The Gift of Music


"Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart, have you begging please.
Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven."

These lyrics were penned in response to tragedy, when guitarist Eric
Clapton's son Conor fell to his death from a New York high-rise
window. The music helped him heal.

In 1994 the city of Sarajevo was daily under siege. Mortars and
artillery fire in­stantly transformed once beautiful buildings into
rubble. Sarajevo's citizens were frightened, weary and in­creasingly
despondent. Then, one February day, a mortar shell exploded in the
market killing 68 ci­vil­ians. Many more were wounded and maimed
from the blast.

A cellist with the Sarajevo symphony could no longer stand the
chaos. He took his cello to the market, sat down amidst the rubble
and played a concert. When he finished, he simply took up his
instru­ment and left.

Every day, for 67 days, he came to the mar­ket. Every day he played
a concert. It was his gift to the city. He did it because he felt
his com­munity must find a way to survive, and music can bring hope.

Music is a great gift. When I need to start my day in the right
frame of mind, sometimes I'll sing. Music aligns my thoughts and
emotions; my mind and spirit. When I awake in the middle of the
night, I go back to sleep best if I sing in my head. Music calms and
centers. When I find myself experiencing a moment of happiness, I'll
sometimes sing out loud. (It works best when others are not
present.) Music expresses joy like nothing else can.

One of the greatest cellists of all time was Pablo Casals. He exiled
himself from his native Spain during the regime of Francisco Franco
and became a world citizen and a great humanitarian. Casals
passionately desired that the world exist in peace and harmony. He
said once that if all the orchestras in the world were to play
Beethoven's 9th Symphony simultaneously, then peace would come to
the world.

I wonder if that is true. But if not peace, then perhaps joy might
come. Or hope. Or healing.

It's the gift of music.

-- Steve Goodier