Why Music? (Part II)

Speaking from Experience

I played my first gig when I was 15. It was an assembly in my high school gym. It was compulsory which meant that no one really wanted to be there but it also meant that the first crowd I ever played to was about 1,200 of my peers. I was not a popular kid (most musicians never were) but during that show I saw guys and girls lose their mind regardless of social standing.

That was 23 years ago. I never stopped. These days I am fortunate enough to play between 50-100 gigs each year. I do not mention this to boast but to underscore the fact that I have seen first hand how music affects people. Yes, when we are up on that stage, we are watching you just as much as you are watching us. Here are a few things I have noticed …

Music can make the mundane memorable. Its Friday night and the last thing you want to do is cook so you grab your spouse, hop in the car and head to a local spot where you’ve eaten countless times. But, on this occasion, something is different – live music. Dinner turns into dessert which turns into drinks which turns into dancing which turns into a night you’ll both remember forever.

Music can connect the cloistered. Perhaps you can’t even remember the last time you had a meaningful interaction with another person. But the band plays your favorite song and you glance across the room to see it written on someone’s face that this is their favorite song too. That is all the excuse either of you needed to approach one another and spend the rest of your lives together.

Music can rejuvenate the rejected. Its been one of those weeks. Everyone and everything stinks. What started out as a trip to the bar (live band, tonight only) to drown your sorrows turns out to be an unexpected night of joy complete with sing-alongs and high-fives and commiseration with friends you didn’t even know you had. Sometimes when you feel most like a pariah is when you have the most in common with your fellow man.

Music can inspire the inert. Have you ever been stumped by a challenge? Have you ever felt stuck on a plateau? Have you ever thought, “I’m not going to get up there and make a fool out of myself?” Then the music kicks in and the answer is clear, the way forward is suddenly illuminated and you realize that making a fool out of yourself is the most fun you’ve ever had. I have seen all of this and more from behind the fourth wall.