Guest article: What’s in the music?
A few years ago I asked my brother to post a guest entry on my blog, which he did and it was a phenomenal job. At this time of year as we acknowledge the end of another cycle it was appropriate to ask him to write a guest entry for me again. In return he invited me to return the favour and so here I am taking up some space.
What I briefly want to talk about, then, is the importance of music. Yes, that’s right: music.
Growing up, music was very important to David and I. Attending church as regularly as we did opened us to the activity of singing. More importantly at home particularly Mum would have music on constantly. We would visit some of her friends’ homes and again we would be exposed to different artists and styles of music. I never knew what I was listening to until I was a lot older.
From the singing there eventually was introduced the instruments. Our parents weren’t notably talented musicians; Dad knew some of his way around an acoustic guitar, but not enough to confidently play at church. Mum knew her way around a tambourine and that was about it. So it was surprising that all three of their children (for we have an older sister) took to musical instruments pretty quickly.
Of the three of us, however, it was David who had the most natural aptitude for instruments quickly becoming a multi-instrumentalist of a more than competent quality. Aligned with that was a creative outlet enabling him to put thoughts and emotions to words and music creating soundscapes that transported the listener not only through his thinking but theirs also.
It is here that I want to celebrate the beauty of music. In a way that reading text and watching visual experiences cannot capture there is something in music that reaches the intangible part of us. It’s intriguing seeing the role music had on old King Saul. For his mental and spiritual distress, there was something about the right sounds reaching his ears that would soothe him.
To this day, in as much as I am not as conflicted as the old King, I recognise there is a soothing capacity in music. There is an energising ability in it as well. There is something too about connecting with lyrics in the context of the musical meal provided that allows those truths (or lies) to be digested a lot easier.
It’s important as well to consider the effect of music in reinforcing certain approaches and mind-sets. I don’t believe in harmless or neutral music any more than I believe in neutral philosophies. What passed for pop music back in the day (the late 80’s and 90’s) actually was part of a social and cultural malaise that took relationships cheaply and lightly. That’s hardly neutral and harmless.
There is much to celebrate in music, however. It can be used for a great source of good. As a teaching tool it is brilliant to see children grasp truths by the melody and rhythm in the music. As an adult, likewise, it is a delight to reaffirm truths of the world in which we live in the glorious expression of the song and music.
It’s something worth taking great joy in.
Thanks for your time. Enjoy the rest of my brother’s blog.
C. L. J. Dryden