The Healing Power of Music - Jeanne Johnson from Music of Spheres
Once upon a time on a dark and stormy night, I was on my way to play a solo violin concert, driving two hours through an apocalyptic rush hour with Biblical floods, thunder and shrieking sirens. Most of the tickets were sold at the door, and I doubted that ANYONE would venture out on such a night. And although I love performing more than anything, even I didn’t want to be there! When I finally arrived after a harrowing odyssey, I was stunned to see a full audience, cheerfully chatting in anticipation. I was profoundly humbled and moved to realize they felt that I – and the music -- had something that worthwhile to share. There was a woman with a scarf wrapped around her head, and I realized that many of them were probably dealing with cancer, or grief, or divorce, or abuse, or loss of hope, and I was overwhelmed with a deep love for every one of them. From that moment on, I dedicated my music as a healing vessel for my audiences. I asked that whatever needed to transpire would flow through the music, and that whoever needed to hear would be in attendance. I sent love ahead to my audiences from the moment I was hired for a performance. During concerts I opened wider and wider to allow the energy to flow through me, until I no longer felt like I was moving my own arms. The concert hall became a church. And to my amazement, people really seemed to experience something. When they came up to me after a performance, the words they spoke changed. Instead of commenting on my performance, they thanked me or cried or spoke of a cathartic experience or long-forgotten memory. They treated me like a personal friend. I knew I was definitely not the one doing the healing, but I was thrilled and honored to be a vessel for it.
Music is the perfect vehicle for this kind of emotional healing. The listener sits in the dark, safe and anonymous, hidden. There is no eye contact. There is no accountability. The performer is a lightning rod for emotion, sending its arcs and tides across the Escher archways that connect all our emotions as one. Notes vibrate beyond the vast limitations of words, transmitting emotion directly like a hologram, a dolphin language of sounds and shapes with no intermediary of insufficient verbiage to confuse or explain or dilute. The pitches and sound waves act like radio waves, providing an invisible avenue down which emotion can travel and be transmitted directly to the soul, where it resonates with buried emotion like a tuning fork, remembering, cleansing, releasing. A catharsis occurs there in the hushed, expectant darkness for listener and performer alike. A deep connection is forged to each other and to a rhythm larger than ourselves.