Humans are affected in profound and transcendent ways by music. There is strong archeological evidence that ancient humans probably gathered in a circle around the fire to chant, sing and play crude percussion instruments. Perhaps they sang or chanted to strengthen the sense of community or group solidarity as we do now with religious hymns. We know that Native Americans celebrated nature, the harvest and the animals that they harvested for survival in song and dance.
Most people can remember a song that was popular at a time when something important was happening in their lives. I can remember listening to Neil Young songs like “Ohio” and feeling as rebellious as he sounded. Sometimes songs just get stuck in your head and you can’t get them out, like “You can’t touch this,” a song that I detest which episodically haunts me.
Today we know that music can help people to process grief, meditate, reduce stress, manage pain and some evidence suggests that music can help us to heal. In fact, Music seems to transcend our circumstance, whatever that circumstance might be. Many infants connect with music well before they can walk or talk. Turn music on around an infant and it really gets their attention and though they may not speak words yet they will hum or make noises along with the music. Infants will also move their feet and hands to the music and sometimes they become very excited. I have observed senior citizens who cannot remember much about their day’s events but can sing every word to the World War II era song, “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.” While listening to music is enjoyable, making your own music can be enjoyable and fun. Like all artistic expressions, music is mostly subjective and Mozart maybe the greatest music in the world to some listeners while others may swoon to Etta James or Anita Baker, two of my personal favorites.
Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net