The Healing Power of Music

Isn't it amazing how we can listen to a song and it will take us back to a remembered time with extraordinary visceral clarity? I remember one of the few times I ever saw my Dad cry was when I was sitting next to him at the Broadway musical: My Fair Lady.  Julie Andrews was singing, "I Could Have Danced All Night, and I saw a tear roll down my Daddy's cheek.  It was such a beautiful moment.  My Dad also loved the song,"Mack The Knife,"  and he said he wanted it played at his funeral.  I never knew if he was kidding or not, but I arranged to have "Mack The Knife" played as guests left the memorial party!

I remember we used to always have music playing on the record player in the livingroom at home when I was growing up. . . when I was very young it was my parents music.  One tune that inspired me greatly was "Jezebel" by Frankie Lane. I was about five or six years old and I was trying to learn how to play the castanets.  I'd put on "Jezebel" and whirled and twirled clacking my little castanets.  It was thrilling, and I'm sure quite a spectacle to behold  watching a little five-year-old girl dancing passionately to the song "Jezebel"!

 Music has healing qualities, too. When I was little, my Mom used to crush asperin in a spoon and put a little sugar and water with it so I would enjoy swallowing it. Music can be like that. It touches places inside ourselves that little else can. Sometimes, it "breaks our hearts open!" If I need to cry and can't seem to get the tears flowing, it gives me a "kick start." I put on a song selected strategically for that purpose, and it works most every time. I believe that it helps heal hurts, gives hope, and unites hearts. It's God's way of "giving a little sugar" so we can swallow some of the medicine of llife's learning.

As a young teenager, I remember listening to a radio station play Dion's "Runaway" about 20 times one night - consecutively.  I listened to it every time.  I wonder what it was that made me (and others) so attached to that song? Bonnie Raitt recorded the song, too - that gives it immediate credibility in my book!  Eventually I wrote a parody of the song and performed it many times about a middle class couple, Harry and Blanche, who had settled into an unimaginative "tv dinner lifestyle" and the husband goes "bonkers" one night and runs out the screen door when his wife asks him if he would like a "coors light."  But that's another story for another time.

I'd love to hear about any music that has inspired, healed, or made you a "Runaway!" 

 

4 comments

  • julie glick
    julie glick
    Yes, music definitely leads us thru our life! Every time I hear Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" it takes me to Saquaro Lake in my brother's boat after the funeral service for my Dad. Peace it is what it gave me and it still does everytime I hear the song.

    Yes, music definitely leads us thru our life! Every time I hear Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" it takes me to Saquaro Lake in my brother's boat after the funeral service for my Dad. Peace it is what it gave me and it still does everytime I hear the song.

  • Karyn
    Karyn
    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice that brings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power. There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Art refers to all the arts.) I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational force for you. Good for me. Good for you! Yay! There's lots for me to fill in as we continue our connectedness. A theater project working on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing. I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer? How about the music other than your guitar. I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter coming my way. That was something to hear of your father tearing up to "I could have Danced all night." That's one of my favorite Broadway songs too. I also loved 'Just you Wait Henry Higgins' from the same musical. As for me, one healing song is 'Solace' the Scott Joplin which I can actually play on the piano with my limited ability. It got me through the actual day of 911. Despite the healing power of words for me as a writer, it was music that I needed to get through such a horrific day. I then attended a special concert of the Choral Society doing a requiem at Duke Chapel and to the over flow on the grass outside. We lit candles and held them as the music was piped out to those of us who couldn't get into the thousand seat chapel. Theater itself has been healing for me - for grief, music is extraordinary. I loved your story of the castinettes at 5 to Jezebelle. We had a similar experience. My uncle John, taught me to sing: Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women when I was about 3. I'm glad you have such fond memories of your parents' tenderness toward you and care for you. I remember our neighborhood much without adults. The kids roaming and visiting a great deal on their own. More memories to come. We will stay in touch. Love, Karyn

    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your
    c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice that
    brings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power. There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Art refers to all the arts.) I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational force for you. Good for me. Good for you! Yay!
    There's lots for me to fill in as we continue our connectedness. A theater project working on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next
    August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I
    enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing.
    I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it
    yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer?
    How about the music other than your guitar.
    I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter coming my way.
    That was something to hear of your father tearing up to "I could have Danced all night." That's one of my favorite Broadway songs too. I also loved 'Just you Wait Henry Higgins' from the same musical.
    As for me, one healing song is 'Solace' the Scott Joplin which I can actually play on the piano with my limited ability. It got me through the actual day of 911. Despite the healing power of words for me as a writer,
    it was music that I needed to get through such a horrific day. I then
    attended a special concert of the Choral Society doing a requiem at Duke Chapel and to the over flow on the grass outside. We lit candles and held them as the music was piped out to those of us who couldn't get into the thousand seat chapel.
    Theater itself has been healing for me - for grief, music is extraordinary.
    I loved your story of the castinettes at 5 to Jezebelle. We had a similar
    experience. My uncle John, taught me to sing:
    Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women when I was about 3. I'm glad you have such fond memories of your parents' tenderness toward you and care for you. I remember our neighborhood much without adults. The kids roaming and visiting a great deal on their own. More memories to come.
    We will stay in touch.
    Love,
    Karyn

