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The magical, healing effects of music

By Jean Brody

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says, “Music is the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession. It is the vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sound having rhythm, melody or harmony.” It comes from the word “muse.”

Music is the universal language. Every culture, every country, even every village has it’s own music style. Yet, every style touches a person’s soul, usually making the hearer move.

Music can get into your head and you can actually hear it. Maybe that is why memories kick in when we listen to music, making it a part of us.

Let me ask you some questions. Do mountains really sing? When I’m in the mountains, I hear music. Or is it my own heart that begins the melodic beat that matches the music?

What I do know is mountains are stoic and unmovable. They seem to me to sing of strength and speak of permanence. It is the kind of sound that thuds my chest and makes me try to accept the joy that makes my heart beat a little faster. Music of the mountains strengthens me.

Another experience that has reached my soul through music is when I walked the ocean’s edge. Oh yes, the water sings of movement. The tide comes in and out like the breath of an angel. No matter what is going on in my life, still I see and hear it tell of a definite rhythm of life and it calms me. The message of the ocean is its sweet reassurance that our life is connected with the life of the universe.

But we don’t have to go to the mountains or the oceans to understand the effect music has on us. Do you know I keep soft music going all day long? Not only do I love how it makes me feel but it also keeps my two cats happy and calm.

Right here at Brookdale Littleton, we very often have musicians here. It’s the one thing that brings residents out of their rooms the most.

I watch as they react to the sounds and the beat and the joy of singing along. They usually tap their foot or clap their hands. I see faces glaze over as a sweet memory comes to them because of the music.

Is that why, do you suppose, we respond to the sound of music? Listen, I am a complete romantic, and even if certain notes are played together, the sound is so touching and romantic, I cry! Not of sadness, then what is it?

One time Gene and I went to a bar with my son and his wife. The main reason for going was the music. As we sang along with the small band, two of the waitresses grabbed each other and started dancing in and out among the tables. They were laughing and their happiness opened the door for others to give in to wanting to move.

A young daddy took his little girls hand and led her to listen and move with him to the beat. They danced together and it made her whole body smile.

Then there was the older couple keeping time to the beat with their hands to the tabletop. Suddenly the lady reached down and took off her shoes and the man did the same, kicking his shoes aside and off they went. I mean, they were having the time of their lives holding each other closely and feeling the music.

Different generations, different feelings, all responding to the magical sound of music.

I am convinced that music is everywhere for anyone who will open up and listen. It touches us physically and emotionally. I truly cannot imagine this world without it.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.