A few weeks ago, Izzy wrote a great blog entitled “The Sound of Music’.’
In the blog she discussed some of the many known uses of Music Therapy in terms of our health and also highlighted some of the ongoing areas of research into the possible uses of music therapy in medical treatment. It’s a fascinating field and I’m sure we will learn so much more about the benefits of music over the next few years.
You can read her blog on the following link:https://ayearofsmallchanges.com/2019/09/02/the-sound-of-music/
Her blog got me thinking about how much music has had an impact my life over the years.
My family are big music lovers and many of the happiest moments of my childhood involve music in one way or another. I have many happy memories of making music and singing with my Uncle Andy in his home made recording studio in his loft.
Uncle Andy has never had a music lesson in his life but can play a myriad of instruments from the guitar, to the banjo, keyboard and ukulele. I loved spending time with him. He introduced me to folk music and I can still take myself back to seeing Dougie MacLean live and can still feel the beat of Davey Duncan on percussion every time I hear Caledonia.
I’m sure my cousin’s also all remember endless hours of singing in the back of the car when Andy was at the wheel and Aunt Jo was in the passenger seat. It was almost like the car ran on song rather than petrol. I also think so many of the songs were made up that no one but us would ever be able to sing them. I like to think we were like the Von Trapp’s but in reality I don’t think any of us have a place on the stage.
We all still love a good sing a long and like nothing more than a Saturday afternoon in front of a good musical.
On the other side of the family, my Grandma, like many Italian immigrants had a café and fish and chip shop. She had a Juke Box that my mum still has in her house today housing the same 7 inch singles dating all the way back to back to the sixties. I used to make my youngest brother dance on top of it and can still remember the numbers I had to press to play all of my favourite hits. Some songs, oddly like Madonna’s “True Blue’ can actually transport me back to the wooden benches of the café. I swear I can smell the foam on the ginger beer ice drinks and feel the softness of her cardigan if I close my eyes and concentrate hard enough.
I’m welling up thinking about it, but they are happy tears!
Growing up, loads of my friends were really musical. Looking back, I really didn’t appreciate how lucky I was to be around that kind of talent. Loads of them still sing and play and some even teach. Loads of late nights were spent singing away at parties. I’m trying to encourage my kids to learn to play as it’s such a great skill to have.
Like many of you, I have a box full of old tapes and CD’s that I just can’t part with. Some are form the days when you had to wait for your favourite single to come on the radio and record it as it took so long for the single to come out in the shops. Now, that’s how you learn the value of patience.
Others are tapes of me and my friends singing our favourite hits or mix tapes made by friends over the years. I think the younger generation have really missed out there as they didn’t always come with a list of songs on the case. Sometimes you had to listen the whole way through to find out what was on it. There was something nice about both the element of surprise and the fact hat you had to wait to find out what was on it. AND it took a long time to make one. Someone really had to care about you to give you a mix tape!
My dad has been learning guitar from a friend over the last year or so. I think he finds it relaxing but I’m hopeful it will also help him in terms of maintaining his cognitive function as Izzy discussed in her blog. It’s also a great skill to have socially, especially for men who struggle in terms of social contact when they retire more than women. Clearly, there is still time for me to take it up seriously and get some lessons.
My brother plays guitar in a band and I’m hoping my kids have the chance to learn from him. He has said many times that music is an outlet for him too and although we have VERY different tastes in music there are always songs like “Summer of 69”, “We are the champions” that have us both singing along when we hear them. That’s the beauty of music, it may divide us in some ways but it unites us in others.
I’m lucky enough to have spent the October holidays at the Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife with my husband, kids and both sets of grandparents.
The Hard Rock had an amazing range of music playing all day and well into the night. Loads of my old favourites were played alongside many of my parents and kids ‘top 5 songs of all time’.
I really got to thinking more about how important music is, not only as a way of reducing stress and relaxing but also as a way of evoking memories, creating an atmosphere and sending a message about both how you are feeling now and what your outlook on life is.
The staff all have their favourite musician or band on their badge below their name on their badge.
Not only was this a great way for my kids to find out about loads of different artists and bands (we did lots of terrible singing then ultimately youtubing) but it was also a really nice way of finding out a bit about the staff as the kids loved asking why they had chosen one specific band or artist as their favourite.
In some cases it was as simple as that band’s music made them happy or it was great to dance to but others talked about how their favourite band reminded them of their mum or of a happy/sad time in their lives.
It’s nice to actually hear something a bit personal about the people around you and lots of the staff who had been ‘quizzed’ endlessly by my kids took time to go out their way and say ‘hi’ to them throughout the week.
Seeing the names also got all of us chatting about our favourite bands and the kids got to learn a bit more about music that influenced their parents and grandparents throughout the years.
They heard about the tunes we all danced to, the first single we all bought, our favourite bands growing up and what songs we had for our first dance at our weddings (Elvis Presley “The Wonder of You’ in my case) and even, quite morbidly, what songs we want played at our funerals. It’s amazing how much time we spend thinking of what songs we want to mark big occasions in our lives.
They also got to see people playing live for 6 or 7 hours of the day and it really did remind me that nothing compares to live music. Nothing quite makes the hairs on your arms stand on end like someone lost in playing or singing. My oldest 2 are learning to play the guitar and I really think seeing how much the guys there enjoyed playing has made them want to learn even more. I’m hoping the chat about getting a drum kit for Christmas wears off though!
The choice of music was different depending on what area of the hotel you were in as clearly, they were trying to ‘set the vibe’ for each part of the hotel from the gym, to the spa to the chill out pool and the beach party pool.
Music is used in this way more often than we realise with shops choosing playlists to make us feel calm and want to stay and shop, to restaurants and bars creating their desired atmosphere through their playlists to exercise classes opting for fast paced music to get you moving for body pump and spin to slow soft numbers for yoga and body tai chi.
I don’t think a week has gone by without Me, Grant and my friend Lara debating what should be on when we are at the gym. I think I’m one of the few people who listens to podcasts when they are deadlifting and I was definitely met with some odd looks when I announced that I had a playlist full of classical music and musical theatre numbers for when I’m out of podcasts! Each to their own as they say. I go to the gym to unwind as well as stay fit and that playlist is my go to for this!
This week reminded me of so many artists and songs that I have loved over the years that top of my to do list when I get home is to make sure I set aside time every day to actually listen to music. Not as a background noise but to actually sit down and listen and enjoy just being with the music and the memories that come with it.