THIS I BELIEVE – Music Nourishes Our Soul

Gail - South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Entered on January 8, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe there is nothing that nourishes the soul like music. Music is a universal language. It can draw from every emotion, transport us back in time, lift us when we are low, and calm us when we are afraid. Music can help us express feelings when words simply don’t come, heal us when we are hurting, or remind us of a love once lost.

Every generation has their own brand of music, and yet, there is also music that transcends all generations. But whether it is purely instrumental, or has lyrics that need to be sung, music nourishes our soul.

In my family, there was never a day that went by without music. My mother is one of the oldest living women barbershop singers in the world. My father sang all the time – in the car, doing chores, everywhere. He performed in theatre musicals, men’s barbershop, and even a minstrel choir in the days of blackface performers like Al Jolson. He played guitar, harmonica, banjo, and even the spoons and a musical saw. He wasn’t afraid to try anything.

My sister and I started music lessons as young girls and continue to make music a part of our lives to this day. My sister made music her profession as a band director. Individually and together, we have performed in many high school and community theatre musicals, weddings and other events, and continue to perform in a local community band. I am also a marching band color guard instructor – yet another way for me to include music in my life – putting music into motion performing for a different kind of audience.

I can’t imagine a day without music, but it is with my father that I have truly learned just how much music nourishes the soul. In recent years, as we have struggled to help him deal with the effects of dementia, music has been the most instrumental part of helping to nourish his soul. While many people think Alzheimer’s is just about forgetting things, it is much more than that. As the brain loses connections, not only do you lose short term memory, but you also lose the ability to remember how to do basic things, like writing your name, or eating with utensils, or finding the right words to communicate what you want to say. This is where music has helped us the most.

He may forget what you just told him 5 minutes ago, but play a familiar tune, and my father can remember most every word and sing it in full voice. Music also gets him physically moving – tapping his feet, clapping his hands, even a dance step or two. And the smile on his face when he is singing – that priceless smile – a smile that comes from deep within his soul. Oh, yes, I do believe that music nourishes our soul.

My favorite music quote comes from Red Auerbach, “Music washes away from our soul the dust of every day life.”

How does music nourish your soul?