There is just something about music, in all its dually complex and simple ways. It has a stronghold on our existence, the power to pull us through things we could never imagine facing alone. It gives us the strength and sway to help us persist through the darkness, if not only to provide a glimpse of the light at the end.
Melodramatic may be the word you are looking for right now. I know what you’re thinking, such strong words from a 19-year-old with a whole lifetime ahead of her. How could I feel the extent of these emotions? Hey, maybe you’re right! To you I might sound silly and rehearsed, preaching the ‘healing powers’ of music, but stick with me here. I mean I am a former choir AND band kid, I feel like I have got a say here.
There is truth in music many have spent years attempting to articulate correctly, only to find out the pull of somber chords speaks louder than their words ever could. Poets are left to mope as their sonnets look weak when placed on the same pedestal as certain compositions. There are songs with lines that cut so deep we are left paralyzed, unable to understand how the deepest parts of our souls are being screamed through packed venues. There are melodies so rich they dry the tears that we felt would never stop pouring from our tired eyes. There is overwhelming familiarity and comfort in music that can be found nowhere else.
It has never mattered what mood I was in, music has always been the thing to pull me out. Whether it be sitting at a piano and letting emotions pour from my fingers, or blasting my favorite songs, music was the guiding hand through it all. I know I am not alone in this sentiment. I can’t think of a single person that isn’t devoted to at least one song, artist, instrument, or melody. Take your pick: classical, R&B, rock, alternative, indie, pop, musical theatre… somewhere along those lines you’ve found comfort. I mean, you are reading this for a reason, right?
There are songs that I could link here, examples I could throw in your faces, but throughout reading this I’m sure you have already thought of your own. Surely there is been science behind this. Some sort of chemical reaction in our brains that creates such a strong emotional pull. But honestly, who cares? What matters is what does music mean to you? How does it influence you? Why is it important to YOU?
So, let’s talk about exactly that, how does music help you? I have never seen anyone as passionate as someone who has found solace in music. Fans always come ready to die in the battle of defending their favorite band or song. It is a healthy form of coping, and a way to remind ourselves we are not alone in our trials and tribulations.
Personally, I have found that the one thing that kept me going was my involvement in Choir from a young age. It not only exposed me to some amazing experiences (queue the memories of performing at ‘Disney’s Candlelight Service’), but also showed me how healing any type of music can be. I could walk into the choir room in tears and leave with a smile on my face, I was allowed a brief distraction and time to put my thoughts in place. It also helped that my choir was absolutely amazing and became my second family throughout high school. Another perk of being involved with music, you meet people who love the art just as much as you do and instantly can connect. It was even one of those friends who urged me to write this article, she saw the effect that music has had on me (and all of our friends) and asked me to write about that feeling.
Music has the profound ability to stick with us, even years after we initially experienced that moment, we tend to hold onto those memories (the same way I do with my choir memories all these years later). I mean, how often do you hear people boasting about some random concert back in the ’90s that changed their life? Or a band they just can’t seem to let go of because nothing will ever compare. We hold onto these memories and feelings associated with these songs and spend the rest of our lives searching for something that gives us that same feeling, it’s beautiful.
So, if you still think I am melodramatic, or maybe annoying, and just really like to hear the sound of my own voice, that is okay. I’m writing this for all of my friends who, when left with nothing else, let the music guide the way. The artists who gave us everything they had, just to lose the fight themselves in the end. The bands, who no matter how tired and drained they were, toured one last time because they knew how much we needed it. The musicians who will sit on a stool until their hands are bloody and callused, searching for answers in a string of chords. Music is here to be whatever you need it to be, a reminder, a comfort, a home, a pull-back to reality; it serves you as much as you serve it. Here’s my playlist that has gotten me through: