Music is a refuge

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”— Maya Angelou

There are so many quotes, so many resource materials referring to the power of music.  Those that have known me for any length of time know just how big a role music plays in my life.  I sing in an all-women’s, a cappella chorus that is devoted primarily to barbershop-style music.  We sing for 3-4 hours each week. There are times when your load is so heavy, you are reluctant to leave it at the door, but by the end of the evening, you are floating on air.

Music allows you the opportunity to become another person for each song; live their life, experience their sorrow, joy, pain, etc. When it’s done really well, you might get goosebumps, chills, a tingle in your spine, or inexplicably start crying.  Even if it’s not a song, relatable to you, it’s fun to pretend; become the character of each song.  After a recent patriotic performance by my chorus, a woman approached me and spoke of how inspired she had been by our passion.  Singers that aren’t passionate are very boring.

Music is an outlet for many who have difficulty communicating. It tells a story. Our friend that writes and records rap music speaks of it as his outlet.  He came from a very disadvantaged background.  Music is where he could release the frustrations and anger of his situation without resorting to violence.  There are even tales of people suffering from dementia that cannot remember people or conversations, yet can sing an entire song from their past.  My own grandmother, while suffering from dementia would often burst into rousing performances of La Marseilles, the anthem of France. She was French, met my grandfather on the coast of Normandy during World War II, married and returned with him to the United States.  She never returned to France but she could still sing that song.

When I was growing up, at home with my parents, I often found myself at the piano after unusually tough days.  For me, the sadder the song, the better I felt.  The theme from Romeo and Juliet was often a favorite to play, on those days.  Music helped me survive adolescence, high school, college, and graduate school.

Even if you don’t play an instrument and can’t carry a tune in a bucket, listening to music is just as therapeutic.  Do you have a favorite artist? favorite song? favorite lyrics?  How has music been your refuge?


8 thoughts on “Music is a refuge

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  1. Music plays a huge role in our family! I am in the category of being a ‘good audience’. However, my husband is a guitarist, our daughters each play an instrument- one the clarinet and one the flute. They started in junior high school band – all the way through college! I firmly believe that they made outstanding students and had high grades because of music. Music teaches students- social studies, history, math and foreign language- and that just scratches the surface! I’m glad I read your post! you have a beautiful blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree 100%. Interesting note, one of my acquaintances was devising a plan of action for his teenaged son to be most likely to be accepted to an Ivy League school. One of the things he learned was that playing a sport gave you negative application points, whereas singing or playing an instrument gave you positive points. Long proven that kids that learn how to read music do better in math and sciences. Congrats to your kids!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolute True, teachers tell me their band students are the good ones! Ours graduated college Suma Cum Laude! One is a software engineer, the other a teacher/reading specialist! We spent 12 years as band parents! Well worth it! And music gives them something they can enjoy for a lifetime! Both were section leaders, no wonder I’m a good audience!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, I really enjoyed reading it! Music has grounded me through a lot of rough experiences-I was briefly homeless and spent 90% of my free time hiding in the library reading with headphones on.

    This is one of my favorite songs from that era-it’s so calming and optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a journey you have had! I’m looking forward to following your story. My husband and I like to listen to jazz before bedtime. It is relaxing. It is soothing without distracting from reading or sharing conversation.


  4. That a capella group sounds like the most fun imaginable! I envy you that.

    I love music and listen to it daily, whether classical, rock, jazz. I got a turntable (!) for Christmas so am rediscovering all my vinyl I hadn’t played in a decade. One of my favorite stations (which I listen to online) is TSF Jazz from Paris. Check it out! One of the best stations I’ve ever found. I also love listening to Irish music on Sunday mornings on WFUV (NYC) and reggae on WKCR (Columbia University’s station) on Saturday mornings.


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