2015 Uncategorized

2015, Q3: No music for a year

Note: Starting at the top of this year, I invited folks to ask me questions that I would answer. I view my “answers” as points in informed discussion rather than “look no further. All you need is HERE” responses – particularly on things that are less about me personally and specifically. Which is not to say I don’t mean or stand behind my answers. ‘Cause I do.

So, I’m skipping the 2nd question – on illusion vs. reality – right now because I have to go into different neighborhoods of my brain for that. But I’m coming back to it. And…wow.

Q: “How do you think the world would be if there were no music for a year. ( I think the impact would be more profound the we believe)” – by Catrina (“Tinka”)

Answer: I don’t think we could do it. I think we would end up making music anyway. If somehow all constructed instruments, storage formats, digital recordings, sheet music, media containing music, etc. were destroyed and outlawed in some anti-music realization of Fahrenheit 451, you would find rebellion. People would hum to their babies quietly while looking over their shoulders for the anti-music cops. They would drum their fingers on their knees. They would forget to suppress the music that breathes in their cells. They would build new instruments. They would go into their minds and recall the songs they used to hear. They would dance to what they remembered, making music with their bodies. They would create new songs. They would sing out loud. When the authorities came to silence them, they would sing louder. As they were being beaten and brutalized for making music, they would sing – through tears, through pain, through blood. And more voices would rise. I don’t give the entire world a day at being successful at maintaining a complete void where music once was.

BUT, supposing music was truly stopped for a year before this resistance occurred, I think on the whole it would be devastating for us. Music stimulates more parts of the brain than any human function. The brain: that mildly important organ.


Corpus callosum, motor cortex, prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, amygdala, sensory cortex, auditory cortex, hippocampus, visual cortex, cerebellum – all these stimulated while listening to and/or performing music.

Music is important to us socially, emotionally, mentally, physically. It helps us build and develop skills like reading comprehension, processing speech, and perceptual motor skills – which we use every day in communicating with each other and interacting with our environment.

Without music, I think our social skills would be heavily impacted, our mental/emotional well-being would be in jeopardy, and we’d even be physically affected carrying stress in our bodies we used to process and transform – even when subconsciously – through music. I think we’d be sicker and heal less (and less quickly) because we’d be missing the physiological benefits. Individually and collectively we would suffer for lack of music.

On a more personal note, I think of the fact that when we were in undergrad together we were in band. Out of some 140-200-ish people in our band program, most of those people were not music majors or planning to make a career in music. There were students of engineering (biomed, electrical, chemical, mechanical…), physics, biology, history, aviation, architecture, literature and languages, chemistry, visual arts, education/administration, kinesiology, etc. who all found music to be important enough to them to set aside a few hours in their schedules to be involved in it. You and I both were music majors for a time then picked different paths, but I think we both still see and feel music inextricably woven throughout our lives. It’s in tv, movies, stores, the car, at work sometimes, family gatherings, social events. I create playlists for different moods and activities. I had a playlist for when I was writing the review of literature for my master’s thesis, playlists for stretching, playlists for when I go running, playlists for when I’m low and need to explore those emotions and shake back, playlists for when I need to harness my strength and feel like a superhero badass, playlists for putting my nieces to bed, playlists for cleaning. I hum, I sing (off-key!), I drum on things with my hands, recite rap lyrics in rhythm. I still remember many moments when I felt in my body music was changing me. Music is one of my tools for coping and processing this world. It’s in my brain; it’s in my body. To try and ignore that would be destructive.

Final note: This is what I pulled up before I dug into questions today…

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