Music for Comfort and Inspiration
Music is important to me, especially as I’ve gotten older and lost my husband. Music provides so much: an escape, a way to remember, a way to express emotions you can express no other way. Music can be a profound comfort.
When my husband was sick, music from our youth was a comfort to him. I think it helped him remember the good times and feel young again. He also enjoyed old TV shows. His favorite was The Andy Griffith Show, which depicted life as simple, mostly sweet, and predictable. Jim always had a passion for music. He played trombone in his high school band and later picked it up again, practicing down in the basement. He played music all the time as he worked or puttered around in the basement. Unlike me, he was eager to embrace new genres; he tried and liked all sorts of music. A few years before he died, I introduced him to Klezmer, a traditional Jewish music from Central and Eastern Europe. I got him a CD of Itzhak Perlman playing klezmer music, and he loved it. It’s a music by turns full of pain and joy. It’s haunting, bringing out strong emotions, and, of course, when played by Perlman, beautiful. Jim took comfort from that, the oldies from the 1960’s, and from Elvis Costello, his favorite rock composer and performer who we saw a number of times in concert.
Although I like most kinds of music, except classical jazz and atonal classical, my favorite has to be oldies from the 1960’s. Like Jim, those songs comfort me, reminding me of my youth and young adulthood. But lately, I’ve used music as an inspiration, to help get me to the pool at the gym. I first recognized the connection between music and movement in an aqua Zumba class. At the time, I was taking three water aerobics classes a week, and this one was by far my favorite. Then the pandemic hit, and the gym closed. When it finally reopened, Zumba was gone, and there was a cut-off point for how many people could attend classes; being a procrastinator, I often didn’t make the cut-off. After giving it some thought, I decided to try my own program. I got a waterproof MP3 player and went to the pool during open swim. I listened to my music (oldies, bluegrass, ragtime, Garth Brooks, and show music mostly) and “danced” for about an hour. Well, it was dancing to me, but I don’t know what the people around me thought I was doing. Anyway, I’ve been dancing ever since. It’s still hard to get myself to the gym, but it’s easier knowing that once there I’ll have a good time.
If you don’t enjoy music, you might want to give it a try. As you can see from several of the articles in this newsletter, it has many benefits.