapy.
    Artists that transport me back to a fond memory….Billie Holiday, Glen Miller, Kenny Rogers, Allman Brothers, Bob Marley, Third World, J Geils, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd just to name a few.
    Thanks for posting Bill, you always state the obvious.

    Like

  5. This really resonated with me. Certain songs always take me back to a time and place, some good, some bad, but I find myself in that exact moment, regardless of how much times has passed. Every single time.

    I think artists create for the sake of creating. They have something inside them, whether it is music, poetry, novels or painting, that needs to come out. It satisfies a yearning to express themselves. Fame and fortune would be a bonus, but that isn’t the motivation. At least not in the beginning.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Isn’t it interesting that everyone’s most meanigful songs list will be different? Your teenage disco, first meaningful adult relationship, childhood party songs are all different to mine, and mine are probably different to even my sisters’.

    Liked by 1 person

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