Poems, Prayers, & Proclamations

Musing on the Gift of Music

I have always been a lover of music, all kinds of music, from classical and R&B to hip hop, rock and roll, blues, Gospel, jazz, and even country music. And Patsy Cline; she thrills me.

Although I have always wanted the gift, I must admit I have never studied music theory or ever learned how to play an instrument; ok, I did take a couple of piano lessons once. I learned where the Middle C was. And I also learned ‘every good boy does fine; good boys do fine always on the bass clef’.

Now, when I hear music, something metaphysical takes place in my body. I begin to move into some other plane of existence; the song begins to create a new reality around me. It’s as though I become hypnotized, like a Manchurian candidate: he is programmed to respond to a certain sound, a trigger, which then transforms him.

And then he realizes that he must mind the music. Music has the power not only to transform the moment, it can also change the room temperature. Music is like a lover who wraps his arms around you, giving you that sweet assurance that everything is just alright!

Music is your keeper, she lets you play your heartstrings, but she warns you always to protect your sensitive parts. Even the exhibitionists, who don’t care about hiding their emotions, will often, at the most inopportune time, fall under her spell every time they feel the heat of the beat. No matter where they are, they have no other choice but to express themselves, and so, the beat goes on!

She always tells a story, sometimes hidden in metaphor, sometimes without words, sometimes so brutally honest, it cuts, leaving you with wounds that are open and exposed.

She can piss you off so bad that you just want to turn her off, but she plays on and on in your head. You try to change the channel, to change direction, but she follows you. You eventually find that you are unable to stop your ears from hearing what she is screaming at you.

So, you create your own distraction an offbeat syncopation; bah bah bah bah do dah dah dah, trying to drown out the truth, as if a truth unheard is no longer the truth. Don’t be fooled by the beat’s intention. You wonder who told him that he could speak of such things? Mama used to say, “Baby, the music always knows.”

I don’t want anyone to know my secrets. Now, if they’re your secrets, that’s another story; turn up the volume, let the music play, they’re playing my song. Yet, for those souls for whom sound has no meaning, and music brings no sense of satisfaction, silence is the gift that moves, the vibration of life permeating the inward rhythm and rhyme all to itself, yet, never alone. That inner beat is the one note that connects them to us and us to them, heart to heart, soul to soul. But for me, I want to feel something when you play. Capsulate the essence of the character that you portray!

Emote, please, I want to believe you, the artist. There’s nothing worse than watching a superstar performing a scene that requires tears and yet, she can only muster a few dry sounds simulating pain. Girl, please, kill me softly! I want to believe. Take my breath away; I want to remember my first love.

I want to be reminded to call an old friend, I want to forget the pain, I want to hear my uncle playing his old blues guitar, I want to feel a chill running down my spine and butterflies in my stomach, sweaty palms; I want to fall in love a thousand times. And if you refuse to play, I will be alone. And if you don’t sing, I will die.

So, I will hang on to every sound you make, every word you say. You always end with me wanting more: more of that life-giving substance, which comes with you loving what you do, and what you do loving you. You are the vessel giving meaning to all who can receive it. I wish I could just hit replay a thousand times!

And you would return to me; that you would continue to bring life and sound to my world. I say, live your gift, breathe your gift, serve your gift, love you gift. I suppose there will always be someone like me who will be mesmerized by your gift; show respect to your gift, and who will always need, accept, and long for your gift of music.

So, please, let the music play!

~M. Randy Lewis




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