Music: the invisible vitamin

June 9, 2008

I am thinking about the word “moved” as in “I was ‘moved’ by her performance.”

This state of being “moved” is perhaps a self-induced sense of well being, often at the point of tears — being overwhelmed by an emotion, an emotion that if you give into it you will cry, and if you don’t, you’ll have a lump in your throat, making it difficult to speak or sing. While being moved by something, it is common for the hair on my arms to stand straight up. This phenomenon is referred to as getting goose bumps, or “chills down my spine” or other descriptive phrases.

I’m certain I could find some document explaining the biochemical fireworks that go on during the state of being “moved” but I’m happy to just experience it.

We are moved by many things, but very often it is music that moves us regularly. In this way, composers and their associates, performers are in many ways pharmacists and magicians. By disturbing the air in a particular manner, they can lull an audience into a trance as if they were under a spell or on drugs. I try to remind my students of that fact. And like any talent, skill, or ability, one must use it with discretion and not abuse it.

Being moved by something carries with it a life tonic that is very much like a built in therapist and exorcist. Whether singing along in your car or with your iPod or with an orchestra, music moves us, changes us, invigorates us.

Music is the invisible vitamin.

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