I give short shrift to the importance of music in my life. I think of writing as my serious goal, and music as my something on the side, but if I look at how my life has run its course, how much time I have dedicated to each, music could well win out. It is the thing that comes more easily. I don't feel a need to put off getting around to the job of music, it is my form of procrastination. Want to put something off? Go sit at the piano.
Sometimes I wonder if that's where I should dedicate more of myself in the context of cultivating a career - but somehow it seems so much less likely than getting somewhere with writing. I have worked hard at the piano, but always I see pianists play who make me a babe in the woods. Still, I love it. And I play well enough to move people, it seems.
Yesterday I filled my regular role as substitute musician at our UU church (very satisfying to generate at least a bit of income with the piano). It is always great fun for me, even when I'm nervous, because I get wonderfully positive feedback from our congregation. To be able to evoke emotional depth in people feels like a great privilege. I have to remember, and hang on to that skill.
I listened to Oliver Sacks on the radio the other day. He is a physician/neurologist who has written several books about the brain. A recent one is called "Musicophilia," and that was the one he was speaking about.
He responded to a question from a live audience about tunes that get stuck in your head. Apparently there are extreme cases where people hear such deafening symphonies or hard rock that they can't even function, but this question was about those simple little ditties that just run on and on in the back of your mind all day.
I played a medley of Deep River and Swing Low Sweet Chariot as a postlude yesterday, and the two songs have been dancing together in my mind ever since.
Sacks said that the vast majority of people have music playing in their heads most of the time. It is just that we compartmentalize and are able to tuck it into the background.
I found this extremely interesting, because I often wonder why I don't choose to turn on recorded music very much. If I'm so into music, why don't I listen to it more often? Well, I think the answer may be partly that I DO. I think there is already music going in my head much of the time, and turning more on just creates chaos.
I have never been one who can listen to music while reading or studying or doing anything else that requires brain focus. When external music is on - that's where my brain drifts. Whether it is because of internal music that is also on in my head, I don't know, but it's a pretty fascinating subject, this crazy brain of ours.
In any case, it's interesting to know that we all have music in us. Stop and take stock now and then, and see what little tune might already be playing in your brain that you didn't even notice.