The music of relationship
Years ago I sang professionally in an a capella quartet. We were the darlings of the nursing home circuit singing old time hymns and a few more contemporary tunes.
From the stage, it was beautiful to watch someone slumped in a wheelchair perk up to sing along. We were triggering old memories. Some were dancing in their seats by the time the show was over.
The proceeds earned were channeled into more music and music lessons. That lasted for three years. Our joy in music vibrated through our audiences and everyone left happier. And lighter.
From that experience, I learned two things.
First, I learned to change my story about feeling stupid.
Here’s what I mean. At the beginning of a tune, you pick up your note from the pitch pipe. One person starting even slightly off key ruins the entire opening. It is impossible to fake your way to a clear ensemble sound. The only recourse for the group is to just stop. Start over.
If it’s YOU that’s off-key – everyone knows it. When it was my goof, I sounded dumb, but never felt stupid. Yes, I missed my note, yes I started anyway, and it sounded stupid. But it didn’t make me stupid.
It was actually funny. It didn’t happen often enough to make anyone feel bad, and everyone had a turn. From those experiences, I learned that feeling stupid and being stupid are two completely different things.
I also learned about entrainment.
At about the same time our quartet was performing, the drummer for the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart, wrote a book, Drumming at the Edge of Magic. It has been argued that Hart owns more drums than any other person alive.
As he says, “In the beginning was noise. And noise begat rhythm. And rhythm begat everything else. This is the kind of cosmology a drummer can live with.” Right on, brother.
In his book, he described the phenomenon of entrainment. When musicians spend a lot of time in rehearsal and performing they begin to embody the music. It reverberates in your very cells so that you are breathing at the exact same time, you sway and move together and your heartbeats synchronize. That’s entrainment.
It is magical.
The music surpasses the competence of any one performer. We are all better together. The music becomes part of your body, which then broadcasts to your audience.
They may not know why, but the audience feels the difference. The music and rhythms touch you at a deeper, more primitive level. It resonates. It moves you to dance in your wheelchair.
In this month of February, the month of Valentine’s and love and relationships, I invite you to think about how you bring about entrainment with those around you. How do you resonate?
Is the fear of feeling stupid preventing you from singing your song? Does your quest for independence and self-sufficiency prevent your connecting at a deeper more energetic level with your loved ones?
How can you use the magic of your participation in a relationship to reverberate and create a closer alignment?
Please comment below and share how you make music flow in your life (whether you’re musical or not). And if you’re still searching to find that song, or a way to tune your starting note, contact me. I can help you with that!