Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Power of Music

There is so much happening in April (besides a few more days of snow...), there's never a reason to be bored. It's National Poetry Month and the Month of the Young Child. Earth Day happens on the 22nd, and Easter's only 11 days away. Not to mention Straw Hat Month, Kite Month, and Fresh Florida Tomato Month!

But forgetting the tomatoes for a moment, lets talk about music and poetry. I recently attended the annual fundraising dinner for the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts (RMCMA), a community based music school in Lafayette. Besides meeting some wonderful people, I came away thinking about the role of music in our lives.

The RMCMA event reminded me of how what a powerful force music is in bringing people together. There was a teenage opera singer, a law firm that played and wrote rock and roll together, and a community jazz ensemble with a big band sound. All this from... where? Where does music come from? Music is so pervasive in our lives, with media ever present, that it's easy to take for granted. Music is based on math, but what is astounding is that organized sound can cause our brains to react in a way that creates - joy! Pure joy!

Music is fundamentally part of life. Certain species - whales and birds - incorporate music into their mating behavior. Humans often do the same thing, but in a slightly different way - we often use external music rather than singing ourselves (often for good reason!). The touching of our emotions by music is fundamentally a human, or even just an animal, trait. But with our giant brain capacities, we have taken music to new levels and complexities that expand infinitely.

From mothers singing lullabies to their babies to families singing together to orchestras to whale song, music brings us together with each other and bonds us as humans. It always amazes me how we can spend hours, even days, together creating and enjoying music. In tribute to the glory of music in our lives, PlayFair Toys and the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts bring you Play Notes Now! A Day of Family Music, on Saturday April 18th. There will be live music, an instrument petting zoo, poetry readings, musical games and puzzles, and more, from 10 am to 2 pm. This incredibly fun day of musical activities is for everyone, whether you are an ardent music fan, a prodigy, or think that you can't play a note (a misconception - everyone can play at least one note!), there will be something here for you.

As much as I am a biologist by training, and therefore appreciate and understand that fundamentally this is all about my neurons, in my heart I believe that music is proof that there are, indeed, miracles.