There’s something special about hearing a tune.
Apparently the sense most connected to our memory is our sense of smell, but as someone who lives in Sydney, I’ve all but learned to turn that off. No, for me it’s my auditory senses.
My parents were always impressed that, as a kid, I could name a song by its first few notes, or a bar of the chorus, even if I’d only heard it once or years ago.
The other day, I was standing in church, and we were singing “Love of the Father”, by City Alight, and I couldn’t help myself. After months preparing to perform it for our mission trip to Fiji, I knew all the dance moves. However, being an awful dancer, I also knew the lyrics and chords. One of my most favourite memories is sitting on the floor, strumming my guitar, not plugged into anything, trying to belt it over the top of fifty kids trying to learn the dance. Some sang along, others stood by and clapped, but the joy on their faces was something I’ll never forget. Kids are amazing. I later found my plectrum in someone’s mouth, but for some reason that also makes me smile. So, when we stood to sing it in church, despite being in Sydney, standing in a conservative Anglican Church, I began to clap my hands and stomp my feet. I belted it at the top of my lungs, my eyes closed because the lyrics were in front of me in a plastic sleeve on a woven grass mat, the faces of fifty smiling kids before me. Tears sprung to my eyes, the memories flooding through my mind until suddenly, it was over, and I was sitting on a freezing wooden pew.
Music does something to me. It connects me to people, it reminds me of emotion. There’s something about listening to a song where someone sings about things being okay, and feeling like they will be. For instance, hearing “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, actually brings to life the lyrics “all the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” As I sing, everything around me becomes so small and insignificant. Once I’ve started singing, even fears melt away.
I found one of my first ever stories I wrote as a kid in an old word document. I wrote about listening to Evermore as my “emotional and deep band” and Kelly Clarkson for some “angry music”. I didn’t know about pop culture, or that you should write things you know but that others can relate to- I may have been about 7. But it’s cool finding such things and realising it’s sort of always been this way.
A few weeks ago, I went to my first concert (this is turning very anecdotal), and I have to admit that, despite the amount of money I’d paid more than a cd, I shut my eyes and just heard the sounds. They were so close, and, despite all of the hard work they’d put into the lights and showmanship, I was satisfied just listening to all the raw sounds out together.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, music is awesome. There are just every day moments that make me realise what a privilege it is to have so many ways of accessing it, and so many different types but even just for what it is- vibrations, or maths, or whatever you want to break it down to. Sounds. There’s something about it that is special. Something about feeling those vibrations in your fingertips as you play, or something special about singing as opposed to saying, writing songs as opposed to stories. That even in the midst of life, we have the ability to switch off everything but our hearing and appreciate music.