Yesterday, I was struck by the emotional power of music to influence our world. I looked at a muted video on the screen of a violent riot. The pounding of the feet, the yelling, the explosion of gun fire, bodies falling to the pavement, people screaming and crying out in pain, all seen in silence. Although shocked by the visual, it felt surreal, it did not touch me as true because I could not hear the pain and so felt isolated and protected by it. As if what I was watching was in the past, not real.
For some odd reason, I flashed back on a 1970’s era short called, “Bambi meets Godzilla”. In this pen and ink short, a cute little Bambi is dancing to Bambi music when suddenly a giant foot of Godzilla smashes down on top of Bambi leaving only a giant foot on the screen and complete silence. Following this, a mile long list of credits and maybe more Bambi music (I don’t remember). Anyway, with my sick sense of humor, I thought it was hilarious.
Why? Why do we laugh at a slap stick comedy routine? What is funny? The music. How about pep rallies at school, or military bands? Why do they make us feel like part of a team, a powerful force to change the world? The music. What about the music at church? Why does it make me feel more spiritual or perhaps bring me to tears?
The emotion of music has great power. Power to change our view of reality, even. It can be a source of great evil and harm, beauty and goodness, whimsy and happiness. It is a strong influence and needs to be understood and respected as such. We carry this power in the music we perform and the music we compose. I am humbled today by such a force and hope to remain respectful of this power we have through our music to make a difference in the world.