Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Music is not just for the ears

    When I was a little girl, my family and I used to make a trip to Atlantic City almost every November. One day when almost everything was closed up, off to the side under the overhand for a closed up shop, was an old black guy playing Santa Lucia on a fiddle. It was beat up, matching the stormy weather and dark clouds perfectly. Almost nobody stopped and listened or even dropped a few coins in his violin case. I never knew his name, I barely remember what he looks like other than the gray beard on his face. All he had with him was the fiddle, case, and a wooden stool he must have brought with him that morning.

     The picture in my head is fuzzy, and I couldn't even tell you what the melody of the song was, but I remember the wonder I felt. Somebody was sitting there, just playing a song for anyone to walk by and listen to. I was awestruck, not just by the music (I've always has a soft spot for the violin) but by the fact that he was just sitting there playing with his eyes closed. I remember asking my father for some money to put in the man's case. I remember stopping and listening and watching him play for a few minutes while the rest of my family went on up ahead on the boardwalk.

     There's something about buskers that just makes my soul feel lighter. They're not common where I live in Jersey, but occasionally I'll come across one. Sometimes one of the music students will stand out on the street and play for people. I've been told it's good way to practice for their final performance each semester. Last time it was a saxophone player. The time before that it was a group of guys playing boxes like they were drums, no vocals just a feeling the beat as the notes wrapped themselves around you.

   I find music to be something like a universal language. It helps people connect and express emotions that they might not otherwise have been able to understand or verbalize. It provides an outlet for intense emotion or a soothing effect. It can get people worked up or put them to sleep. Sometimes the same song will do all of those things. Its not just about sounds that are pleasing to the ear. Music can reach out and touch your soul. Sometimes it the lyrics, sometimes its the beat, sometimes it's the players, sometimes it's all of the above.

     So turn up the radio, put on your favorite song, or go watch some busker. Let the music wash over you. Take a moment to feel it in your soul before moving on with the rest of your day.

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