Music Saves Your Soul


Imagine, if you will, trying to live without something you absolutely love. I truly believe for me and mine it would be music. I grew up l-o-v-i-n-g music! I just never knew how difficult it was going to be to write about it. Music is such a personal taste and it's extremely hard to put into words how it affects us, individually or collectively. After writing my last blog on the topic "What Makes You Dance?" I knew I wanted to write about how music makes us feel and I found myself soul-searching a bit deeper. I came up with several more questions to pose to my granddaughters, thinking it would be interesting to see our similarities and differences in music:

WHO INSPIRED YOU AND WHY? Was it the lyrics? The sound of the singer's or band's voice or instruments? The interpretation of the music? Name some musicians, their songs you like most and exactly what it is you like about their music.

WHAT SONGS HAVE TOUCHED YOUR SOUL? Did they make you cry, give your chills, change your life in some way?

WHAT SONGS ZIP YOU BACK IN TIME? Describe that time and place in your life. How old were you? Why do these particular songs have such a deep meaning for you?

WHAT MAKES YOU DANCE? Do you have a dance song list? Have you put them on your play list? Do you dance around the room to these songs? What are they? Do you choreograph dances in your head to any songs?

WHAT SONGS GIVE YOU HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? Are any of them about virtues, living by the Golden Rule, doing the right thing?

HAVE YOU DEVELOPED AN APPRECIATION FOR ANY GENRE OF MUSIC YOU THOUGHT YOU'D NEVER LIKE? What genres are they? Name some artists and songs you like from these genres.

Well, wow, how on earth did I think I was going to answer all of these questions with my granddaughters in just one blog post? What was I thinking? Never fear, gentle readers, we will get around to answering every one of these, so I humbly ask for your patience from week to week while I reveal the answers gradually.

First, I have to share with you our oldest granddaughter Jain's recent eighth-grade science fair project. Unbeknownst to me, as I had all these questions swirling around in my head, she came up with the topic "How Do Teens React to Different Genres of Music?" Her hypothesis was that classic rock would make the majority of people feel good. Thirteen school-appropriate genres were researched: rock, classic rock, indie rock, folk rock, upbeat classical, downbeat classical, pop, R&B, reggae, hip hop, country, jazz and blues. Songs and artists were identified for each genre, and her teacher made an excerpt 20 seconds long for each song. Classmates took a survey that asked, "Does this music make you feel positive or negative?" All answers were anonymous. After tallying the answers, a pie graph and bar graph were created for each genre. The results indicated that among her peers, reggae and R&B made them feel happiest. The biggest surprise? Folk rock got absolutely no votes. She sought answers for 1) how music changed people's lives and 2) how different music genres affected people's moods. She discovered music gives off different sound waves and affects different parts of the body, thus creating the emotion depending on what mood you are in already. For instance, people going through a breakup like music that reflects their sad mood.

Jain's project was a huge success. Not only did her middle-school peers come up to her with questions and comments, but several interested adults engaged her in musical conversations, too! This topic is so vitally important to her, and she was beyond thrilled that her project hit a collective nerve among the science fair participants and their families. Music is most definitely something she cannot live without. She even hopes to use music therapy as part of her future career.

So, gentle readers, in my next few blog posts I will address all those other questions as answered by my granddaughters, my daughter and myself. We are so blessed to be a musical family and hope you find the same enjoyment with your grands, too! Please share your stories with us. We'd love to hear from you!

And remember, as Grampy always says,