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Music Matters: Music for Me!! Music for You??


By Elaine Guerrazzi | July 1, 2019

Music enriches lives and society through two contrasting but complementary ways. Music is linked to the private self yet is often a collective, public experience (Hesmondhalgh, 2013). Music is not only a vehicle for expression. It is an inspiration to think and take action. Music can reflect social condition as well as facilitate social change. Malchiodi (2015) shares the idea that the arts may be as important to health and wellness as nutrition and exercise.

Music changes as society changes…ever evolving to reflect “society of the time”.  A quick review of music since the 1920s shows the direct association to societal trends/issues. Below is a synopsis of information shared about popular music through the decades by The People History (2019).  

1920sPost WWI music was upbeat and optimistic as the economy boomed and parties roared despite prohibition in the US
1930sPopular music served its purpose by providing an escape from the harsh conditions in the Thirties
1940sMusic reflected the pain of WWII while also trying to remain upbeat and looking towards a positive future full of possibilities.
1950sMusic of the 1950s reflected the beginnings of major social changes in the world and in the US
1960sThe 60s presented a split between commercialism, revolutionary artists, and musical innovation
1970sDisco became one of the biggest and most despised trends in music during the decade. 
1980sAppearance of musicians and gimmicks became commonplace due to introduction of MTV.
1990sMusical taste was as varied as the events happening at the time.
2000sMusic had to strike a fine balance between upbeat and optimistic while still reflecting the pain that many experienced. 

You can read more details about the past 90-100 years of popular music by reviewing the website.  Also, there is a link in each section with a more expansive description of each decade.  

As I reviewed The People History content, these ideas came to mind:

  • the meaning of music
  • the impact of music on identity
  • the social nature of music and community building

There are many ways to describe music and what it means. The effect of music and what it means to me is twofold.  I listen to music and I “make” music so the perspective of the meaning of music is a bit different.  

Beyond music reflecting history (as discussed above)…

  • Music is science (melody and harmony)
  • Music is math (rhythm and tempo)
  • Music is a language (notes and symbols)
  • Music is physical (coordination and control)

In addition, research (Friedman 2014, Heshmat 2018, Hille, et al. 2011, Merz 2015, Spray 2015, Springer 2018) shows that music heals, contributes to cognitive function, and influences mood.

What listening to music means to me… music is calming, nostalgic, clears my head, lifts my spirit, motivational

I listen to a variety of music…some of my favorites are blues (such as Keb Mo), piano solo (classical), traditional hymns and country (Joey & Rory).  Sharing blues and classical with my husband is one of our hobbies. Traditional hymns are nostalgic because it reminds me of my grandparents. I just like the “stories” embedded in country music.

What making music means to me…playing piano is a challenging and rewarding accomplishment. It is creative, enjoyable, and hopefully more of a priority in the future as my interest in music has been reignited over the past few weeks as I’ve written Music Matters blog posts.

My current music plan includes: 

I have started taking lessons through PianoTV (asynchronous piano lessons) guided by Allysia Van Betuw.  Amazing to find the perfect piano teacher for me living in Saskatchewan. 

This week (June 26-30) I am participating in one of the first online piano conferences.  Definitely as an intermediate piano student some sessions I will need to revisit but it sure has been inspirational.  As a connection to a prior blog I am “lurking” my way through the conference.

Through Amazon I ordered the Fundamentals of Piano Theory (set of 11 books with the Teachers Answers Keys) by Snell and Ashleigh.

It is exciting to be getting back to “my music” and as part of my lifelong learning/personal development plan.  Music and my personal plan address many of the wellness components (social, emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual).

I would like to share a couple examples that show how music matters and can transform lives.

Clocks & Clouds trio combine “classical instrumentation with rock aesthetics” with a mission to entertain and inspire.  Lucas, the cello player of the group, wrote a blog in 2011 sharing his music students’ response to his question “What does music mean to you”.  The responses are insightful and show the impact music makes on life.

I mentioned in a prior blog (Music Matters: Master Class) that I worked with a local nonprofit a couple years ago. During that time, I became aware of the Austin Classical Guitar Society.  Founded in 1990, ACG’s mission is “to inspire individuals in the communities we serve through musical experiences of deep personal significance”.

 A Story of Transformation shares the experience and growth one student through the power of music making.

My questions for you…

What does music mean to you?
How does music impact your life?

Some descriptive words for music to stimulate your thought include:

soothe, excite, relax, stimulate, meditate, calm, enlighten, frighten, give a feeling of foreboding, help you re-focus, invigorate, rejuvenate, stir your imagination, make you happy, lift your mood, restore, cure, heal, empower, stir, incite, lift your spirits, make you more alert, exhilarate, and bring about practically any emotion.  

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6 thoughts on “Music Matters: Music for Me!! Music for You??

  1. My mother had Alzheimer’s and music helped her through the various stages of the disease. A CD player was always nearby to entertain, calm and relax…both of us at times. As mom’s memory waned song lyrics remained and singing together was something we could share almost to the end. I taped the last time we were able to sing together and it has brought tears and smiles. The songs we sang will always bring memories of times we spent together. Music and memories go hand in hand.

  2. Thanks for sharing your personal story. I’m glad you found the blog inspirational to bring back memories. It is amazing how music stays with us through the years!! I bet your kid(s) would love to have a copy of the tape you made. : )

    : )

  3. I love all music, except Disco (however I still know all the words to “Rubberband Man” haha).
    Music that tells stories are my favorite, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Don McLean, and now Robert Earl Keen and even Todd Snyder.
    I constantly sing traditional nursery rhymes to my grandkids. Can poems be included when it comes to being inspirational and motivational ?
    Both do so much when it comes to setting my mood

    1. Well, first of all I had to Google Rubberband Man and I listened to it while I wrote my response to you. : ) Here’s the Spinners performing the song…how are your dance moves?? HAHA.

      We’re definitely on the same page regarding stories shared through music. I mentioned country music. Your artists also bring back some memories for me.

      Regarding poems…YES, for sure!! Poems tell stories, inspire, motivate. It’s great that you continue to share your perspective as it opens doors to new info expanding on my blog. Thank you for your contribution.

      I think you’ll like this video:

      Power of Poetry

      “Dale Biron believes in the provocative, healing, inspiring power of poetry to help each of us build a life and future worth living. He believes great poems are like powerful “apps” for the mind … good stories with all the boring parts removed.”

  4. Poetry, lyrics and other text is often used in the practice of bibliotherapy to affect a change in behavior. “Acknowledging Ability and Agency in Book Discussion Communities” in “Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies”

    1. Thanks for the comment Polly and sharing the source. Lyrics of music and written words of poetry, books, etc. can have a significant impact and influence on behavior. I have read a bit about bibliotherapy…on my list of topics for my blog is ‘reading and wellness’.

      Bibliotherapy is becoming more and more common and discussed in all segments of the population. I even saw an article earlier this year in Good Housekeeping titled “5 Books That Will Make You Happier, According to Bibliotherapists” for the adult population.

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