What Music Means to Me

What Music Means to Me

I’ve been feeling uninspired by my blog lately.  The topics I’ve been writing about have felt…trite.  Make no mistake about it: whether or not Macklemore is gay, 10 fun facts about Coldplay and what B.o.B. really stands for (no, I could barely get to 10 and Bob.  Happy now?) are certainly hard hitting and of critical national importance, but they have left me feeling a bit empty.

I felt particularly embarrassed recently when we did an exercise at ChicagoNow where we interviewed another blogger.  The person I interviewed has an adopted special needs daughter that she writes about.  Even worse, the blogger who interviewed me writes about cancer!  And she was interviewing me about music!  How trivial is music compared to cancer.

But she didn’t make me feel like music was trite at all.  We discussed how music can help people through hard times and feel connected to others.  Both the woman who interviewed me and the one I interviewed talked about meaningful concerts they attended that either provided a much needed respite or signified a turning point of some sort.

And as I whined about my silly topics on a Facebook group, someone suggested that I start to explore the impact music has on people.  As I started to think about it, I became more excited about the idea.

Sometimes expressing how music has been meaningful to a person is hard to articulate, as it is for me.  I don’t have a job that relates to music, I don’t have any discernible musical talent and I don’t actually even love going to concerts, but to say I just really, really like music is a little underwhelming.  Here are a couple tidbits that might help paint a picture:

• After I discovered Bruce Springsteen with Born in the USA, I went back and used my babysitting money to buy his six previous albums (tapes) and then painstakingly hand wrote the lyrics (as best I could) to ALL OF THEM.  It was pre-internet.  I also walked ten miles to school every day.

• I once penned a letter to Eric Clapton trying to express to him the impact that his music had on me.  I was an adult when I wrote it.  He did not respond.

• One of the more vivid things I remember about my oldest child’s birth is that I failed to take my own music for the birthing room and ended up listening to the radio.  Overnight.  When they play Led Zeppelin.  And Pink Floyd.  It still upsets me to think about it.

• I listened to my tape of James Taylor JT so much that it literally wore out and I had to buy a new one.

• Two weeks ago I was in the car and heard Carly Simon’s “That’s the Way I Always Heard It Should Be” and I actually started crying.  (Have you ever listened to the lyrics???  They’re downright tragic!)

• Today I watched John Legend’s new video for "You and I" and started crying while I was eating lunch at my desk and then again on the train.  (Watch it and try not to cry.  I dare you!)

All this is my attempt to explain that even though I don’t have any musical talent (skip the word “discernible”- the talent is simply not there), don’t like concerts and have a job in the financial field, music has always had a huge impact on me.  And I know I am not alone.

I would love to meet and interview and share the stories of people who might possibly have even more interesting stories about music than I do.  Maybe music helped you through a difficult time in your life, maybe it led you to your current career or maybe it helps you feel connected to someone.  If you’re interested in sharing your story, email me at musicmom.chicagonow@yahoo.com.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

And now because I want everyone to watch this video, here is the John Legend video for "You and I."

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