Music Can Save Your Mortal Soul
As defined by me, music, is the combination and blending of rhythmic sounds. Music can also entail lyrics. I believe that music distresses me, lifts me up, and none the less many times it keeps me sane. It also has the ability to grab my attention, force me to hear it, and touch my soul. It is what I depend on when I have no other.
I have grown to welcome and value all types of music, but for me the music I most relate to is rock. To be more specific, even though I enjoy all genres of rock, my absolute favorite is classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, and Lynard Skynard are bands amongst the most popular for this genre of rock. Because this music has been around predominately since the 1960s, most people have been exposed to it at some time. It has been used as sound tracks in movies, heard in restaurants, and has probably been played a time or two in the car while riding with parents. Many have branded this music as just their “parent’s generation.” I however, have continued the love for the sound of an electric guitar, a heavy-hitting bass on the drums, and hard diction over the microphone. I have also decided that it takes the more in-tuned to actually identify themselves with this choice of beat and lyrics.
I was first introduced to classic rock music by my dad who played the guitar. There are pictures in our family albums of him playing his guitar to me while I’m still in a car seat. I can’t count how many nights I have fallen asleep at my uncle’s house while my family rocked out in the basement and there was never a Mize family reunion complete without everyone dragging out their guitar case. Music has been an extremely important component of my up-bringing and an enormous influence on who I am. It was through my dad’s love of rock n’ roll that I too adopted the amity of the sound. Originally I liked this music because I was a daddy’s girl and simply liked everything he did. Over the course of eighteen years however, I have grown to become passionate about, believe in, and love the music for myself. The love of music is deeply reiterated by my dad and family but I feel it is more of a gift from them that allowed me to believe in music as I do today. I was taught at an extremely young age the lyrics to songs of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, but as I matured I was taught and obtained the ability to decipher the meaning to those songs. There is an enormous difference between enjoying a song and singing along because it has a fun beat and understanding the song’s lyrics and why it is has that rhythm it does. Through not only lyrics, but portrayed also in the rhythm and beat does all music tell a story. I believe in music that I can feel. This is why classic rock is my favorite music. I can dance to ACDC with no hesitation, but I can sing the words respectfully too because I recognize and appreciate them. Not to say that I cannot also grasp the lyrics of Michael Buble’s easy listening genre or dance to a Lil Wayne release and greatly comprehend the meaning. Nevertheless, nine times out of ten I prefer the classics, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and even Eddie Money.
The day of my dad’s funeral the traditional funeral-home music or even soft gospel melodies were not played. Rather we played Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, John Lennon’s Imagine, All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix, and other songs my dad listened to and played his guitar by. We decided to do this because Ronnie Mize, my dad, believed in rock n’ roll and he was identified by it. No one got up to sing I’ll Fly Away, instead my dad’s nephew, who was taught to play the guitar by my dad, sat in front of his casket and played the guitar to him. He did this to make him proud that he could play so well and to honor him and his love of music. My dad and I spent a great deal of time with one another, especially in the vehicle while traveling to work together, and it allowed us to share the love of this music together daily. During my dad’s viewing I don’t think I would have made it through had it not been for his kind of music playing in the background. Close friends of the family even said “it was like he was over everyone with his guitar jammin’ out.” Although that may not have been what actually happened hearing his music made me feel like he was there. I believe in music. I have always loved classic rock, but now the songs from that genre hold so much more power. I can hear a song from Bad Company or Stevie Ray Vaughan and think of my dad. It is greatly comforting to still listen to his music because I feel the lyrics come from my dad to me and I believe in that.
Life without music for me would be a sad one. I would miss the feeling I get in my stomach from the bass when listening to a live band. I couldn’t hear myself sing along in the car or chime in with friends. Music is my other world that I can carry everywhere I go and at that same time take a piece of my dad with me. I can listen to it by myself or share it with others, but no matter what no one can take it from me. I believe in music and the power it has on, not just me, but all people. It can be a reminder of other days and people or foster the ability to look forward to what is ahead. I believe in music, if nothing else. The day the music dies will be an unfortunate one but most probably a cold day in hell.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.