What would we be without music? Familiar tunes and memories; excitement, relaxation, poignancy, pathos, or saying just exactly how you feel; hitting the nail on the head or expressing something which is beyond words. Whether you are alone or with others, it gives an extra dimension to the experience of life. These extra dimensions can be anything from the smallest hint of empathy and familiarity to something so great it reaches far above life-changing.
I came into music at the life-changing level. Without music, I would have no sense of being unique. Too often we can be too focused on fitting in; the media is awash with messages directing us to aspire to a comfortable contented stylish lifestyle. It can also be deceptive. We can be encouraged to stand out from the crowd or to break away from convention; usually by buying an everyday form of motor transport that sticks us on the road to join the queue with all the other victims of an overcrowded, underfunded road system. And when you’re in a traffic jam, what helps? Grooving along or chilling to your favourite sounds. That’s you being unique, by the way.
Without music, I would never have understood that barriers can be broken. What would I have done without music? It may not have been horrendous. I may easily have found a good steady, even enjoyable occupation which led me onto all the other trappings of a nice comfortable life. There would have been many exciting and fulfilling moments as well.
But it was the day I found the joy of playing with others. Others like me, who were beginning to fall in love with the warm communal cohesion of collective performance, were also going through identical heartfelt revelations.
From music, I developed a sense of heightened sensitivity. It was an awesome sort of thing. It gave me a belief. I looked at the musicians around me. There were the ones I played with and the ones I listened to.
When I was a teenager, where was my favourite place? Where would it be for most teenagers? A mate’s house, a club, a football ground, the street corner? Mine was the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
There I saw people who were making a living out of music. I didn’t believe for a minute that I may follow in their footsteps; I wasn’t good enough. But what I did believe was that I could create a career for myself that I could actually enjoy; one that could lift me out from the daily grind my father warned me about and give me something worthwhile. I did it. And music was still playing a huge part.
Music truly gives us extra dimensions. I can listen to so many pieces and relate them to the emotions of daily life. Then I can hear some pieces which spell out all aspects of personal drama such as unrequited love or abject cruelty and the anguish which flows painfully from it. Then there are the unknown or the unproven dimensions. No matter how much we discover about our amazing world and the universe around it, only a piece of music can depict how we feel about it. The same goes for religion and the after-life.
Let me finish with some examples:
Unrequited love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HI8hfz-To4
You may have your own ideas. These are mine and I celebrate yours.