Why is music so important to us? Because it is an inherent part of our evolution as human beings. Life is filled with music of all kinds; natural rhythms, patterns, and notes, and our human creations of every sort, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical, Folk, Blues, and Techno. The art of sound is everywhere, and probably always has been. Music is old magic. Maybe the oldest magic, as we understand the concept. It is how we communicate, even when words fail us. Music has the power to build us up, or break us down, and allow for our more fragile emotions to find their voice, their place in our busy, noisy world. Music is not noise, but the opposite. It offers order, waves, and repetition. A safe, familiar place for us to revisit, or a new, exciting escape to expand into. How many times have we heard a song that instantly took us back to a memory? A happy celebration, or a difficult loss? It is in that piece of music, or well-worded song, that we relive the glorious moments, or relearn lessons from a painful mistake. What music, or songs, do you like to work out to, cry to, shout alongside, or meditate with?
Music, as you have already instinctively deduced, is the universal language. It transcends culture, environment, and time. It does not create emotion, it makes what is already there louder, like an amplifier (how appropriate). We all have a range of feelings, and some of them are smaller and meeker, but no less meaningful. Amidst this crazy backdrop of our current reality, music allows our emotions that might otherwise be lost in the din, to find a voice, a space to grow, to live, and just be. We get to experience, if even for just five minutes, a world where everyone can love one another, be kind to each other, and where peace and harmony rule.
When we listen to music, we are engaging our entire brain, the benefits of which include relaxation, and a release of endorphins that help us with stress and pain, and boost our immune system. Music has been used to help stroke victims speak again, and Alzheimer patients with memory retention. It alters our mood, expands our thoughts, and opens our hearts to the deeper human experience. And, shall we talk about the energy generated from listening to a live performance? So many of us know the rush of hearing organic art happening at the moment, the sweep of goosebumps from a well-placed note or riff, and how it lifts us into the stratosphere.
In our present COVID-restricted state, music is a crucial coping tool. It keeps us connected to what was, and helps us remember what it was like to gather with hundreds, if not thousands of our fellow humans to celebrate art, community, and culture. Music also allows us to write new songs, and express new thoughts, break out of the limitations of stay-at-home orders, and find new ways to explore and expand in a safe, healthy, and productive way.
Music is so important to us, because it is a constant, never failing way for us to connect. So put on your headphones, turn up your speaker, or grab that instrument, and know that everyone around you is doing the same thing. We are all listening together.