Some say that it’s the musician and composer who are inspired, others say it’s music that inspires. No need to debate. To me, it’s like sharing the air we breathe. Isn’t that the meaning of the word “in-spire”? The composer/musician inhales the inspiration of whatever muse presents itself. Then exhales the most exquisitely inspirational music, that touches everyone who listens as they in turn are in-spired.
What music is inspirational? We think first of all of what we call “spiritual” music. This can be gospel music, hymns, Christmas carols or other music with religious affiliations. It can be traditional tunes with uplifting lyrics like “Amazing Grace”.
But truly, isn’t music medicinal, each to his own medicine? For some, it’s hip hop or rap. For others, it’s ethnic music, Irish, Greek, Punjab, or reggae. Still others are most inspired by country, bluegrass, or folk. Maybe its movie or tv soundtracks and themes, or classical, avant garde, or techno.
It doesn’t matter what kind of music inspires you, it’s what it does to you that matters. Music can open your eyes, make you think, make you think more deeply. Music can energize you, fill otherwise empty moments, and keep you company.
Maybe your life has you tied up in knots. Music can help you get through your day, unwind, solve your problems, and just take that load off your mind. It can inspire you to face yet another day…
Music can heal. The right music can fill you with awe and wonder, lift you out of your everyday life and send you soaring with the angels. It can give you hope, stimulate your imagination, and help you change your life and then change the world.
Music expresses. Music can soothe and heal by expressing commonality, humanity, compassion, and empathy. Music can take you from where you are now and gently (or emphatically!) usher you towards where you wish to be. There is comfort to be found just in knowing that someone else understands where you are and how you feel. The right music can energize you to move beyond procrastination, denial, or whatever blocks you have.
Music holds our memories. Tv commercials show us how this happens. Its easier to remember the jingle than whatever product was being sold; I find that’s true of jingles I heard as a child. Because music holds our memories, it has been found to be useful with those afflicted with neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. A song with words like the familiar children’s rhyme “one, two, buckle my shoe” can help them remember simple tasks.
Lastly, the healing power of inspirational music, to me, also comes from it’s ability to open our hearts. There are songs and melodies that open our hearts to feelings that we didn’t even realize we were closed to! We can listen to something that brings us to tears when we were not feeling sad. This can be through a connection to Universal sadness or to our own personal sorrow.
The same is true of joy. A song can make us realize, “that’s what I needed!” when we had no idea. We don’t realize what we bottle up inside, until it’s been set free and we feel the sense of relief, cleansing, and renewal.
Music connects us to the ineffable, the sublime, the One that we long to reconnect with. With or without words.
So explore your music world. Close your eyes and really listen. And then open yourself up and let the music inspire you.