Friday, March 7, 2008

Music, healing and community

So...I'm sitting in the doctor's office, leafing through a magazine, and I come upon an article about Operation Happy Note. This is a group of people who send musical instruments to deployed US troops as a morale builder. One soldier mused that people who formerly would go off by themselves with their iPods were now sitting around together, playing and singing and laughing. What a lovely thing.

Music has a way of forming connective tissue between us. I see and experience it several times a week, and it's one of the best things I know of. Making music is one of very few human activities that's simultaneously mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social. A group of people making music works together with both intention and spontaneity. They are working on something beautiful, lifted out of themselves, swept into a spirit of play like preschoolers with a Crayola 64-pack and some really big paper. The best perk of my job as a conductor is to witness that joy and creative absorption on their faces (even Lutherans become expressive when they're singing!). No wonder conductors live long lives--we get to live in the center of positive, generative energy.

Feeling badly? Go sing something, and do it as if no one was listening. Don't worry about being gorgeous and perfect; just DO it. You'll feel better. :-) Better yet, join a choir or a band or an orchestra. PLAY, and make it possible for others to do the same. We'll all be better for it.

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