Anyone remember the last line from the Lovin’ Spoonful song, “Do You Believe in Magic?”
Answer: “…the magic’s in the music and the music’s in me.”
That’s the truth. Music can transport you, lift you up and put
you where you need or want to be.
You don’t need a college degree in audiology to know that music is magic in the way it can bring back feelings, memories and even smells from another time. I know of no other way of being stimulated, by natural means, that literally can transport you to a specific time in your past. Music can change your mood or accentuate it. Music can take you back to places you’ve been, or catapult you to places you would love to go.
What I know for sure is that music has become one of my best friends, and that listening to music has had an impact on the quality of my life in a positive way. The impact of music for me, I believe, has been magnified since my TBI because of the way my brain now processes melody, sound and rhythm.
Music has shown its power to me in two different ways; 1) it serves as a tool to keep me grounded by bringing back memories and feelings in order that I don’t forget where I came from, and 2) it has benefited me, post-TBI, by introducing melody and fluidity to my life, and by allowing me to fill in the blank spaces and awkward silences in my life that have occurred regularly since my brain injury.
Music is powerful:
Every time I hear the song I was told we were listening to at the moment my car crashed, I get chills and an ominous feeling of dread, despite the fact that I have no actual memory of it playing.
Still, after 40 years, music puts me back at that intersection, lying unconscious in a twisted piece metal.
When I was in my coma, I had a crackly AM– FM radio radio playing continually by my bed. I have been told that I sang along with several of the songs. Also, I have vague recollections of four different songs that played on that radio. To this day, when I hear one of them, I am transported back to being a patient in the Intensive Care Ward.
Those memories which the music brings back are not bad or scary or upsetting, but are sobering reminders of where I once was and how far I’ve come. Also, I use them as inspiration as I move forward.
What I am most interested in is music as the great influencer.
Quite simply, music acts as a drug that can put us in alternate reality where belief is suspended and there are no problems. Without the use of actual drugs, prescription or otherwise, music can fill us with superhuman emotional powers than makes us want to dance around, jump over, or completely obliterate any depressive or bad feeling we might have.
Music can be a springboard to decisive action, and it can hold the savage TBI beast at bay while we live our lives decisively.
What is it about the music than makes it such an elixir for those in need, those struggling for a foothold?
One of the ways I was affected by my TBI was that it left me unemotional, passive and overly accepting of things that were going on around me. Therefore, my life was filled with TBI “holes” that I needed to fill: times when I had nothing in my head or didn’t know what to do, or was just waiting for something to happen so I could react.
A great importance of music lies in its ability to re-introduce us to, and fill us with, fluidity and motion through sounds and rhythm. Music also creates a space where we are proactive; both in our choices and in our reactions. Through music we can “fill” the TBI holes and spaces in our lives. Surrounded by these sounds and these rhythms, we can be energized beyond what we thought possible, and make the holes in our lives a thing of the past.
By filling the holes, music can fortify us and prepare us better to face a future which is uncertain. Although “keeping a song in your heart” will not restore what you have lost, it will make the journey easier.
Music has helped me get through many tough times in my life, and is a constant companion. Unlike our close friends who, after a traumatic brain injury, seem to disappear; music is loyal, and perfectly malleable. It is always there for you. Whether you want something to enhance your mood or change your mood, inspire you or help you relax, music is the perfect, non-prescription drug.
Music allows us to express our innermost feelings without judgment or fear, and provides a forum for us to act out our playfulness, seriousness, thoughtfulness or exuberance in a perfectly acceptable manner. The things that music brings with it; singing, dancing, humming, or just relaxing and getting rid of the tension, puts us in a shiny, clean world where current events have been suspended, and optimism abounds.
If you would like to subscribe to my blog, click “Get Updates” on the first page.