While listening to songs on my phone today, there were some that I just had to stop and focus on completely, sometimes with eyes closed.
Music has a way of taking you someplace else in an instant. One minute you may be typing away at a keyboard with a lot of things on your mind and then the next you are transported to a scene from high school, a moment with someone special years ago, the occasion of some spiritual high, or some memory you would rather forget. I don’t know how the brain is wired, but it is remarkable that such an impact is possible.
In recent years as the parents of friends have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, I have marveled with others when names of spouse and family members might be forgotten day after day, but hymns and songs they’ve known for years remain with them. There is something about music and the brain that survives the damage of this and some other diseases.
We have different musical tastes. That’s expected. Swapping playlists with other family members, friends or coworkers would probably drive us all bonkers in no time. We like what we like in part, I think, because there is an emotional or experiential connection with it. It isn’t just the mere sounds, rhythm, instruments or lyrics. It’s the whole experience and the meaning wrapped up in it.
Most of us have our preferred decades of music with artists and favorite songs that never get old even if the artists still occasionally performing them are quite old (and covered with more wrinkles than a Chinese Shar-pei puppy). I like hearing some of their old songs, but I can frankly do without the visual of such artists today or their attempts to reach notes more easily reached decades ago.
In light of the possibility that music may be what I retain one of these years more than other memories, perhaps I’d better fill my head with more wholesome things than not. I’d hate to have my children come visit me in “the home” only to hear me singing “I’m about to whip somebody’s a**.”
Leap year lesson #305: Music resonates with the soul.