By: Paula M. Sherman
Just recently, I experienced an epiphany. Music has forever been a pleasure to me. But I never understood its power until a friend recommended that I use music as a therapy for healing. And I know many who do this, but it never struck me as a method that would work. But it does work, more so than any medicine.
I'm not going to talk about any particular kind of music, because everyone has their favorite. It has been said that the best music is created by a tortured artist. I disagree with this because most times the act of being inquisitive or playful does the trick for a great song. But has anyone noticed how music speaks? I've heard many songs, in a variety of selections from blues and jazz to all kinds of rock. I've listened to lyrics and music, feeling the emotion of whatever was trying to be portrayed. But never once did I realize that if you're in a state of brokenness, the songs sound different. It doesn't matter what tone or strain there is to the music. It will speak out in a way that not only entertains, but may also make you understand or feel something. But this doesn't work unless you allow it to happen. In other words, you have to listen with a different ear. After experiencing this alternative side of songs that I've heard before, it felt like there was some kind of spell on them. And this spell is activated when the listener changes moods.
But in reality, songs are written by people who have something to say or have experienced something they wish to share. Some people write books about these things, some express it in art or poetry, and others put it to music. This is why I say that the artist doesn't necessarily need to be emotional about something to compose a meaningful piece of music. The artist could be asking the listener a question that can't be answered until the listener experiences it for themselves. The revelation that occurs is miraculous, once the listener finds that answer. With this, a novel appreciation for music can be enhanced because now the music is as fresh as baked bread straight from the oven.
Take a favorite song that you might play in your car, maybe on a sunny day, and that song just puts you in the best mood. Then one day that song makes you weep, and you can't listen to it anymore. When this happened to me, I stopped listening to music altogether. But my friend made me realize that I have to keep listening. So I did just that, even though it sounded distant. Once I allowed the music to heal, it sounded new again. Most importantly, I learned something from a story that someone was trying to explain through music. Then I was amazed how many other songs had an alternative side.
There are loads of songs out there reflecting almost every topic under the sun! And it's ALL great music as far as I'm concerned. But you have to be careful, because some songs are way depressive. Take heed to these songs, but don't commit suicide over them, please! For those who don't like to read books, or absorb art, or understand poetry; just listen to your favorite music. You'd be surprised what it has to say.