Music. What is it about music that touches us, reaches out and grabs us, brings tears to our eyes, makes us want to move, to dance, to smile? It’s elemental, isn’t it? There’s something about harmony, melody, and rhythm that connects us, somehow, to… well, to what I would call Soul, I guess.
Divine Science reveals sound as communicated through the senses of Soul – through spiritual understanding. Mozart experienced more than he expressed. The rapture of his grandest symphonies was never heard. He was a musician beyond what the world knew. This was even more strikingly true of Beethoven, who was so long hopelessly deaf. Mental melodies and strains of sweetest music supersede conscious sound. Music is the rhythm of head and heart. – Mary Baker Eddy
My husband and I recently experienced the great joy of hearing blues guitarist extraordinaire, Joe Bonamassa, at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. From the moment the first note emerged from Bonamassa’s fingertips on the strings, to the moment the last note faded away, a giddy grin took up residence on my face.
And there was something really amazing about sitting in a theatre full of other people caught up in the same tide of inspiration. There was power in that room.
I am one of those people who believes there’s a meaning to life – a meaning greater than merely breathing, breeding, and consuming material things. And, for me, music and art – the things of Soul – are a part of what makes life meaningful. Ray Charles said, “I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when i arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.”
We’ve probably all seen babies who are bobbing up and down to music on their chubby little legs before they ever take their first steps. And we’ve probably all heard babies singing before they speak their first words. (Mom tells me I was singing back to her when I was just weeks old.) Human beings seem to have a built-in appreciation and connection to music from their first days. An attraction to music is not something that babies need to be taught. It comes naturally.
But giving children the skills and training they need to create their own music seems as essential to me as giving children the skills and training they need to write their own words and communicate in written language. Music is an important form of communication, too – in my mind, no less important than writing and reading in the education of a fully-formed and developed human being.
When speaking of education, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “Whatever furnishes the semblance of an idea governed by its Principle, furnishes food for thought. Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause. Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal.”
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything.” – Plato
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Berthold Auerbach
Joe Bonamassa at the Paramount: