Metallica at 5pm on the local radio station for the drive home is an interesting choice. It seems that fast aggressive music might fuel road rage for the exhausted worker who just had a stressful day. Certain styles of music are great for putting you in the right mood at the right time and we all have favorite songs to flip our emotional switch.
I recently attended a workshop for Music Together which is an early childhood music and movement program. The curriculum is also used by music therapists to help with their patients and it reminded me of the power of music.
I want to share a couple of quotations from the workshop materials; “Music is amazing: it can help us relax, become energized, or focus. It touches our hearts and brings us closer together.” “Throughout human history, music has had the power to influence emotion, enhance communication and transform lives.”
I am grateful for having music in my life and I feel lucky to be able to play, share and teach music on a daily basis. We can all get caught up in the technical aspects of learning an instrument and forget about the joy or other emotions that music can provide. Playing with other people in a group setting or in a band is an important part of being a musician and I have made many good friends from my musical collaborations.
You don’t have to be the most talented or gifted musician to enjoy the benefits of music and that is one of the best lessons that I can teach to my students. Yes, effort and hard work will increase your skills in most areas but there is something missing if you can’t step back and appreciate the opportunity and process of making music.
Listening to music and going to see live performances are also wonderful experiences and add value to everyday life. We are closer together in a community built through music and I have witnessed the transformation of many lives due to this strong community.
I have seen people start music lessons for many reasons. For some it is a way to relieve stress, a “get away” from the daily grind and a distraction from other areas of life. For some it is for the social aspect of getting out and playing with others and most of the playing is informal like on camping trips or on the back porch with friends. Then there are those that have a passion for music and have always wanted to play their favorite songs. In each case during the lesson, music is doing its magic and I see smiles and true enjoyment for even the briefest of moments. Moods have been altered in front of my eyes and it is truly awesome to be a part of it.
If you already play an instrument or currently take lessons, remember the power that music holds and that you have access to something that can change your life and others simply by making music.