Music is a universal language connecting moments in time. Music takes people back and brings people to the present. Every song played connects you to a person, a raw emotion, a memory or time.
Music is therapy.
Music is power.
If there is one piece of advice I could pass on generation after generation it would be to learn how to truly appreciate music. Music goes beyond emotions and is powerful enough to develop the mind and body. Once upon a time, I wrote a dissertation on the scientific benefits of music and the effects it has on your brain and health. Music is something that can be enjoyed and experienced in all stages of life. A study done in 2015 lists not knowing how to read music or playing an instrument as the most common regret amongst adults. It also landed as one of the Top 20 biggest life regrets amongst a study done in the United Kingdom.
Music is universal. It is also never too late to learn how to read music or to take on a deeper knowledge and respect of all genres. Challenge yourself.
It isn’t a secret that music has always been a large part of my life. Thanks to my mama, a true love and appreciation of music began at quite the young age, singing with her at church functions and attending Christian artist concerts like Amy Grant. In middle school, she FORCED me (yes, it’s true) to take up an instrument and am I ever glad she did. Playing an instrument came naturally to me. As an 11th grader from southwest rural Iowa, I auditioned and was accepted into the Omaha Youth Orchestra and traveled to Omaha weekly (thanks, mom) for rehearsals. It was my first experience playing with high caliber musicians and set me up for my experiences playing at a collegiate level. Playing an instrument is what I was good at… but not something I ever took terribly seriously. It was fun for me. An outlet. With that said, had I maybe practiced a little more I wouldn’t have botched a few of my solo’s during my college senior recital. Yeesh. Nightmares. Y’all, I LOVE to play, but I don’t like being the ONLY person in the middle of a massive stage, with a ballgown on, under hot ass lights, playing for an hour to a very, VERY large crowd. You’d think those solo recitals that we had to play each semester for four years would have prepped me for that big moment. It wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t something I ever want to repeat.
Anyway, I digress.
It’s not about being the best performer. It’s not about even playing an instrument. It’s about learning to appreciate and understand music at its core. Feel the emotions, put yourself into the composer or writers thoughts and mind, feel the raw emotion embedded in the harmony.
After leaving the world of music teaching in 2011 I found myself yearning to get back to playing music again in 2017 and found myself at the door of the Nebraska Wind Symphony. My first concert with them last Fall felt right. The music repertoire isn’t near the caliber I had in college, but that’s ok. It’s not about the challenge anymore. It’s about feeling the music, having fun and feeling connected to something I deeply love, again. I have a lot of hobbies under my name, but this is one that I left behind. It’s nice to see it again.
Our last concert for the 2017-18 concert season is Sunday, April 15th at the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Our music selection is surrounded by the sounds of spring and will leave you feeling light, happy and ready for sunshine and warmth.
The NWS is comprised of a broad spectrum of individuals. From recent-ish college grads to retired lawyers, we make up the meaning of “music is universal”.
Hope to see you there!