By John Branstner , a Finalist of NewsPortalSite’s Writing Contest
I am writing this column partly in response to some actual encounters that I have
had recently. I thought that it might be of interest to readers. The query of the
title of this article actually has come up in conversation. Being a musician myself,
I must admit it is quite unexpected as the answers to me are a given. Yet, it is
incredible that there are so many individuals that have not had music as a significant
part of their own life experience. There are people that music is virtually new to.
I have even had such inquiries from people who grew up in some home right in the
U.S. where music was not even allowed when they were growing up.
Why music? The question has popped up from time to time as if to say that
there are people that can’t answer that question for themselves. I actually feel
bad for such people that I would even have to give an answer to that. For me,
it is tantamount to being placed into a position to describe something like a
rainbow to someone who has never seen one. How does one go about
describing a sunrise to someone who has never viewed one for themselves?
How would one define a cool night breeze to someone that has not allowed
themselves to feel that natural sensation of life personally and firsthand? It’s
really like me wanting to say, well, it’s like this, but you really would have had
to have been there.
I will start by saying that some of my own very first memories in life are seeing
violins and violas on the wall of a showroom right beside rather regal looking
grand pianos. Such times as those were quite regular for me early on in life.
As a child, I was made to learn to play horns. I soon found myself writing music.
A little later on, I diversified to playing other instruments, of which bass guitar
became my favorite. Although I like various kinds of music, I grew up with the
sounds of Rock-n-Roll at quite an early stage. Some of the very first steps in
life that I took were right along with the very music that I love. For me, I can
not recall a time without music. I am also a creative person. I think music.
I live music. I write music. I hear music. I play music.
Being a person that music played such a key role for only made it a natural
progression that music would become one of my life paths. It would just
be a matter of time before songs that I had written such as ‘Rocking in the
Shadow’ and ‘Our Love’ would first burst on to the scene. From that point on,
I would always publicly be remembered as a songwriter and recording artist
as well as a combination musician/ performer. By that time I had filled up
notebook after notebook of lyrics and music, which would be narrowed down
to some of the best material as decided by both myself and others. Music
has literally been a kind of a soundtrack for my life…literally. Even pushing
the boundaries of such genres creatively, to me, is to live!
Eventually. I would find myself taking a creative detour here and there and even
doing things like scoring a soundtrack for a meditational C.D. Being a metaphysical
person myself, that is just yet another reflection of my life coming out. It is the
spiritual side. So, is art a reflection of life or is life a reflection of art? The answer
to me is that the two go hand in hand. One is a reflection of the other. Without
that mirror reflection, there is not the full expression.
So, back to the question: Why music? That inquiry has also been asked recently
by some people who say, unfortunately, that they don’t listen to music because of
the economy. Could this be another sad sign of the times that we are in…for too
many people? If you stop to think about it, that would be quite similar to someone
stating that they are denying themselves a swim or a dip in a pool just because
it is just too much of a sweltering hot day. Just consider, how many times have
you felt you were having a horribly bad day and then a particular song came on the
radio that lifted your spirits in some way that few other things in life ever could?
That beat and that melody pick you up in some way, lift you up and move you on.
If someone eliminates the Bachs the Mozarts, the Glenn Millers, the Elvis Presleys,
the Beatles, etc. from the human experience, just how much are they missing?
You tell me. It seems to me that when people stop listening to music, in some
sense, they stop living. Keep listening! Keep dancing! Keep moving and grooving!
Keep right on shaking it out there!
So, in summation, I would have to say that music is a valid expression of all of the
experiences of life, as well as a celebration of it. In conclusion, my answer to that
curious question, “Why music?” is…”Why NOT?”.
About the Author
JOHN BRANSTNER is a musician/ songwriter/ performer as well as a workshop
facilitator among his career fields. His songs have been been heard on various
radio air waves across the country. He has also granted media interviews to
programs ranging from ‘Angel Waves’ to ‘Spiritual Insider’. John can be contacted
at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.