“Alexa, stop music.”
For some reason after I gave this command, it stopped me as I was walking down the hall. Music has played a big part in my life and my family. And the variety of music is quite extensive.
I cannot imagine my life without music.
The activity often dictates the music style I listen to. When cooking, I can often be found dancing to anything from BB King to Aretha Franklin. When mowing, I listen to a custom mix of Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Alicia Keys, The Kildaires, Lauren Daigle, CeCe Winans, Benny Goodman, Casting Crowns, Pharrell, and many others.
Many days I work in silence, intensely focused on my work. Other days, I play a variety of soft jazz or classical when wanting a little background soothe with no words or no sentimental distractions. On Fridays, the music leans more towards classic rock.
It is no secret that I believe Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” is the best example of classic rock and my all-time favorite song. What a contrast to my mom’s favorite song, Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” – a mesmerizing melodic tune that prevents me from accomplishing anything but keeps me listening intently.
My dad’s favorite group was the Ink Spots. I have decided all their songs sound alike. He also loved Patsy Cline and The Glenn Miller Band.
But let’s not forget the musicals.
I won the third grade talent show contest by singing Mary Poppins’ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” And as a side note, I not only spelled that word correctly the first time but spellcheck recognized the word – that is truly funny! In second grade, my friend and I won 2nd place singing Peter Pan’s “I Won’t Grow Up,” and it set the precedence of my life.
I sang in all my school choirs, until the high school choir director gave me an ultimatum: choose between choir and tennis. Given our family history of choir participation, she felt certain I would choose choir. I was still in the church choir, so I chose tennis. My brother sang in musicals in high school and in ensembles in college and church. My sister also sang in high school, and has started singing in a special performance group in Dallas and loves it.
My mom played the piano and my sister still plays. I took piano lessons for five years and the cats scatter when I touch a key now, with my nephew in the background asking what the tune is. All nieces and nephews played an instrument of some kind while growing up, though few still play. At one time, we could have assembled an orchestra or band.
When I would practice the piano during those five years of my youth, my Dad would sneak in to the living room, and sit quietly while I played. He never winced, that I could see, never cried out in pain at a missed note, he simply enjoyed hearing me try. What a trooper he was!
The gift of music came from both sides of my family.
Although Dad himself missed that gene, his dad and his uncles sang in a gospel quartet. Daddy was always supportive of our musical endeavors.
I also used to play the guitar, but my short stubby fingers had a hard time contorting my wrist around the neck to press hard enough on the frets to get clear enough sound.
So far, we have covered broadway musicals to classic rock concerts to Bass Hall Van Cliburn piano competitions. But what about those ditty little tunes for television or movies?
My toes move when the theme music for Father Brown comes on and I strike the James Bond pose when theme music for any of the movies is within ear shot. Sometimes I will cue up a movie theme music playlist just to see if I can guess which movie it is.
The emotion we feel when hearing certain music is real.
Like when I hear “Claire de Lune,” it makes me miss my mom. When I hear the Associations’ “Never My Love,” it reminds me of my brother, his wife and their fifty year romance. When I hear the music from the Twilight Zone, it quickens my heartrate a bit as I remember the TV show that used to scare the bejezzies out of me.
When attending a major league baseball game, I want to be there in time to sing the Star Bangled Banner, our National Anthem, boldly and loudly. It stirs my heart and reaffirms my thankfulness for living in this country. When I miss it, I truly am disappointed. And who can remember the stirring rendition by Whitney Houston for Super Bowl XXV. Boy, I miss her voice.
We played my parent’s favorite tunes when they were each in hospice, experiencing their last days with us. I talked with each of them while one of their favorite tunes played. It was as soothing to me as it was to them.
Music therapy is a genuine gift especially to those experiencing trauma or crisis in their life. According to Wikipedia, “music therapy is the use of music to improve health or functional outcomes.” Given that definition, music therapy happens during most workouts, evidenced by the earbuds I see on the workout room floor.
“The hills are alive with the sound of music.”
“Listen to the music.”
“Please don’t stop the music.”
“Play that funky music.”
“Music is my way of life.”
“Thank you for the music.”
The songs themselves express the importance of music.
And now it is that time of year for seasonal music. I cannot wait to play Handel’s “Messiah,” busting out the alto lines. Or singing Christmas songs along with Arlington’s favorite acapella group, Pentatonix. They are so amazingly gifted.
Music resonates in our lives. We feel it in our bones, in our hearts. It can pick us up, calm us down, or get our feet moving.
Music: I cannot imagine life without it.
No, Alexa, please don’t stop the music. Never ever stop the music.
“Alexa – play Free Bird. Everywhere.”