I’ve written here before about how music touches lives, opens hearts, and even brings back memory. Music may not be entirely unique to humans, but it is definitely a primal need: throughout our history, music has soothed us, aided us in celebration and in mourning, been indispensable in our rituals, driven cultural revolutions, fueled protests, and been one of the most popular forms of entertainment for centuries, whether it’s Grandpa on the porch with a banjo or Madonna on an arena stage surrounded by sexy dancers and pyrotechnics.
When considering RSM, it’s helpful to recall that before she was a healer, Ilana Rubenfeld was a Julliard-trained symphonic conductor. The extent to which music informed her work is great, and really masterful sessions can have the qualities of a well conducted symphony: separate movements, swells and climaxes, gentle andante sections, elegant resolutions.
Music moves through the body just as touch does: sound is literally vibrations which not only get translated to sound in the air, but can sometimes be felt in other parts of the body. Think of how a really low bass note will vibrate your belly, or how drums shake the floor. And partly because of this, music can move us in more direct ways than other things can: music is intimately connected with emotion, and for many people there is nothing that can bring tears or smiles more easily than a well-placed strain of music.
For me, this phenomenon becomes even more profound when I’m the one making the music. Yesterday I again got to sing with the wonderful Back Bay Chorale, and we sang a new piece along with the Mozart Requiem. I was going through some personal difficulty this weekend, but predicted that singing the Mozart would help a great deal.
I was thrilled with how right I was about it. Breathing deeply, singing fully, letting that gorgeous lamentation for the dead flow through my body made me feel freer and stronger. Being surrounded by 120 other voices, an orchestra, and world-class soloists peeling the paint off the walls also helped.
Even if you don’t feel like you can make your own music, though, when you’re having a hard time, let music help you. Play it loud in your living room and lie on the floor to let the vibrations literally move you, or wear headphones in your bed. Blast your favorite song in your car as you drive. Let the music you love vibrate your ears and your cells to a new place. Believe me, it helps.