The Magic of Music
MUSIC. It adds a sweetness to life. We sing along with it, tap our feet to it, work out to it, and let it rock us to sleep. Experts say it has the potential to lighten our mood, reduce anxiety, decrease fatigue, boost exercise performance, even unite us. Best of all, I believe it transports us from where we are—to the time and place it first found us.
I’m cruising down the freeway right now—writing the first draft of this blog in my head—I’ll transcribe it later. The radio is on a seventies Pandora station. Eyes on the road. Windows down. Volume up. Heart and mind—wide open. And I feel the music transport me to the places I first heard it—or where it resonated with me.
“Close to You” by The Carpenters starts to play, and I subtly slip back to the place I learned how to drive. I hear my father’s voice coaching me. He is patient and kind—and I am over confident. Typical sixteen-year-old. He teaches me on the back roads of a cemetery. “If something goes wrong,” he teases, “we’re already here.” I laugh and feel the anticipation—and prestige—of getting my license soon. As a single parent, after my mom’s death, he will teach six children how to drive. Gosh, I miss him.
James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” plays. My mind drifts back to the thrill of my first date in high school. It went well. We would date three years. A few minutes later, Bread’s “Make it With You” begins, and it is my senior year at the Homecoming dance. We’re on the Homecoming court together—and at seventeen—I feel like somebody. “Where did the time go?” I ask myself, glancing out the window as I whiz past the farm fields.
Five miles down the road, Elton John greets me with “Rocket Man,” and it launches me to prom—and my unforgettable (or forgettable) baby blue tuxedo. Loved prom—but the baby blue tux, not so much. (Proof not every memory is good.)
On the open road, as the wind blows through my hair, I notice how every song jars loose its own memory. America is now singing “A Horse with No Name” and I am recalling my job in high school at Turnstyle Family Center, a precursor to Shopko. Great place to work. Fantastic coworkers. Deep, meaningful friendships. A simpler time. I marvel at this carefree stage of life.
Suddenly, I am painting my college dorm room at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, and preparing for advanced advertising and marketing classes as Carly Simon belts out “I haven’t Got Time for the Pain” followed by “I’ve Got a Name” by the late Jim Croce. Little did I know the relationships I cemented in college would last a lifetime.
An hour down the highway, the music continues to escort me back to one of the happiest days of my life—my wedding day—as Dan Fogelberg softly sings “Longer,” a song we featured in our ceremony that still resonates with us. She was a gift to me that day—and today—forty-two years later.
During my three-hour drive, a random Pandora playlist transports me to different phases of life—giving me an opportunity to be thankful for the people and places that etched poignant memories into the fabric of my life. As I breathe the fresh air, under a cloudless blue sky, I realize something more than ever before:
The magic of music is its uncanny ability to
shrink the distance between the past and present—
and bring to the forefront
memories buried in the far corners of my mind.
Memories, if unassisted by music, may be forgotten forever.
Regardless of your favorite style of music, it offers you both intended—and unintended benefits. For me, one of those unintended benefits is allowing me to live my life twice—and enjoy the music—during the ride.
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: We all love music—perhaps for different reasons. What have been the most significant benefits of music over the course of your life?
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Here is an article you might enjoy on the benefits of music in your life.
Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash.com