Music is for…
By Ryan Langford
These days, it seems like everybody wants to be a star. We’re not content to only live with and be known by those around us. Although I’m a fan of technology, it’s seems to me that it has installed gas pedals onto our narcissitic go-carts. It’s as if the modern era has opened our eyes to a world where we are only as valuable as the number of friends (or fans) we have on Facebook, views our videos receive on YouTube, or eyes glued to our T.V. performance on American Idol.
And this obsession flows over into all areas of life, including music – maybe even especially music. E.g. In our culture, music is often seen as a tool to achieve status and fame: Rock stars are cool. Office-Manager-Dad is not. Pop-Princess-Divas (although often allergic to any form of self-restraint) are worthy of emulating. Stay-at-home or Working-Hard-Mom’s are not. So everybody wants to be like the rock stars and pop-princess divas, and nobody wants to be like those people of great character that surround us.
I’m not opposed to choosing a career in music. I have. My colleagues at Resound School of Music have. Many of them are accomplished performers and recording artists in their own right (check out our Teachers Page). I’m just opposed to seeing music treated entirely as a means to self-glorification. Music has far greater purposes and uses than that. Here a just a few of them from my perspective:
- Music is for Enlightenment. Music helps us to understand ourselves and others. It uses a common vocabulary that expands beyond any one language into what one songwriter refers to as “the language of the heart.” It gives us an understanding of the areas of the human experience that live outside of our ability to articulate.
- Music is for Expression. Anyone can express themselves with music. Some of us write our own songs, while others will sing in the shower, and still others of us “express” ourselves by putting on music that fits our mood. But we all can (and most do) enjoy the emotional release that music gives us.
- Music is for Sharing. Think back the some of the most meaningful moments of your life and you will often find the presence of your closest friends and a specific song. For me, it’s dancing with my wife to “Come What May” when we were just starting to fall in love. When we hear the right song at the right time it is an amplifier for that moment; it is a fuel for the fire of the emotion of that fragment in time and when combined with others it results in greater friendship, intimacy, and love.
- Music is for Changing our Perspective. Music connects us to something bigger than ourselves. In every religion music is used as a means of expressing worship or adoration towards a specific person, cause, or deity. As a Christian, I love how music often opens my eyes to glory of the Creator in ways that I had not previously seen. The right music lifts me out of my daily experience and reminds me that that there are more important things to life than my agenda, and there is a purpose to my existence that extends beyond the boundaries of this life.
This is small list and incomplete for sure. What other benefits of music are there? What else do you think music is for…