I’m sure you have heard a particular song that conjures up happy memories.
The memories are often vivid as your mind slips away to another time and place. There is plenty of evidence that music can have a positive psychological effect on our moods. Music can help combat depression. There are current studies on how music can even offer relief for patients of Parkinson’s or a stroke.
In her book, The Power of Music, Elena Mannes explores how music affects different groups of people. Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function. There’s ground-breaking research conducted by Sheila Woodward. As a young South African scientist, her interest was in how a foetus responds to music in the womb. She says in her studies at the University of Cape Town, it was clear how the foetus reacted. It was as if to say:
“Something’s happened and now there’s music!”
Other studies show that if the mother hears soothing music using headphones, the baby’s heart rate lowers. This human relationship to sound starts early. The foetus begins to develop an auditory system between 17 and 19 weeks. Already, we are in a world of sound, of breath, heartbeat, rhythm and vibration.
My family loved music.
I grew up in a home that always had an electric organ standing in the hallway. I haven’t seen one for quite some time to be truthful. (See image)
By the time I was 7, my brother had taught me how to play the guitar. Together we would play and learn new songs for hours, from the many songbooks he bought. Every so often, my mother would take a seat at the organ, with my brother and me either side, and we would play and sing.
Our repertoire was varied and diverse. We would play and sing anything from current folk music, like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, all the way to Afrikaans songs and religious hymns. My Dad loved rounding us three up on Sundays to play some music. For him, it was a pleasure to sit in his favourite chair and listen to us play.
Growing up around a brother that was 11 years older than me, I grew to love much of the music he listened to. My Dad had a large collection of music on vinyl records. He loved all music but especially music from the 50s and 60s. He had everything from classical and opera to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
I was even more fortunate to have a best friend whose brother was a music fanatic. He was 5 years older than us and had a love for rock music. He collected vinyl record albums. He had a massive collection of expensive imported versions. A group of us friends from the neighbourhood would sit for hours listening to him play his music.
His knowledge of rock bands and artists was impressive. He loved sharing his love of music with us, introducing us to new bands he has discovered. He would share stories while we listen to legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. He also told us stories about the raucous AC/DC rock concerts and wild ZZ Top after parties.
I became an uncle for the first time when I was 16 years old. My nephew also grew up with a love for music. By the time I was married and had my kids, him and I would sit for hours listening to CDs. Through a combination of his appreciation for music and travelling overseas from a young age, his scope became vast and varied. He introduced me to bands such as Coldplay and Creed to Collective Soul and Kasabian.
As a product of the 70s, 80’s and 90’s, my friends and I grew up with legendary music. Artists such as Donna Summer and Lionel Ritchie, and bands like Foreigner and Boston, through to greats like Michael Jackson, U2 and Bob Marley, we arguably grew up listening to the best music, since music.
Throughout my life, I’ve had genius musical mentors that shaped my appreciation of music. I cannot express my gratitude for their influence. By introducing me to their music, they exposed me to music I otherwise would have missed.
How has the Power of Music shaped your life? I’d love to hear from you.
Have a great weekend and please stay safe.
Thanks for reading (and watching the clips), I appreciate it tremendously 🙏
I hope there are some happy memories amongst the selection of songs.