That most human of practices. Yes, I know birds sing and so on, but look at the place of music in human life.
Is there any other creature which creates and enjoys music as much as human beings? I don’t think so. Indeed, I think we tend to hear the music in Nature, or rather, that we turn the sounds we hear into music. We even talk about the music of the spheres, as a way of thinking about the structure of the cosmos.
Iain McGilchrist, in his wonderful The Master and His Emissary, discusses the theory that music preceded language and that rings true for me.
Music is as individual as we are. How easy we find it to recognise a particular singer, or guitarist for example? Or to recognise the work of a particular composer?
Music moves us. It can affect our mood, lifting us up, getting us going, slowing us down, calming us.
Music opens the floodgates of memory taking us back in an instant to a particular time of our lives, or to a particular event.
Music connects us. It connects us to individuals in our lives, both those still with us, and those who have passed on. Sharing the experience of a concert can create an intense feeling of solidarity and belonging with the others in the audience.
Music moves us physically too, affecting our heart rate, our breathing, the release of a cascade of hormones in our bodies which change our internal environment…..one of the ways in which music can heal.
Music can inspire us, stimulating our creativity or helping us to achieve certain goals.
These days it is so easy to create playlists, to gather together particular works of music which can influence us in certain ways. And we can share those playlists with others too.
So, here’s an idea. Why not make yourself some playlists? List some of the ways in which music affects YOU and then gather some particular examples together to make playlists for each of those ways. Then use those playlists where and whenever you desire. Experience for yourself just how music can re-enchant your life.