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Music Versus Life: An Unfinished Symphony

Life is interesting. Each day comes with its own set of joys, sorrows, challenges and big wins…an emotional roller coaster set by what is around us and how we think and feel.  The same can be said for each person that walks this planet. We are all individuals, one of a kind, wondrously made with strengths and weaknesses that mirror no other. How does humankind, its creation and existence affect music?  Think in these terms, each song, sonata, symphony is a combination of notes that are brought together in a series or pattern that create a story or narrative that gives the listener or musician a snapshot in time. Memories are built on the same principle and as our experiences grow, the collection of sounds and narratives grow as well.

Here is a question to ponder…does a song truly end?  Well, to the theorist, the answer would be “Yes”…when you reach the double bar lines at the end of written music (this is your period or exclamation point if you were writing).  While structurally true, I don’t think music or songs truly have an ending – much like life. We can get into the great debate that life has two definitive occurrences; death and taxes; and the destination of the soul is based on your internal belief systems.  Well, life is ever changing based on the environment one finds themselves and so is music. As a universal language, music speaks to the soul, and the influence of each is mutual. What you think, your mood, your situation/circumstance, environment will influence what you listen to.  The same can be said for how music is created.

Think about how composers create…it is based on mood, thoughts, situations/circumstances and environment.  Physical illness, mental illness, loss and addiction: the series of centralized themes found amongst the world renowned composers such as Mozart, Schumann, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky. I had a conversation recently about creativity, composition and mental health with a local mental health provider.  We talked about the work and studies by Dr. Richard Kogan and Dr. William A. Frosch, two psychiatrists that have looked at creativity and mental mindset within the most famous composers across Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras.  Dr. Kogan is unique essentially because he is a classically trained pianist that went on to become a well-known and respected psychiatrist. I would highly recommend reading some of his work and presentations to get a better understanding of how brain structure, environment and mood disorders have generated some of the most famous musical works of art.  I have provided a link to one of the articles that highlight this work Creativity and Mental Illness: Richard Kogan on Rachmaninoff.

What I constantly remind myself is there are good and not so good elements to people and it is when the not so good comes out.  HOW it comes out will give you a true indication of character and where a person is in their life’s journey. The same can be said for music – is it an expression of someone’s positive experiences, thoughts and beliefs:  love, joy, passion, elation, gratitude or is it an expression of negative disappointments: anger, disappointment, depression, anxiety or heartache? Because we live our lives day to day with twists and turns, our song is never truly complete.  It is a symphony that writes itself minute by minute…daily. And, though some will debate this with me, after our physical form is no longer present, it is the memories we created with children, friends, family and others that continue to write our song.  Life is truly an unfinished symphony that continues on through the generations. What does your symphony speak about you?

Tell me about the music inside of you by writing in the comments below.  Tell me how music makes a difference in your life and if you want to know more about private music lessons or music therapy options, email me at Krista@GarrettMusicAcademy.com.

As you may know from reading the blog, I usually choose a cause for donations that varies.  Well, I have a cause close to my heart where music has made a huge difference. The ARC of Southern Maryland is an organization that provides services, job and life skills training for developmentally disabled adults.  I have had the privilege of working with this group for over 10 years and the miracles I see weekly from the impact of music is great.  The joy of song and the freedom it provides cannot be quantified or fully described in words. As a result, this group will remain my focus going forward and I ask that you consider providing a small donation or monthly support for these amazing individuals.  To donate, click the link below and for every donation of $50 or above, with email confirmation, clients will receive a special gift!

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