My Real Life

February 16, 2015

The Power of Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I’ve been thinking, a lot, lately about the power of music.

Music has the power to take you to another time, another place…with just a few notes drifting at you, through the air.

You hear those opening notes and you remember where you were, when it was, what was happening.

You see a picture in your mind, smell a phantom scent, and your body starts to move.

You laugh.

You cry.

You think, “What if?”

Couples don’t have “a book,” “a food,” “a piece of silverware.”

Couples have a song.

Real Man and I have a song.

Well, technically, we have two songs.

Our wedding song is “Crazy Love.”

We were sitting in the movie theater, seeing “When a Man Loves a Woman” and Andy Garcia was driving across a bridge, and the song began to play and we just looked at each other and we knew.

This was our song.

However, we have another song.

We danced to it at the Junior Prom and over the past 26 years, whenever we have heard the song, we look at each other and remember.

But songs aren’t all about romance.

Songs are happy memories.

The opening strains of The Romantics (Hmmm…they seem to be recurring players in my life) “Talking in Your Sleep” bring me to Judy’s basement where we are dancing, singing, and trying on her big sister’s awesome shoes.  I am happy, and life is good.

When I hear Alicia Bridges, “I Love the Nightlife,” which, admittedly, doesn’t happen to often, I am with Erin.  I am 8.  We are dancing in my bedroom to my 45.  I am happy, and life is good.

Howard Jones, “No One is to Blame” and I am 14 and I am with Michaela.  We are at her house.  We are at the beach.  We are playing with hair and makeup.  We are on a boat.  I am happy, and life is good.

When I hear those first notes of “Oh What a Night,” I am 18 and I am driving in the car…to anywhere, really…with Kim.  The windows are down, we are singing at the top of our lungs.  We are talking about boys and college.  We are laughing.  I am happy, and life is good.


I was in the grocery store the other day, and I was singing along with “Party Lights” and an older gentlemen came up to me and said, “How on Earth do you know all the words to this song?  This is a song from MY youth, not yours!”

I smiled and said “My Dad.”

So, any song from the 50’s or 60’s and I’m in a car with my Dad and he’s turning up the volume as loud as it will go, yelling over the music “Amy…listen to this bass line!” or “Amy…can you believe the brass section on this one?”  He’s educating me, and although I doubt he had any idea what he was doing, he was setting basis for how I would feel about music for the rest of my life.

That it was to be played loud, to be really dissected, to be thoroughly and utterly enjoyed.


Not all musical memories are happy ones.

We all have them.

I love Journey…always have, always will.

But, when I hear “Faithfully,” I’m taken back to my college boyfriend, and a relationship that started with such promise and turned sad and sour and felt more like a prison than a relationship, toward the end.


One of my favorite things that I have taught, over the past 18 years, was a “Music with Meaning” unit in an 8th grade Social Studies enrichment class.

The students and I would discuss how music used to be the best way for people to communicate what they felt was wrong in society.  How, in a time when the media could be bought and it wasn’t proper to talk about certain things in certain circles, artists took to their music to make sure that the world knew exactly what was happening.

Music was a way of letting everyone know about social injustice.

I opened up by asking if anyone had ever heard of Reuben “Hurricane” Carter.

Very few had.

Those who had said, “Oh, yeah…he was a boxer who killed some people.”

So, I would cue up some Bob Dylan and let them hear the whole story.

I’d ask if, after hearing the whole story, that they thought the media was reporting all of the facts.  If they thought, in a world torn by segregation, racism, and hate, that people were really understanding what had been going on, and if they understood how music was the way to get the story out there.

We listened to “Revolution” by the Beatles and “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield.

We listened and talked and then I asked them to find music, in their own lives, that told a story, that meant something, whether to the world or to them, personally.

And I had 100% participation.

Because music is a universal language.

Even if you don’t consider yourself “a music person,” there’s that one song…those few notes…that take you there.

So, what’s your song?

What song makes you remember?

What notes make you feel?

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