Music is important. Yesterday, me, my wife and our friend Bill played music at my mother in law’s 90th birthday party. Several people there told us how nice it was to have music at the party, even though most of it was in the background. If pressed, most people could not put their finger on why it was important. Some might say, it added something. I agree. It does add something. Try imagining watching a movie or a TV show without the music. Music sets a mood. Today’s modern cars all have radios and CD players. They used to have cassette and 8 track players before that. Smart phones all have music capability. The Sony Walkman was one of the best selling music players of all time. I would be willing to bet that there are few households in the U.S. that don’t have some kind of music playing device. The invention of the affordable household radio was one of the most important things that happened to modern society. Before the radio, music in the home came from people playing instruments and singing right there in the house. With the advent of the electric radio you could now hear music from across the country and across the globe. It brought the entire world into your living room.
So the question is, why is music important? Music is emotional. It brings out our feelings in ways that we enjoy. Have you ever watched a couple dancing to a waltz? Or people dancing to Rock and Roll? They are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Watch a guitar players face as he or she cranks out a tune. Emotion pours out like water. Music is movement. Rhythm. Place your fingertips on your pulse. There is your rhythm. Everyone has music flowing through them.
We associate music with important events in our lives. Whenever I hear a Hank Williams song I remember my dad and how he loved the old country music. We remember the song that was played at our wedding. My mom plays the piano. Rock and Roll was an important part of my growing up. I loved music so much that I had to learn how to play it. My wife played trumpet in high school and she also plays piano and guitar and sings. Many of our friends are musicians. We are not content with just listening to music. We need to play. We need to feel the vibration of the instrument in our hands, against our bodies. We need to create. Music is important.
When I was a teen I spent my money on records. The vinyl kind. The record sleeve usually had information about the band, called liner notes. I would read every word. I wanted to know who the musicians were, who wrote the music, who the recording engineer was, where it was recorded, everything. When biographies were written about my favorite musicians, I read the books. I spent my youth concentrating on Rock music but as I grew older I started listening to blues and jazz and classical music as well. Today I’m interested in what is called “World Music,” which is just about any ethnic music from other countries. I play hand percussion with drums of African, Arabic, and Irish origins.
Everyone has a favorite type of music. Most of the time, emotions associated with music are good ones that people feel safe expressing. Today’s Rap and Hip Hop appeal to a great swath of young people just as Rock music appealed to the youth of the 60’s. My dad was a country music fan and my mom enjoyed people like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
Music is important because it brings out emotions that we enjoy. It’s safe. And it’s a distraction from the hardships of life. Put a good record on, crank up the volume and you can forget about your troubles for a while. So get to it! Brighten up your life with some tunes.