I cannot sing! My inability to sing is not new news to my wife; she is very musically inclined, writes music as a hobby, plays piano, taught herself to play the organ, and has some incredible stories that make no sense to me as I do not know music. I have often related that one could take everything I know about music, pour it into a thimble, and not moisten its bottom. But I love music! I have been asked not to return to three volunteer musical community choirs because of my inabilities to sing, and my enthusiasm for singing is not diminished. Feel free to explore the links embedded in this article!
To me, the greatest tragedy of COVID Government Mandates has been the blocking of singing as a health risk. I miss hearing choirs, children choirs, the Tabernacle on Temple Square, the Boys Choir of Harlem, all the different choirs, groups, and musicians playing a tempo and expressing feelings through song. The silencing is deafening, and this must cease. I love mall walking and hearing different people singing, playing instruments, and entertaining.
Consider the following:
- “If music be the food of love, play on.” – William Shakespeare
- “Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” – George Eliot
- “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
- “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley
- “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit and never dies.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
- “When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest of times, and to the latest.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” – Lao Tzu
These are but a few people’s thoughts who are greater than I, trying to express what music can do, what music means, and why music is essential. At this critical time in the World, we can use this most potent tool to lighten our loads, strengthen our minds and bodies, improve our environments, and raise our sights; we need to sing! We need music! Lots and lots of music!
I was in a meeting with a friend, and traditionally there were some songs to be sung. After one song, the leader of the meeting stood, walked to the podium, and declared, “We are going to sing that again, with gusto because all I heard was Mr. Salisbury and his friend singing with enthusiasm, and everyone here should be able to drown those two out.” Not the first time I have been called out for my inability to sing, and it won’t be the last either.
Thus, I offer suggestions for your consideration and application:
- When a song you like is playing, sing-along with gusto, enthusiasm, and choose to allow joy to carry your heart away inspired.
- Play music wherever you are. Not just with headphones or ear pods, but out loud. I miss the 1980s boom boxes playing all over the streets. I discovered some great music by listening to those boom boxes.
- Ever hear inspiring choirs or bands playing? I love a brass band, playing tunes that marshal my feet to action. Share those musical sounds!
- Need to be lifted from depression, check out some of the choirs recorded on YouTube. When I get depressed, my go-to spot is the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square, previously known as “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.” The Choir of Trinity College – Cambridge never ceases to lighten my mental spirit. The Wells Cathedral Choir is another whose talents and efforts are deeply appreciated.
- Mix up or explore music genres—jazz, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and so many more. I love pre-1980 R&B; those old sounds leave me excited and often are the prelude to sleep. I remain faithful to the Big Hair Bands and Southern Rock, showcasing the talents of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, Charlie Daniels, ZZ Top, .38 Special, and so many more, which enthrall my spirit and declare I will not go quietly into that dark night.
- I do not care if you are religious or irreligious; there are a LOT of extraordinary musical renditions of soul-stirring songs. I tripped across old Civil War Songs and rejoiced to hear the songs of faith and devotion again, from both sides of that conflict, of soldiers weary from battle or weary from marching to battle.
Regardless, please find joy and create a reason to rejoice through music. I promise music helps, music inspires, music lifts a weary war-torn soul, motivates people to greatness, and calms the mind and spirit for sleep. I urge you to relearn a love for music! Tastes in music may differ; this is both acceptable and expected. Personally, I am not a big fan of most modern R&B, and I have very little tolerance for Rap. But, it’s okay!
I almost failed US Army Basic Training. I knew how to shoot. I could form a sight picture and was a pretty good shooter before entering the US Army. I was cocky! In my third and last attempt to qualify, I was a mental wreck. Worry, anger, frustration, and fear of being kicked out for not being able to shoot had me a nervous trainee walking onto that final range. As I settled into my firing point, Def Leppard started playing in my head, then Bon Jovi and some primary songs from my youth soon followed, and suddenly, quite to my surprise, I was qualified. I was not an expert shooter, but I qualified higher than marksman, and that was a great miracle, all because music relaxed my mind to perform a task. Music relaxing the mind was not a one-off event in my life. Often music remembered in my mind is the exact tool I need to accomplish a task.
I come from a long line of blue-collar workers. As a kid, some bully thought he could insult me by claiming, “Your mother wears combat boots.” Little did he know, she also could handle a whip, swing chains, and could have been a “biker chick” in Hell’s Angels. My mother was a truck driver, and I got hooked early on songs like Phantom 309, Teddy Bear, Convoy, East Bound and Down, Six Days on the Road, and Giddy-Up Go, to name a few. My dad has all the musical talent in the family, give him an instrument, and he can play it very quickly. From him, I learned about Blue Grass, Banjo’s, Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From a couple of uncles, I learned how to irritate my father, with Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, Queen, The Rolling Stones, and many more. Unfortunately, since my parents are also hippies, I have heard and appreciate The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape, Timothy Leary, The Grateful Dead, and Jimi Hendrix, and so many more of the Hippie songs.
Find the music you love to sing, you love to hear, that stirs your soul and lifts your mind, and play those CD’s, spin those 45’s, playlist the greatest, and always be exploring new sounds and wonders. Scatman’s World is one of my favorite albums, mostly due to the story of Scatman John, a musical genius who left us too early. Jazzmasters remains highly enjoyable to me. Country Western as a genre continues to charge my soul and makes me smile!
“Music — what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!” – Maria August von Trapp
In the comments, tell me who and what you like. Please share your favorites, and let’s improve the World with inspirational music! I still listen to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” when I feel defeated as a quick pick me up.
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
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