One thing we’re rapidly losing as a culture is our experience of music as a way to bring us together during difficult times.
I’m not talking about an isolated video such as We Are The World, or an all-star concert after a tragedy. Yes, these things are seen by millions and do help us heal both individually and culturally.
But I mean on a daily basis. In small groups. With music that we actually hear live in the same room as us. Not electronically over TV or Wi-Fi.
As good as electronically transmitted music can be, it’s simply not the same as live music. When we sing, play an instrument, or hear music live, we receive the acoustic vibrations differently. Not filtered through a microphone or digitally reduced. This isn’t an opinion; it’s a fact. The music affects our bodies differently. Deeper physically. And this in turn opens our emotions. Then there’s the value of actually being together. In the same space.
As I said earlier, we do sometimes get this experience at concerts or in a way from recordings and videos. But it’s not enough. If we all went back 100 years I think we’d be shocked at how much communal music-making went on. Not only on “special” occasions, but as part of daily life. People sang while they worked. They went to parades and heard marching bands. They heard live music in restaurants and clubs everywhere. They played musical instruments at home, during the evening hours. They knew the words to lots of songs and sang them together in taverns and on ships. And speaking of songs, there was a time when grandparents, their children, and their children’s children all knew the same songs. They experienced music together. They made music together.
I don’t expect all 7.4 billion people currently on earth to wake up tomorrow morning and feel an urgent need to make music together, but we as individuals can do a lot for ourselves and for those around us. Sit down at the piano tonight and play something. Anything. Play something you know well and put your heart and soul into it. Or choose something challenging and start practicing it, slowly and diligently. It doesn’t matter what you play, as much as the fact that you’re engaged in the very act of playing. Of making music. Of creating musical sounds that enter into your heart and soul and into the heart and soul of those around you.
This is what humans have been doing for thousands of years and it is part of what makes us human. We make music for ourselves and for each other. Live, in person, and now also electronically. Electronic is fine, but let’s not forget the “live and in person” part too. We need each other and music can bring us together in a powerful and vibrant way.
Let’s make some music today.
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