Music has always been a major part of my life–one of my earliest memories is playing inside my dad’s guitar case while he played his guitar. I’ve been in church and school choirs and enjoyed them massively. The guitar I remember my dad playing is now the one I play. It was obvious to me from a very early age that music was powerful and could affect people, but that said, it’s only been in recent years that I’ve started to actually pay attention to which music and musicians I really like and why.
Sometimes it’s love songs, but not usually. Sometimes it’s classical music, but again, not usually. Sometimes it’s pop music. I enjoy hymns, too. Lately there’s been a lot of indie rock that caught my attention, but I don’t know if that will be a permanent favorite or not. It’s not really the genre that matters to me. It’s the feeling behind the music.
Music changes mood, usually to match the feeling that the musician is trying to express. They might be expressing joy or sorrow or agitation or any number of potential emotions. When they’re trying to express an emotion they don’t actually feel, the song rings false to me. But when it’s something they do feel, I feel it too. So my favorite musicians are the ones who put a lot of themselves into their songs.
I like many of Ed Sheeran’s songs. I adore the PianoGuys and Lindsey Stirling. David Archuleta, Pentatonix, Mindy Gledhill, Coldplay, Imagine Dragons. That last group especially helped me get through a hard time.
What does this have to do with the writing and drawing I usually talk about?
Nothing. And everything.
In my current drawing class, we normally use our professor’s Pandora account to play songs in one genre or another that we enjoy. When music is playing, sometimes our minds think visually better, and for me at least, the right music pulls me right into the mood I’m trying to get into for a project, whether it’s art or writing. When I’m not sure what I’m trying to do, playing a song frees up my mind from the come up with something now tension I start feeling and lets me just brainstorm.
Today I couldn’t think of what I wanted to draw for this blog post. I turned on a bit of music and it helped me come up with something that looks a bit like the initial work for an album cover, as you can see.
Maybe music doesn’t end wars, directly at least, or feed the poor, but it can change and save lives, as can any other form of creative expression. Music helps us to understand to a degree someone else’s joy or sorrow, and when we understand someone else’s feelings, we become more compassionate people. It can lift someone out of despair, let them know they’re not alone. It can calm us, it can solidify our relationship with God, it can be something we simply dance to, but whatever music is to us as individuals, it matters.