Friday, October 24, 2014

What I Love About Music

What I love about music is the way that it frames the moment. The way a single push of a button or dropping of the fingers on the piano can charge and change the air. One moment, you’re in a silent room in San Francisco and the next, it’s a moonlit night in Bali or a back porch in Appalachia or a smoky, dim jazz club in New York in the 1950’s. A short intro. and the entrance of singers and what was that first girlfriend’s name again and do you remember that first kiss? Or the folksinger’s picked acoustic guitar and why do I feel like I’m 20 again humming to myself walking down leaf-strewn paths in an Ohio woods dreaming my future? The violins of Beethoven and I'm tucked in bed up in my small room in my childhood New Jersey home reading The Wind in the Willows. All those soundtracks to the life I’ve lived, each a path to re-visit the nooks and crannies of my (as is your's)  unique and singular life.

Music can do that. It can also define the era you’re in now or beckon you forth into your next incarnation of self with the music that opens up yet another portal to the heart, opens another window in the imagination. Each night, we decide what to cook to feed the body. Why not choose each night, by CD or the efforts of your own voice and fingers, the particular food you need for the soul?

The house to myself last night, a rare happening, and the good sense to fill it with music that changed it and brought it all into focus just in the way I needed and wanted. First piano versions of Opera Arias and then Benny Green’s breathtaking acrobatics on the piano swinging from the notes of “Ain’t She Sweet” and then an old forgotten CD of various classical pieces performed by a saxophone quartet. It was one way of feeling wholly at home in my house. A house after all, is just wood and bricks and mortar. But when it’s filled with music, it can become the home you want, the home you need. So simple! All you have to do is remember to listen, refuse the distractions of too much e-mail or TV or busy work and the like and lay down on the floor between the speakers or seatbelt yourself into the piano bench for hours on end.

Nietzche had it right. “Without music, life would be an error.”

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