If I ever hear the Beatles singing ‘I wanna hold your hand’ I am carried back to an old record player in the corner of the dining room of the family home and the memory of sisters crazy about the Beatles. I can’t quite remember which of my sisters, but I do remember the Beatles craze in our household.
Music is amazing at evoking a memory of a time in life, isn’t it? Perhaps a particular song on the radio rekindles the poignancy of a difficult time, or brings back the warmth of a special event, such as a wedding.
I can’t quite remember when I first heard Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin, but I do remember that in my teens it seemed like the most exciting piece of music I’d ever heard in my short life thus far. And when I hear it again I recall trying to listen to a recording of it with headphones in a library while an elderly gent nearby was singing to the music he was listening to. Walled within his headphones, he was unaware that the whole library could hear his ambitious swoops to the high notes. As we all chuckled at his obvious enjoyment, I made a note to self not to do the same with the exciting music I was enjoying. I soon ordered the piano score and started working through its 30 pages. It is still one of my favourite pieces because of Gershwin’s wonderful blend of jazz and classical styles. And it brings back other memories of my teen years when I was exploring other music I hadn’t heard before.
All of this to say that music has a big part to play in the story of our lives whether we are listeners or performers. Being a listener can be an inspiration in itself to those who perform. Those who have listened to performances and expressed their appreciation will have had more of an influence than they probably realise. And being a performer offers a lifetime of rich experiences playing in various contexts and meeting folks from all walks of life who have a similar love of music. And it potentially offers a lifetime of memories to the audience.
Do you have a story of how a particular piece of music sparks a memory of a particular event or time period? Whatever emotion it stirs I hope it’s a positive reflection for you.
Musical time travel works well to the past. I’m not so sure that it does to the future. Still, funny to think that all around us now we are listening to or playing music that could strongly impact tomorrow’s memory with what happened today!