Have you ever stopped to think about what our everyday lives would be like without music? Try it: no music at all. I’m going to walk you through a world devoid of music. In the end, I’m going to ask you a few questions that will hopefully get you thinking. Grab a cup of coffee. Things are going to get dry really fast.
You wake up in the morning to your usual beep-beep-beeping alarm. As you stretch, you turn the dial (or ask Siri…Alexa…or Cortana) to play some music. The response is “I’m sorry, I’m not sure what ‘music’ means.”
So you listen to talk radio. All morning. Now, this in and of itself isn’t bad. It’s great to stay informed, right? But…there is no theme music, no transitional music, and no closing music. It’s just a voice, droning on about stock prices and politics. Have you run screaming to the hills yet?
You turn on the TV to check the weather. Before the report, a giant green man is trying to sell you peas, but there’s no fun little jingle to tie everything together. Peyton Manning is selling insurance, but not with a catchy tune to which he keeps changing the words.Nationwide is on your side, but not with any music. Red Robin…Yum! is just spoken by a man in a three piece suit holding a hamburger. Nothing gets stuck in your head, making you smile when you share it with your neighbor.
Boring. Uninteresting. Dull.
As you drive to work, it’s nothing but people talking at you…no breaks to hear any people singing or playing instruments. There is noPrince to mourn. There’s no Adele as you know her – there was no music for them to create. All you hear are people chatting – and it all sounds the same.
As you enter the elevator, there is no music to calm your nerves or remind you that things will look up as the day begins. It’s not just another manic Monday. Ruby Tuesday never made an appearance. Billy Joel can’t sing about crashing your party on Friday.
At lunch, you decide to watch a quick episode of Seinfeld on Hulu – but there’s no jerky bass line to transition from scene to scene, almost commenting on the hilarity of the nothingness. And what’s more…when you were watching that movie the night before, there are no cellos and string basses to announce the approach of a great white shark. There are no trumpets, trombones, and French horns to underscore the arrival of Darth Vader. He just walks into the room and says, “Hey guys…I know you can’t tell with all the breathing noises, but I’m pretty evil. Don’t get on my bad said, ‘kay?” There’s no dark musical theme from the orchestra…because in a world without music, there’s no composer and no orchestra to play that theme.
There’s no Take Me out to the Ball Game at the seventh inning. There’s no “fail music” from the tuba, softening the blow when contestants lose on The Price is Right. Jeopardy contestants actually have to look at the clock to see if they are running out of time. At the Olympics, people just stand on the podium in silence as flags are silently raised into the air. People stare at each other uncomfortably.
There’s no protest music…no Woody Guthrie, no Public Enemy, no Bob Dylan. Pete Seeger never asked where all the flowers have gone…because music doesn’t exist.
There’s no Carpool Karaoke clips the morning after and no fanfare when a certain Italian plumber saves a princess from a weird, evil turtle. That turtle probably had a bad day because of…oh, I know…no music.
Music touches every single part of our lives. It’s around us all the time, and even when it’s not, it’s in our head. We hum and tap our feet. We drum out a rhythm on the steering wheel.
Okay…here are our questions – we’re back to a world with music:
Where do you think all that music comes from?
Right – from people who trained to be musicians. Most of them started young. They spent countless hours practicing and studying to become the best musical versions of themselves.
If music obviously makes everything it touches better, why is it almost always the first thing to go?
You know what we know: research tells us that kids involved in music are smarter, possess a greater level of social and emotional development, and are, on average, happier. These kids test better in math and science. They are advanced readers and have larger vocabularies.
All these things are great, but remember: music for music’s sake is just as viable of an advocacy statement. There are things music does in ways that are completely unique and have unending value.
What can I do?
Get them involved early – as early as you are comfortable doing so. Really – getting that newborn exposed to music and movement right away is a gift. And once your kids are in school, be a booster! Be a vocal supporter for music in the schools. Yes, we need insurance agents and nurses and construction workers and lawyers and engineers (and music can help your daughters and sons get there!)…but we also need poets and artists and dancers and actors…and musicians.
Friends, a life without music is grey and silent. Kindermusik wants the world full of musical color. We’re waiting for you and your little ones. Like the poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote:
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams
Join us. Dream with us. Make music with us. The world will be a better place because you and your child both had a song in your heart.