Friday, January 15, 2010

If Not For the Music

Whenever I feel miserable or unhappy, or just tired of living life for some reason, I find solace at the piano. That’s when I shut everything out, so that I can hear that imaginary note in my head. And then… I play it – that first note, any note at all. And soon I hear the next one coming, and the next, until it all pours out on the piano: a collection of thoughts and a lot of emotion, weaved into one expressive musical story.

Sometimes it goes on for what seems like a long time. Or a short time. Well actually, time seems to stop. Everything stops, except the music. Until… the musical story finds an appropriate conclusion for itself. A sort of musical “resolution” to whatever conflicting thoughts and unpleasant emotions I’m having. Somehow, the music in me finds a way to resolve and make sense of the gloom and the unhappy mood I sometimes find myself in.

That’s one of the best things I’ve discovered about being able to play an instrument! Playing music clears my mind; it helps me think better, live better. Music frees me. Somehow, someway, it has the power to creep in to my inside world, to touch my feelings, my emotions. It’s an amazing gift of God!

I’ve also discovered that the right music can actually make my brains and memory work better. In my last 2 years of homeschooling, I had a daily habit or routine of playing the piano before I started studies. Most of the time, I would play Christian worship songs or practice a piece. It was mostly for practice sake. Until one day, I discovered how vital this daily routine was to the well-being of my mind, my brain.

That morning, I decided not to play piano before studying. After breakfast, I went straight to work. And for the first time, I found my brains working very “sluggishly”. It took me twice as long to answer questions and I was making slow progress. I knew it wasn’t lack of sleep or anything like that. I had forgotten something as essential as having breakfast: the music.

True enough, after I stopped forcing my brains to work and went to play the piano for 30 minutes, I found myself studying much better! All of sudden, I was more alert and awake. My mind processed the information faster and I didn’t feel like I thoroughly disliked the math I was doing. How awesome, right! :P That’s why I didn’t mind practicing 4 hours a day!

Music is a truly beautiful, glorious thing. I cannot explain it. It’s not merely a sound or noise. It baffles me that by simply listening to certain songs we can be emotionally moved or aroused. Some music can even make us reminiscent of a particular person or occasion. It can spark our creative side and expand the frontiers of our imagination.

Music is unlike language, it does not strictly represent an object or anything at all.
But it can still communicate to people in an intimate way, and sometimes reach deeper than words can. It can shift our moods from light hearted to melancholic. A good piece of music can say a thousand things and spark a vast range of emotions without using any words to fixedly say something. Words can sometimes be flat, but music is almost always so… “3 dimensional” – yea that’s the word! If such a description makes sense!

If not for the music… I think I’d hardly have a life. Thank You God for the music! The music.

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