Monday Musings....Dialogue with the Door - The Elixir that Energizes Us

Valentine’s Day, 2013. It was 3:30 p.m. and they we were - 20 or so Fire students and myself rockin’ out with Vic, our lone business student in the class. Vic’s voice filled the room with energy and emotion as he played his original songs and took requests for covers and before we knew it, we were all joining in. It was awesome! I’ll never forget it. Our class was in a three hour block and most of the guys had Fridays off so they could have skipped and gone home or been out with their girlfriends. But there they were, jammin’ and learning about what keeps us moving along in life. The course was Organizational Behaviour – the topic Motivation – and Vic gave us exactly what we needed.

Next to cycling, music has to be my ‘go to’ stress reliever. In fact, I usually combine the two and get completely lost in my head space. Obviously music means a lot to other people too by the volume of responses to this question posted on my door.

What is it about music that can change our mood, bring comfort or clarity to a situation we are struggling with, or simply just make us want to dance? Music is really a whole body experience – mind, heart, soul, and physical being. It affects every part us – to the very core. But why? The answer came from Vic. He reflected that we all crave energy. Music, with it's combination of physical vibrations, sonic elements, lyrics, and vocals has the amazing ability to create that energy. And we certainly felt it in the classroom that day. Vic explained that music has tremendous power to affect every part of us, especially our mood, so it's interesting to think of the types of songs we listen to and the effect they have on us. Clearly, music meets us where we are at.

So, where are you at? Where were my basement buddies at in their head space when they told me their favourite song? I kept my pledge to my unknown companions and listened to every single song. Wow! What an eclectic mix. From classic rock, to current pop, and everything in between. I tried to think of why this particular selection would have been someone’s favourite. What energy did that song produce for them?

Listening to a song for the first time, well, it needs to get us at hello. As soon as we hear the introduction to the piece, we assess the tone, the tempo and decide whether this will be enough to sustain our attention, to build that energy. We tune in or we tune out. We turn it up or we turn it off. We need to connect somehow with the music and believe that it understands us in the moment. If it passes that 15 second test, and we start to feel the music, we’ll accept the invitation to continue listening. If we have lots on our mind, and we are looking for comfort or counsel, we wait to hear the lyrics. How many times have we thought – “Man! That musician gets me! That's exactly what I needed to hear!” And suddenly, whatever we are facing starts to feel manageable, in the moment – it’s as if the song has wrapped its arms around us and assured us it understands what we are thinking and what we are feeling. A song can sometimes provide more support than the people around us. How interesting!

Music, then, is the perfect mental health professional. There’s no waiting months for an appointment; we can choose when we want to ask for help; we can even choose a different song or genre that provides the right vibe; and the 3 and a half minute session often gives us exactly what we needed! Music doesn’t judge us. No - music understands the human condition.

I’m so very grateful that someone, somewhere, took the risk to change the tone of their voice to create rhyme and rhythm in perfect pitch to soothe the mind, heart, soul, and body. And Vic Spacey, I’m grateful for you – you’re one of the best instructors I’ve ever had. Keep on teaching and reaching others through your music!

His song, Universal, is linked to my page this week!

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