It is your story. My story. Our Story. We have often resorted to the comfort, succour, hope, nostalgia, and pleasure that music evokes. Not as music artists and singers. Or as directors, producers, and connoisseurs of music. But as pure and simple listeners and music lovers.
Music bestows on us generously. Lifting our moods, voicing our feelings, driving away the blues, lilting our bodies…and saving us – from heartaches big and small, minor, and major disappointments and at times, from bigger catastrophes as well.
Like books, art, and nature, we often reach out to music during our deepest, darkest, and happiest times. But unlike the others, music has a universal appeal and strikes an instant chord and immediate connection. Every so often, a wafting tune changes our mood instantly, a song immediately transforms the ambience and a total stranger with a shared love for music becomes a friend.
Classical, contemporary, retro, modern, pop, ghazal, instrumental, rock, jazz – music has the immense power to awaken our senses, create resilience, trigger hope that changes our perspectives, raises our broken spirits, and help us soar. We have all experienced how our favourite songs have pulled us from the depths of despair.
That song saved my life – is not just a saying. I know of a friend who was suffering from severe depression and was often driven towards suicidal thoughts. During one of her lowest moments, while driving to office she sat listening to a couple of songs being aired on a radio show which portrayed how anguish and hurt are intrinsic to being human. “It was as if the songs were speaking to me, assuaging me that I am not alone and there are many who share my feelings. I could feel a major shift in me and after a long time I suddenly saw a ray of hope,” she shared.
Music may or may not be a barrier between life and death. But when one is filled with despondency, the difference between literal and metaphorical redemption blurs and music finds a way to intervene and become a saviour. In the form of blinking lights that lead our way out of the darkness. Sometimes, you don’t need a therapist to recover and rejuvenate. Your favourite soulful music or a beloved singer will do the job equally well.
Music therapy is now a widely practised form of both psychological and physical treatment. Doctors and counsellors across the world use music, lyrics, and melodies to induce recollection of memories for people suffering from debilitating diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Music has been proven to help patients heal from trauma and shock, reduce depression, and generate positivity for better healing. Sometimes, patients are asked to create their own music and at other times, they listen to their favourite songs to calm their agitated minds and relax. Listening to music boosts dopamine, lowers cortisol thus reducing ones’ stress considerably. And at times, it is the only medicine that the heart and soul need.
All of us know the way certain songs can help us discover the inner strength and resilience within us to rise in the face of adversity. And suddenly, the problem is no longer as big, deep, or troubling anymore. In a way, music functions as a crucial catalyst during our trying times and its strength holds us together.
The impact of music’s on our mental well-being is a long-established fact. It brings us pleasure, heals wounds, eases our sufferings, calms us down, helps us manage our pain and sleep better. Likewise, it boosts our self-esteem, pumps us up, energises us by instilling a sense of purpose and causes us to be more productive. Most importantly, music makes us feel good which is surely worth a lot.
Another feeling that most music lovers would have had felt at some time or other is the intense feelings of gratitude that it evokes. And which in turn accelerates a sense of wellbeing and security. The way it makes us count our blessings, soothes our heart and gratifies our mind. The feeling that the world is a beautiful place and all is well with the world. We all know our need and longing for such sentiments which music fulfils so often.
Also, the way songs have the wondrous capacity to empower us to see hope and enhance self-love. When we are feeling morose and glum, music has a miraculous way of arriving, picking us up, taking our hand and guiding us on a path, which is uplifting.
The instant emotional outlet that music offers is unparalleled. When you are melancholic or ecstatic and then listen to a deep, profound song penned by your favourite poet and sung by your much-loved singer – the words become all yours and the voice too. Many times, it helps us speak words we always cannot express
It helps us process our feelings and vent them out, making us shed those long stowed tears, bringing that smile on our lips and a spring in our steps, taking us away from ourselves for a few hours. Music is perhaps that rare creative art form that expresses a complexities of emotions, feelings, situations, and relationships with which people from varying backgrounds identify.
It’s the music we often reach out to when we want to relax, slow, and calm down. It soothes our aching muscles and mind just like our favourite friend, family member or a pet reaching out to absorb all our weariness. Music speaks to us and yet has the same restorative effect as silence, helping us to drift away to places of tranquillity and imagination.
One of the most endearing associations with music is the way it triggers our memories and evokes moments and nostalgia which very few forms of art have the power to conjure. People on their deathbed with failing memories are known to have shown sparks of recognition and light when their favourite music was being played. It’s strange, how each period of our lives are also neatly categorised not so much by events or episodes but by the kind of music we were familiar with or loved. Famous singer Stevie Wonder had so rightly said, “Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.”
Our life is infused with music of different kinds. All our personal and professional celebrations, ceremonies, events, spiritual pursuits – moments and events big and small are etched with music in some form or the other. It connects people, feelings, experiences like no other and in a spark of a moment, we plunge into that colossal flow of humanity, identifying, empathising, and feeling much more.
Music in so many ways is symbolic of the intricacies of life which cannot be otherwise expressed and it makes you feel a significant part of something bigger. It is a million little comforts, pleasures, memories, and distractions that help us course through the spectacle called Life.