We Are One In Song

I want to quote architect and sustainability guru Tom Bender –  http://www.tombender.org/ (I’ve changed a couple of words so that song refers to instrumentals as well as vocal songs, which he was originally talking about):

“Song is the voice of the soul. Song is a mingling of our hearts, a sharing, a giving, an affirmation. It is giving release and place to our emotions. It is as essential to community life as to our personal lives. Without song as an integral part of our lives there is no shared celebration of harmony, no balance to the small separating things of life that accumulate and can tear us and our society asunder. Song is part of work, part of celebrating, of joy, of pleasure. It is the expression and purging of grief, the vibrations healing our inner spirits. We are one in song.”

Oliver Sacks gathers evidence that music is an important part of being human in his book Musicophiliahttp://musicophilia.com/ As far as we know, music has been part of every human society .

I do know of two groups that tried to severely limit access to music – Hitler’s Germany and Islamic extremists, especially the Taliban. Both are far right-wing, authoritarian, hierarchical, women-denigrating cultures. Why does this kind of group fear music?

One clue, I think, is found in an interesting fact I learned from Oliver Sacks’s book. Unlike doctors, lawyers, or members of other professions, the brain of a musician can be recognized during an autopsy, especially if he began music at a young age. This is because his brain will have grown an unusual number of connections between the two halves (women’s brains also tend to have more connections between the halves than men’s).

It is theorized that these extra connections forge a more direct link between thinking and feeling – a necessary skill for interpreting music. But strong and direct connections between thinking and feeling naturally tend to lead a person to be more empathetic.

Also, making music is necessarily a cooperative endeavor. There is room for leadership, but of a shifting kind, and based strictly on practicality and competence. Music must be true to itself, not produced within a structure of arbitrary authority – such can be done, but it is invariably bad music, and every musician knows it.

So despots have two reasons to view musicians as a threat: 1) empathic and creative people are not likely to buy into a “party line” of arbitrary authority; and 2) it is dangerous for the despot to allow groups of people to learn that they can produce something good and valuable outside the rigid system, and do it cooperatively.

So sing! Take up an instrument! Support music education! Enjoy!

[check out      http://www.hungryformusic.org

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