Life With a Musician

Why is it that the Rolling Stones, Tony Bennett and Bruce Springsteen keep working? It’s not for the reason my mother-in-law believes, “they need the money.” For me, the following quote comes to mind, “Music is not what I do, it’s who I am.” Most creative people don’t just stop creating, it is a large part of their being. It is who they are.

When I think of music icons that continue to draw a crowd year after year, I totally get it. Fans pay to see them, hear them, experience them because these artists move us. Their work brings enjoyment or meaning to our lives. Could you imagine if the corporate world could move people enough to demand tickets for a live performance of their work? Outside of Take Our Kids to Work Day and a random intern, I don’t normally see an audience following staff around the office. When enthusiasts go to a venue to listen and watch musicians they are experiencing the musicians at work! For the talent, it may not feel like work, but it is their work and that work genuinely has the power to move us. How wonderful!

Being married to a musician, I am immersed in music. Truth be told, sometimes even when I don’t want to be. For the most part, I love it. It doesn’t hurt that dancing is also one of my many passions. Before I met Michael, I certainly understood the benefits of music: what it can do for one’s mood, encourage exercise, bring people together.

Music therapy professionals have been around for many years, but as a formal profession there’s no secret why it continues to garner attention. Benefits are countless and the science clearly supports this. Studies show music can reduce anxiety, promote happiness, unite people, improve creativity. Music can be used to help us remember information, boost brain chemicals, it soothes, energizes and motivates. Music training can improve our motor and reasoning skills. It teaches tenacity, discipline, commitment, and makes one appreciate the value of a process. Its benefits can last a lifetime. It’s really nothing short of magic.

Johnny Cash suffered from a serious case of neuropathy. He was once asked if there was anything that stopped the pain. He replied, “yeah, the music.” Studies clearly underscore the evidence that it can help people push through their pain.

Did you ever have the chance to see a movie without its sound track? The experience is nothing short of flat, there’s a massive void. The soundtrack, no matter how subtle, engages us and heightens our emotions.

It would be fascinating if life had a daily soundtrack. It would underscore the experience. I know I’d appreciate the right music coming through loud and clear as I courageously faced down a difficult task, pushed to complete those extra sit-ups, or when I succeeded beyond my wildest expectations.

Although we can’t go around literally living our lives with a soundtrack, we can use music to bring day-to-day life to another level. I’ve always been amazed when my husband is having a bad day, he can simply escape to his instrument and later return as if a new man. I may not be able to make an instrument sing, but for me watching him has underscored the importance of living a life that is filled with music.

I was reminded of this recently when I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of musicians at a fundraising event. I was sharing my personal experience and several of the group members started to laugh. When I asked them why, they said, “Yeah, we get it. When our piano player hits the keys, he levitates 4 inches off the floor. There’s no getting to him. He’s in his zone, safe from everything else in the world.”

So whether it’s soul, jazz, classical, punk, hip hop, country, rock, turn it on and turn it up. I guarantee I will continue to sing in the rain.

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