Why do we need music? This is a question I have a hard time convincing myself the answer of. Strange to say, seeing as I am a musician and a singer, and I spend hours – countless hours – listening to music, thinking about music, talking about music… I’m listening to music now as I write. (“How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful by Florence + The Machine* if you’re wondering.)
The answer to this question continually eludes me; but it shouldn’t. I’ve been a pianist for years. I’ve been studying opera for the past five years. I’m an organist for two churches for the past two years. Shouldn’t the answer be self-evident? Why don’t I have this instantly convincing answer for myself as to why I’m continually drawn back to this art form that I have sacrificed many aspects of my life for.
You may think, “Oh – Annette, you obviously must love it so much since you can’t stay away!” That is not necessarily the case. I don’t love music unconditionally. Some days my ears are so tired that I pray for nothing but silence. I’ve hated pianos, pipe organs and operas to the point I’ve vowed I would never sing or touch the instruments again. (Obviously, these fickle sentiments didn’t remain a permanent fixture.)
But, certainly, I love listening to music and that’s what draws me back every time. I make sense of my life and my story by finding just the right song, lyric or motif that seems to reveal some part of myself to me.
Perhaps, in an abstract way, and not in a way I can empirically prove to you, musicianship and artistry is a need for me, as it tells me something about myself, my story, my life and my place in the world.
Stay tuned as I continue to search out the answer to this question.
“I am hitting my head against the walls, but the walls are giving way.” – Gustav Mahler
* Currently listening to…