Have you ever heard a song on the radio, TV or live and been instantly transported back to a moment in time? I had this experience recently in Raleigh, NC at the International Bluegrass Music Association Festival. David Holt starting singing Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons” and it brought back memories of my mom who passed away 33 years ago. Tennessee Ernie Ford was one of her favorite singers and I could see her watching him on TV singing this song. It seemed like a motion picture playing before my eyes with the movie showing me parts of my life.
I remember as a teenager loving soul music: Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, James Brown, the Supremes and more. I was interested in dancing to the music, so I was naturally more attracted to this music than the Beatles. At age 14, I spent every Friday night dancing at the YMCA teen night. I learned all types of dance and fell in love with music and dancing.
As a young woman I listened to bluegrass music, but could not dance to it since it was so fast. My cousins were clogging, but it seemed foreign to me. I signed up for clogging lessons by myself and opened a new chapter of my life. Meeting new friends at a bluegrass festival, led to me joining the Apple Chill Cloggers in Chapel Hill, and traveling to Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Holland to dance at International Folk Dance Festivals. This completely changed my life. I had not traveled outside the USA and now I was performing with dance troupes from countries all over the world. I would not change that experience for anything. It came from being mesmerized by music and opening my heart to all possibilities.
I love going to music events and watching the performers. So many musicians I have seen are in “the zone”, it seems like their body is an extension of the instrument or their voice as it consumes their soul. It give me chills to see someone so living in the moment. I feel music provides an avenue for all of us to experience this. Many times when watching live theater, a movie or a music concert , I have felt suspended at that point in time, without thinking about the past or the future. Can you imagine watching a movie without music, whether it is calming or exciting?
Recently, I accidentally stumbled upon my son’s speech for his Public Speaking final exam. I knew it was not a coincidence when his talk was music and it’s effect on moods. He discussed on how music can really affect teenager’s moods and the quality of sleep. He also discussed how music is the most effective means of verbal communication with some autistic and dementia patients. I feel that it reaches our heart and bypasses some of our limitations of speech.
I meditate everyday, but I can say honestly say that calming music helps me achieve a meditative state easier. It seems to reduce the “chatter inside my head” and allow for more connection to my inner spirit. Many of us have experienced the calming effect of music , sometimes without realizing it. The next time you feel stressed, try a little “music therapy”. It is a much healthier alternative than pharmaceuticals for mood improvement. Play a favorite song or calming piece of music and see how your heart opens! From my heart to yours, Namaste,