The beauty of music resonates with so many and the impact it has on our lives is almost indescribable – I’d say it was more of a feeling, not always fully understood but something that is a part of us – intrinsically powerful. I cannot imagine a world without music (seriously, just imagine that for a moment!) and not a day goes by where I don’t listen to music of some sort. Music can take us on incredible journeys – back to our childhood, through grief (‘Shattered Dreams’ by Johnny Hates Jazz was a favourite of my childhood friend who passed away – I can no longer listen to that song), through joy (The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m in Love’ reminds me of the day I married my love – I grin from ear to ear when I hear this song) and just about everything in between. Music makes us human.
(Image by just-apathetic on Tumblr)
‘Where words fail, music speaks.’ ― Hans Christian Andersen
I was exposed to an eclectic mix of music from a very early age, for which I am eternally grateful to my parents. My sister and I can, to this day, whistle Handel’s ‘The Arrival Of the Queen Of Sheba’ note for note and when I hear it now I’m instantly transported to the back seat of our green Maxi (remember those cars?!) whereby these schrill orchestral arrangements were perfected during our childhood. Being on car journeys also reminds me of other music that we listened to as children – belting out Meatloaf’s ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ and trying not to cry when Dire Straits ‘Romeo and Juliet’ came on. Next up it was Iron Maiden ‘666 The Number of The Beast’ followed by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a sprinkling of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and maybe a little Joan Baez for good measure. So many fond memories.
‘Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.’ – Victor Hugo.
I remember hearing Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the first time and asking my Dad, ‘What is this? It’s making me feel like I want to cry and I’m not sure why?’. I think I was about 10 and yet to truly appreciate or understand the impact that music can have. During my early teens I developed a taste for music that said something to the world politically – The Smiths, Faith No More and New Model Army became the soundtrack to my youth – I listen to them as much now as I did then. These bands have shaped me as a person – what and where would I be without that? When I met my now husband, when I was 21, he was in a band – only a few hours after we had met we were stood together at a service station on the M6, hitching down to London so that his band could rehearse. We talked for hours and hours about music – what we loved, what we hated and why…we completely and utterly bonded for life during that time and 20 years later we still have similar conversations and they are my favourite!
‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.’ ― Plato
So, today is World Music Day – an opportunity to reflect upon and enjoy the impact that music has on our lives. A few years ago a documentary called ‘Alive Inside’ was released – what you see in this documentary really encapsulates the true power of music and how it can be used in health and social care settings (particularly to help those with Dementia) with wonderfully beneficial effects. You may have already seen this trailer, but it’s definitely worth watching again…
To help us celebrate World Music Day 2018, I asked a few folk of varying ages what impact music has had on their lives – not only to show that music transcends all ages/generations, but that the response is always a positive one, which I for one think is rather brilliant:
“There are so many memories I have intertwined with certain songs or tracks – hearing them can transport me back instantly to the joy felt on a particular day. Hearing Kate Bush singing from her ‘King of the Mountain’ album takes me back to my wedding day. Hearing The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams will always remind me of being in a car with my dad and hearing it for the first time ever on the radio and feeling goosebumps all over – knowing that I’d want those soaring and uplifting notes playing at my funeral one day. Music sets the tone and scene for so many moments in life and helps make the memorable.”
“I listen to music all of the time, I think I would feel disorientated without it as it feels such a key part of my mental well-being. Listening to music is important to me because I feel it connects and communicates with me in ways that reading and talking can’t.”
“I love music and listen to it a lot, particularly in the car. I have an eclectic taste enjoying classical, pop and rock and always the louder the better. Music has the capacity to lift my mood which is totally good for my wellbeing. I wouldn’t like a life without music.”
“Music has always made me feel such intense emotion – more than anything else. Since a very young age music has been a huge part of my life and I really don’t know how I would get through life without it.”
“Music is a constant – like THE most reliable best friend that never leaves your side. Music has shared with me all of the significant moments in my life from the birth of my children, to my marriage to saying goodbye to my beloved Grandparents. Without music I would be bereft of the memories that have shaped my life – when I listen to certain songs I am transported back to those moments and I am so very grateful for that.”
“From an early age music provoked strong emotional responses in me, and led me be motivated to learn to perform, and in the end to become a sound engineer. The idea of music as a media for storytelling, and a platform for political comment and agitation, has always fascinated me – across genres ranging from traditional folk and roots music, to hardcore punk. I love the way that subcultures from around ‘musical scenes’, bring people together with shared values and kinship and evoke feelings that are often lost in our modern lives.”
“Lyrics from music have helped me get through things like broken friendships or when people have been mean to me. Music can make me feel in a certain mood such as happy or sad or like I want to party or maybe want to cry. A world without music would be very boring and we would not understand our emotions as well as we do because of music.”
Karla (33, Professional Musician)
“The idea of approaching music as a language has always fascinated me and became an important alternative to verbal communications. After I started studying drums, I soon began to understand musical motifs as (key-) words, and sentences as musical phrases, which can help to develop ideas, tell a story, or communicate non-verbally with other musicians. Having played with many musicians from different cultural backgrounds, I was intrigued by how idiomatic expressions apply to musical contexts, and how musical personalities can become transparent in these non-verbal conversations. When playing live nowadays, I always try to musically answer questions that other instrumentalists pose through their instruments, and I love observing how a common understanding develops on stage and group discussions happen through improvisations.”
We asked members of our fabulous closed group to suggest a favourite song that could be added to the ‘A Life Loved Playlist of our lives’, which we have put together as a celebration of ‘World music Day 2018’. We had so many responses suggesting a wonderfully eclectic mix of songs – these suggestions were accompanied by stories of joy, grief, wonder, sadness and hope – what a privilege it has been to hear these stories and share in the amazing effect that music has on our lives. So here it is – enjoy!
Seeing as we couldn’t get it on spotify, a special shout out to our lovely closed group member Kate DM, whose dad wrote the song ‘Beautiful Argument’ which he performed at her wedding. RIP Dan Thorley x
‘The only truth is music.’ ― Jack Kerouac