There’s Music Waiting to Escape
Music has inspired, calmed and encouraged me for as long as I can remember. I learned to love the four part harmony of quartets sitting with my grandfather, or in church, or even family gatherings on my mother’s side of the family. I would sit enthralled as my aunt’s fingers ran across the keyboard of the piano.
One winter, as a young teen, I had the opportunity to attend the symphony with my mother’s two sisters. Every month, on a Sunday afternoon, the classical music poured from the instruments, wafting over me like a blanket of joy.
I knew of two brothers who went on to become concert pianists and I had the privilege of listening to them play in our church. Another family, my mother’s cousins actually, also played beautiful instrumental music with the piano, organ, saxophone, and trumpet combining their tones in wonderful harmony.
My piano lessons never allowed me to experience the expertise I loved listening to at the symphony, or like my aunt, my mom’s cousins, or the concert pianists, and yet it brought me pleasure for hours to sit and play at least for myself.
As a teenager I still gravitated towards the harmony of quartets, classical music, and the old hymns, but I also enjoyed fun campfire songs from my few camping experiences. I also like songs, such as ballads or folk songs that told a story.
In the mid-1990s, in the midst of some tough circumstances over which I felt I had no control, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Things I liked to do before now held no enjoyment. I could not focus on reading for fun let alone any self-help books. It took months until life began to look a little brighter. Healing began as music filtered through the pain. I could sit at the piano and pound out the notes to something dramatic like Battle Hymn of the Republic before moving on to favourite old songs and hymns.
There is music all around from the birds in the tree outside my window, to the breeze blowing across wind chimes, to the babbling brook. I love that I can plug my iPod into my car when I travel, and not worry about losing a station or changing a CD. With my phone blue-toothed to my hearing aids I can pull up YouTube song videos and listen without bothering anyone else around me.
When my children, and then grandchildren, were babies and toddlers, I would cuddle them, rock them and sing lullabies to them. I can close my eyes and remember the feeling of holding a little one and singing over them. They usually snuggled close and often the eyes closed in sleep as I hummed or sang the words of favourite childhood songs.
My youngest grandson, now almost two, is no exception. Although the last time we snuggled in the big chair and I quit singing to simply hum the melody, he reached his hand up to my mouth as if to say, “Words too, grandma.” Of course I obliged. This same grandson loves the different sounds, and toys with songs attached to them.
The oldest grandson, who also loved these times of singing and rocking, is a drummer and dancer. Music brings him joy as well. A few other grandchildren also find great enjoyment in music, playing instruments, being in band and dancing, all of which warms my heart.
Music still brings me joy and fills me with happiness. I love those old songs and appreciate beautiful harmony.
There are times that depression still waits at the edges of my mind, threatening to pounce, and yet when I focus on the positives and use the tools I have learned I can keep it at bay. Listening to my favourite music continues to heal, soothe, encourage, and uplift as well as brightness does to any day.