  • Karyn Traut
    Karyn Traut
    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice that brings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power. There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Art refers to all the arts.)I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational for me. Good for you! Yay! I've been working on a Theater project on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing. I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it >yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer? How about the music other than your guitar. I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter coming my way. Love, Karyn

    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your
    c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice that
    brings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power. There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Art refers to all the arts.)I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational for me. Good for you! Yay!
    I've been working on a Theater project on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next
    August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I
    enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing. I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it
    >yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer?
    How about the music other than your guitar.
    I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter
    coming my way.
    Love,
    Karyn

  • Karyn Traut
    Karyn Traut
    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice thatbrings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power. There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Did > > we talk about that at the Hoffman's?) (Art refers to all the arts.) > > I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational force for you. Good >for me. Good for you! Yay! Working on a theater project and working on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing. I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer? How about the music other than your guitar. I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter coming my way. That was something to hear of your father tearing up to "I could have Danced all night." That's one of my favorite Broadway songs too. I used to go through our Edgemont house singing it at the top of my lungs after school before my parents got home from their teaching days. I'd have 2 hours between my arrival and theirs -- it was my time to pull out the stops -- figuring no one could hear me. I just loved the singing even though I know I'm not a singer that could ever sing for others. (I don't have the voice for it.) I also loved 'Just you Wait Henry Higgins' from the same musical. As for me, one healing song is 'Solace' the Scott Joplin which I can actually play on the piano with my limited ability. It got me through the actual day of 911. Despite the healing power of words for me as a writer, it was music that I needed to get through such a horrific day. I then attended a special concert of the Choral Society doing a requiem at Duke Chapel and to the over flow on the grass outside. We lit candles and held them as the music was piped out to those of us who couldn't get into thethousand seat chapel. Theater itself has been healing for me, in terms of the emotional work I've needed to do. I can deal with difficult people and not let them have power over me now. But for grief, music is extraordinary. I loved your story of the castinettes at 5 to Jezebelle. We had a similar experience. My uncle John, the love of my familial life, taught me to sing: Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women when I was about 3. My mother was mortified when I'd belt it out in public. But I thought it a catchy tune. I'm glad you have such fond memories of your parents' tenderness toward you and care for you. I remember our neighborhood much without adults. The kids roaming and visiting a great deal on their own. More It was indeed terrific to see you again. We will stay in touch. Love, Karyn > > > > Karyn Traut, M.F.A. Artistic Director and C.E.O. Perihelion Theater Company and productions P.O. Box 208 Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

    Hi Lee! How wonderful to get both your messages. I've listened to your c.d. now twice and loved it both times. You have a wonderful low voice thatbrings such feeling to the lyrics. Yes on music as a healing power.
    There's more for me to tell you about -- how I taught for 5 years in the
    medical school here the course: Performance, Culture, Art and Healing. (Did > > we talk about that at the Hoffman's?) (Art refers to all the arts.) > >
    I'm so honored to hear that I've been an inspirational force for you. Good
    >for me. Good for you! Yay!
    Working on a theater project
    and working on setting up a venue for our show at the Edinburgh festival next
    August -- so I had just gotten your card out to respond to you how much I
    enjoyed the c.d. and here is your message to me. Perfect timing.
    I was interested in your back up singing on your c.d. Did you do it
    yourself by layering on different tracks or did you have another singer?
    How about the music other than your guitar.
    I'm really impressed and am happy to have your Cowgirl Jazz newsletter
    coming my way.
    That was something to hear of your father tearing up to "I could have Danced all night." That's one of my favorite Broadway songs too. I used to go through our Edgemont house singing it at the top of my lungs after school before my parents got home from their teaching days. I'd have 2 hours between my arrival and theirs -- it was my time to pull out the stops --
    figuring no one could hear me. I just loved the singing even though I know
    I'm not a singer that could ever sing for others. (I don't have the voice
    for it.)
    I also loved 'Just you Wait Henry Higgins' from the same musical.
    As for me, one healing song is 'Solace' the Scott Joplin which I can actually play on the piano with my limited ability. It got me through the actual day of 911. Despite the healing power of words for me as a writer,
    it was music that I needed to get through such a horrific day. I then
    attended a special concert of the Choral Society doing a requiem at Duke Chapel and to the over flow on the grass outside. We lit candles and held them as the music was piped out to those of us who couldn't get into thethousand seat chapel.
    Theater itself has been healing for me, in terms of the emotional work I've
    needed to do. I can deal with difficult people and not let them have power
    over me now.
    But for grief, music is extraordinary.
    I loved your story of the castinettes at 5 to Jezebelle. We had a similar
    experience. My uncle John, the love of my familial life, taught me to sing:
    Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women when I was about 3. My mother
    was mortified when I'd belt it out in public. But I thought it a catchy
    tune.
    I'm glad you have such fond memories of your parents' tenderness toward you
    and care for you. I remember our neighborhood much without adults. The kids
    roaming and visiting a great deal on their own. More It was indeed terrific to see you again. We will stay in touch.
    Love,
    Karyn
    > >
    > >
    Karyn Traut, M.F.A.
    Artistic Director and C.E.O.
    Perihelion Theater Company and productions
    P.O. Box 208
    Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514

Add comment