Connecting through Music

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Healing through Creativity 

Imagine a group of eight people sitting in a circle on hard wooden chairs. The room is deafeningly quiet. Eyes fall to the floor, feet shuffle, backs stiffen.

An older woman whispers to the young girl beside her. The girl looks up, then into the eyes of the older woman. There is a moment of hesitation; slowly, the girl nods.

She takes a breath and a soft melody begins to flow from her lips. Its minor key affect the others as they lift their heads, drawn in by the mood. She sings of autumn leaves falling and the natural decay of the world.

The song ends and all eyes are wide. A young man asks where the melody came from. Another talks of the longing he experienced while the girl sang. A conversation is born about loss and hope. The room fills with conversation and connection.

This scene is based on a case study of a music therapy session in The Handbook of Music Therapy. It demonstrates the power of music to act as a bridge to verbal communication and interpersonal connection, transcending preoccupation of personal pain.

Music can have a profound effect on us at critical times in our lives. What emotions do your favourite songs evoke in you?


Today’s 4 Minute Writer      

November Rain

The notes build higher and higher, lifting me off the ground with them. They carry me further and further, and then… suddenly… release me… floating- I’m floating, suspended in the moment.

I soar, letting the note carry me gently through stillness, vapour, and bliss. I am absorbed, my senses hushed.

Then, gently, it brings me back to myself, where I await, patiently, ready to soak in the souvenir of the treasured moment.

The world around me slowly comes back into focus, the fridge, the cupboards, that splatter on the tile. I’m back from my journey through the realm of timelessness and solitude. Back, but not as I was.

Image Source

Use the comment field to suggest a topic, submit your writing on today’s 4 Minute Writer topic (November Rain) or to comment


Filed under Creativity, Writing

10 responses to “Connecting through Music

  1. Great post again today, Zoe: so unusual to find a blogger who asks other people what they think. Most of us just ramble on about ourselves. I note your questioning is drawing an increasing number of responses from online thinkers:-). Wonderful threads on your site.

    I am a flautist and singer, and to me music is like another language. It is an alternative to words, a non-verbal language which can be used in therapy because there are some- for example Autistic pupils of mine- who speak that language better than words. It can move them when nothing else can. I am fluent, and there are times when I love to speak it: but my radio in the kitchen always spouts words, because music shouts loud to me and disturbs my equilibrium. I become moved, and that’s not always peaceful.

    Such wonderful questions, you ask.

    • You are a woman of many talents- flautist, singer, teacher, writer- so many languages to communicate through.
      I tried my hand at playing music when I was in high school. I took electric guitar lessons and spent hours practicing- had the blisters to prove it. My musical career ended abruptly after an episode in which I spent a long time figuring out how to play a short piece by ear. I phoned a friend who was a guitarist and shared the good news with him. He asked me to play the unfamiliar piece a couple of times over the phone. Within seconds I heard him echo back the notes. I realized that my talents must lie elsewhere 🙂

  2. Your writing is exquisite. I have enjoyed your post about music. I agree that music can lift the listener out of one mood into another. The power of music is profound. I listen to music that is calming and inspires hope within me. Blessings to you…

    • Sometimes I think I work backwords- I can tell how I’m feeling by the CD I select. I have my happy-fun ones, edgy ones, uplifting ones, melancholic ones. I may not realize what motivates me to listen to a particular CD until I realize what emotions the music draws to the surface. I find it hard to switch moods and listen to something happy-fun if I’m feeling edgy- it just makes me edgier. Maybe that’s just me…

  3. It’s amazing how our lives are affected by music. I can hear a song & be taken back to a moment in time, just as you described.

    • I’d be curious to know what songs do that for you.
      Whenever I hear “You can’t hurry love”, the Phil Collins version, all I see is the inside of the school bus I took in elementary school. The bus driver played the radio everyday, and for some reason that song is stuck in my head, associated with that time in my life. Go figure…

  4. V

    I think music transcends culture, religion, age, status, time. I think music is an art that is at the heart of every person, literally. Our heart has a rhythm, our breath, our movements. We live music. I think that is why Bjork has got to be one of my musical icons. She creates music using sounds from objects that we in our daily life ignore, like the movement of someone scrubbing a floor, or a window opening and shutting, the clanging of a factory machine etc.

    Music connects us all, even the natural world where it seems to be the only common language amongst all life; the song of a bird, the ribbit of a frog, the buzz of a bee.

    So the emotional connection is profound. Memories are crystallized when it’s attached to sound. Perhaps music is the one language that ultimately unites all sentient beings.

    PS. Love the picture of Slash

    • Cool idea that the sounds we routinely hear throughout the day can be thought of as music. That would make my life more interesting. I’ll have to try that.
      Yes, Slash. Quintessential. An era unto itself. The shot is from the November Rain video. That song has been my favourite since it came out- and that’s a long time now. The music just carries me away…

  5. V

    As I write this, the kitchen clock is ticking to a beat, something that my ears tune into and out of a million times throughout the day.

    I figured it was from November rain. I remember the video so well.

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