Music, it seems, has presented a pathway to these individuals: a pathway to their memories, their souls, and their very sense of self. The ability for music to stir in people emotions, memories, and a sense of wellbeing is truly amazing, and may be one of the reasons music has a way of bringing people together – of developing community.
I recently went to a CBC Book Club recording, where the author in the hot seat was renowned musician and conductor Rob Kapilow (who coincidently, is chummy with Oliver Sacks – oh, to be in that circle of literary brilliance!). Mr. Kapilow (http://www.robkapilow.com/), in ‘All You Have to Do Is Listen – Music from the Inside Out’, describes the way music moves us at this very instinctual level. We don’t need to be musicologists* to have this visceral reaction, to feel what the music is telling us, to respond to it in real and beautiful ways. Music can bring us together, tie us to a certain cause or moment, and make us feel like we’re a part of something larger than we are.
It seems, somehow, that this has been lost. I blame it on the iPod. Before the invention of the phonograph in the late 1800s and the subsequent explosion of recording devices and recorded sound, people had to go to a concert hall to listen to a musical performance. It was something that was necessarily shared – as Rob Kapilow likes to put it, it was a “we” experience. Think about how we listen to music now: through our Ipod headphones. There is nothing communal about it – it’s turned into a resounding “me” experience.
Music is made to be shared. When we hear music, we think back to the moments they’re embedded in. Music and the people and places we love are – or should be – integrally connected.
So my call out to you all is to celebrate music with those around you. Go to more concerts. Rent out a Karaoke room and sing your heart out with your friends (and some beer). Take a salsa class. Share the Music, because that’s how it was meant to be experienced.
*Yes, yes, I know this is probably not a “real” word. Am I OK with this? SURE AM! I suppose I would consider myself a ‘functional linguist’, and am at ease with taking creative liberties. Words have come in to our vernacular over the years because they’ve become socially relevant (I love how ‘facebook’ has now become a verb). Down with the Ivory Tower of Linguistic Supremacy! Give words back to the people, I say! (A linguistical liberal commie? Some might say …). And if you have a problem with this, you can Facebook me …