The Significance of Music in My Life.

I hope it’s okay if I write a little something more personal here on my blog this evening.  I have had some thoughts on my mind that are burning within me, and I feel I must write them out.

This morning I got up and saw my husband off on another ultra-marathon race, and then took my boys to a funeral of a little girl that passed away (we know the family). And then this evening, I played in a flute recital as an accompanist.

To say the least my emotions today have gone from excitement, to sadness and grief, to happiness. As I sat there and listened to these talented high-schoolers performing this evening, it really hit me how much music had effected me this week, today in particular.  I was in awe, as if it were the first time, at realizing how much music impacts each and every one of us; How absolutely significant it is in our lives.

You would think as a musician, I would know this.  I dare say, I don’t know the extent my own music has on other people.  I do receive lovely comments from many of you and I cherish them.  But I DO know the impact that music has on me…

At the funeral earlier today, we sang the hymn “How Great Thou Art”, and I watched many people in the congregation unable to sing because they were so affected by the song and its meaning and words (me included). The tragic passing of one so sweet and young – the music not only touched our hearts but healed us as well. So many beautiful and meaningful words were offered, and the words did help…but not in the same way that the music did. At least for me. During the service, the family’s children, nieces and nephews all got up and sang a song, “I Am a Child of God”, and it was so emotional. There is something about hearing little children sing that is so touching.

This evening, trying to pull my emotions together as I had just come home from the funeral and then had to prepare for the recital, I mentally had to flip a switch and get into a different mode (not to mention turn into full mom-mode as well, as my hubby was still running his race and not home to help out). I turned on Seattle’s classical radio station, as I was performing on a Bach piece this evening, I needed to have “Classical brain” tonight.  And of course my favorite radio program was on, “From The Top”  with Christopher O’Reilly.  If you’re not familiar, it is a nationally broadcast radio show on Saturday nights where the host (Christopher) has a young person (usually between the ages of 8 and 18) perform Classical music.  The children are usually prodigies, but the great part is afterwards he interviews them and it’s always funny and insightful – and they of course always say funny kid stuff and seem very non-classical-musician-ish.

Tonight there was a 10 year old pianist, and she talked about some hard events that had happened in her life – living in a domestic violence shelter with her mom, having all of their personal belongings stolen by an abusive father. Through it all, music was her solace – and you could see the impact it’s had on her life and how it’s been her rock (as well as her mom).  Through all she’d been through, she still managed to play and perfect her musical ability. Her story touched me.

At the recital this evening, as I listened to these young flutists perform, I recognized the Bruch Violin Concerto (arranged for flute) that was performed, and it took me back 10 or so years ago to when I was in college as a member of my university’s symphony orchestra when we performed that same piece of music. I was filled with nostalgia with each note I heard this evening – as if I was sitting there in the concert hall of my college watching my conductor wave his baton.  I remembered all of a sudden, the practice rooms and what my life was like then.  The hours and hours of practicing…

Every time I have attended a live performance lately, I have been so affected. So inspired.

And then I realized, today, what music does is that it takes each of us back somewhere.  Music creates a memory within us from the time we hear it – and we make an association. Whenever I hear the Bruch Violin Concerto, I will think about college.  Whenever I hear “How Great Thou Art”, I will remember the sweet little girl that passed away.  “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” – Aaron Copeland.

This evening, after my husband returned home from his 50K ultra-marathon – I was asking him how he did.  Usually I’m able to attend his races and be there from start to finish, and I was a little sad today that the kids and I weren’t able to be there for him.  You know what he told me?  He told me that as he was coming into the finish of the race, he had my song “Illumination” playing on his MP3 player and it lifted him up, even to the point of having tears in his eyes, as he felt me there with him through my music.

And all this time I really haven’t gotten it.  But today I did.  Today I got it.

What is the significance of music in MY life? It’s everything.  It speaks my emotions for me.  It is my solace.  It is part of my spirituality.  It is an expression of my love. And if my gift in music can do for someone else what other wonderful musicians out there do for me through their talent and hard work –  then I would feel like I had succeeded.

I received this comment on my Guestbook this past week, and it touched me:

“I bought this album as I happen to go on music buying sprees… Some I keep and share, others tend to get lost in the caverns of my hard drives. Queued it up on the way in to work on a gorgeous, cloudy day. I had to pull over…and just listen on the side of the interstate with my eyes turned upward and inward. Absolutely stunning…” – Jamie C from Atlanta.

THAT is what I got today.  A lesson about the true significance of music in our lives. It is powerful.  Simply put.

Thank you for allowing me to share my music with you.

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6 responses to “The Significance of Music in My Life.

  1. Jennifer,

    You are absolutely right. Take your music for instance. I was sitting in front of the computer one day when I typed in “solo piano” into Pandora. A Beautiful Storm came on. I was hooked. I played it for my wife, my kids. Next, I bought the song, then the album on Itunes. After being entirely mesmerized by the cd, I began to research the possibility of going to a concert when I realized, to my amazement, that you were a local artist. We emailed you with our wishes to see you in concert and you responded with your intentions of performoing at a small personal concert at Joe Bongiorno’s Studio.
    My daughter and I had a wonderful and memorable evening at that concert. Since then we have had the opportunity to communicate with you enough to get to know you and your family somewhat and I must say it is a pleasure.
    When you say that music is “emotional”, that is entirely what it is. An emotional response to one of your songs brought me and my daughter to appreciate your music, and emotion keeps me listening.

  2. Jennifer,
    Music is the universal language. It touches the heart and fills the soul. Your music has such passion in it. My favorite is the Lullaby Album that you perform with your mother. I listen to that as I sew. It puts me in a place where a long time ago my mother sang many of those lullaby’s to me. Thank you for listening to the song of your heart and putting it into the music that we hear.

    Karen Bowden

  3. It’s nice to hear the thoughts of a musician. I believe that music is very powerful and can teach us things that nothing else can. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much . . . for your music, the effort and devotion to your work, and for the amazing products of it. I know it has definitely changed my life for the better. (I think I need to go put on Key of Sea now . . . ) 😉

  5. You know, this post has been on my mind ever since I read it . . . and I have hungered for music in a way I haven’t for a long, long time. I’m home with some of the boys from church today, and have been indulging that hunger. (It’s a good, good thing. 🙂 ) I wanted to share a couple of pieces with you, in case you hadn’t heard them yet/had forgotten about them. First, Craig Petrie’s arrangement of Silent Night. I’ve been playing it for the last two days, and it hasn’t stopped giving me chills yet. 😉

    http://www.petriefamily.org/ldsmusic/pdfs/silent.pdf

    And secondly, the amazing BYU Priesthood Choir numbers from the April 2010 Conference, downloadable here:

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2010/04?lang=eng

    Thanks so much, again, for this post, Jenni. You never know what good you’ll do . . . now I just have to figure out how to put a piano/keyboard in the carriage house . . . (not leaving my grand in the shop by the door!)

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