Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Soundtrack of My Life

So, do you have a soundtrack in your life? I do. I am grateful for my soundtrack, my music. It makes my life more meaningful.

Music has a way to cause emotions to well up. The feelings are gripping, even irresistible. They sometimes seem to emerge from nowhere. Music can color moods, affect perceptions and generate behavioral patterns. It’s a fact that music has the power to evoke emotions. I don’t think there is anyone for whom music is completely emotionally neutral. Music can tap the still, mysteriously deep well of emotion.

The emotional response produced by music is different for everyone. In fact, that response can vary in the same person at different times. The emotions produced by music may also be varied – peaceful, relaxing, exciting, festive, boring, unsettling, invigorating . . . etc. Does your soundtrack change as your life events change? Mine does.

I remember listening to Bill Cosby talk about his theme music. Da d’da d’dum… Theme music like a super hero! Imagine what life would be like if others could hear your soundtrack. My life has always been too inconsistent to have always the same theme song. Maybe mine would be a variation on a theme. You know something like you’d find on any Law & Order show. The music has a consistent theme but changes a little depending on what is going on.

Music communicates better than most other mediums. Like the sense of smell, music will affect people more profoundly than most other forms of communication. Music not only explores all the features used in verbal communication, it does so in an explicit, structured way pushing beyond the limits, creating an interesting, useful window into human communication.

I am thankful for those aspects of life not immediately recognized as music. The rhythmic sound of a train, the waves breaking on the beach, the song of a cricket rubbing its legs together, even the buzzing of an electric fan produces a soothing quiet. Good music touches our emotions. Deeper than just emotions, music reaches into our very soul and leaves an imprint on us. This power music has is difficult to describe. Language cannot fully describe the power of music. Still, it is a mystical experience that is nearly universal.

Music can endow the listener with incredible pleasure. It can be simple or complex, subtle or overt. It can emanate from the rhythm or the melody; however, some of the greatness of music lies in the holistic nature of all the elements together. It’s a unique wholeness which may not be understood logically. Still, no matter how complex, music can easily be appreciated with the mind without formal training.

I am grateful that music doesn’t require an advanced degree to truly appreciate or enjoy it. You don’t have to know about instruments, pitches or notes. You don’t have to know how to recognize the dots and lines on a sheet to know that you like it. Music is wonderful. I am grateful that learning more about music doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

I am very grateful for the soundtrack of my life, for the music that is everywhere, for the music in my head. I am grateful for the times I can share music with my wife, my daughters and my friends. I am grateful for the times I can just sit and enjoy music alone.
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