I have always loved music. Not so much producing my own, but listening to music that others have made. I took piano lessons as a child and I was a bad student. I wouldn’t practice. I had one teacher who was this petite, feisty little lady and I was honestly a little scared of her. She didn’t hide her disappointment in me when I hadn’t improved over the week, then when I broke my finger playing volleyball in PE, I think it crushed her spirit. She couldn’t understand why I would want to do anything that would interfere with music.
Then, I played flute in band. My friends and I started out in beginner’s band together, then at the end of the year, they got promoted to varsity band to play at the football games, and I only made it to intermediate. Where you play at a concert during the holidays for parents who have to feign a lot of enthusiasm. It crushed my spirit.
I have never really been able to sing. I can carry a tune, generally, but it’s not the most beautiful sound you’ll hear. I was in a church choir once where we took a moment to look at the big picture and why we were there. Different people spoke up about how they had received this talent from God and this is their way of using that in ministry. I never had the guts to say it, but a small part of me was there to get back at Him for the talent I didn’t get.
Despite my lack of ability to make music, it is something that speaks to my soul. My iPod is full of songs that are like a scrapbook and I have some type of relationship with each one. There are those that vividly remind me of a place or time. There are those that will always bring me to tears. There are those that are like a comfort food when I’m hurting. Then there are those that make me want to get up and move.
Music and movement are joined at the hip. It’s something innate in us that wants to move when we hear music, as we see babies do with adorably awkward choreography. I never learned about this pathway in any of my anatomy courses but there is some connection between the ears and the muscles that is stimulated by a drumbeat or a violin or an electric guitar.
Music is a soundtrack for all of the good around me. Sometimes the music itself lightens my mood, then other times the words speak an emotion I couldn’t find a way to verbalize. It’s a part of every culture and has been around for generations. It is universal. It is a gift. It can restore a crushed spirit.