I’m in a concert hall, surrounded by a group of performers. Suddenly we take a collective breath and we’re off, sounding the chords of a gorgeous Mass. The dynamics rising and falling as we try to convey the sounds and emotions the composer had in mind. It strikes me that each sound is as relevant today as it was when it was composed, connecting past with present. We finish singing and the audience applauds, something about the music making them want more, hoping it’s not over.
I believe in the power of music. I know it sounds pretty cliché, but there’s a reason things become cliché right? This experience was one my high school choir had on the stage of Carnegie hall 4 years ago. I forget many details of that experience, like the name and composer of the piece, but I will never forget the emotions that I experienced while singing it. Not only is music fun to perform and enjoy, but it reaches a part of me that cannot be reached any other way. It accesses the deepest parts of my soul.
Music has the power to bring people together. It is one of the few things that every person in the world has in common. There is no culture that does not have some form of music, whether it’s a piano quintet or a melody played out on an instrument we’ve never heard of. Music helps us understand who people are, their struggles and joys, and their deepest longings. Last spring the women’s choir that I am a part of, sang a lament for tragedies that happen throughout the world, specifically to women. Sung in complete darkness, the guttural, repeated sounds were broken only by the mournful wailing of a lone woman. While singing I understood the pain and suffering of women around the world much more clearly than if I was to merely read about it. Music can convey meaning and deep emotion. It moves the soul and connects people on a level that cannot be attained any other way. Why else would music be used to heal wounds after war, show love, or bring thousands of people together at a concert whose only commonality is their love for a style of music.
Music can connect us to the divine. When I pray, I find myself going from speaking the words to singing them. It’s almost as if the things I want to talk to God about are not powerful enough just as words. But with music, my thoughts and prayers are conveyed the way I want them to be, with melody, rhythm, and dynamics. The times that I’ve felt the closest to God have almost all been through music, whether I’m sitting on my porch in a thunderstorm, singing a prayer, or standing with thousands of youth, singing hymns of praise.
So get involved in music! You just might experience the same joy that I’ve found in making music, I’m sure of it!
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