There is something about the power of music that is almost supernatural. The sound of a long forgotten tune can bring back clear memories of years gone by. A song that was a big part of your formative years can evoke inner visions of people and places that you have not brought to mind for a long time. Music can make you want to jump up and dance, fling your hands up in the air, catch something and wave, and all around act like no-one is watching you.
On the other hand, music can fill your soul with oxygen, and make you feel worshipful and spiritual. Last Sunday I was privileged to join hundreds of the extended Jamaican family celebrate Jamaica’s 50th in a large church in Fort Lauderdale. A huge part of the service of rejoicing, gratitude and prayer was proclaimed in music. From the Tallawah Mento band reminding us of the traditional folk songs, to the spiritually uplifting South Florida Caribbean Chorale putting modern lyrics to old classics, we were provided with a feast of powerfully emotive entertainment. It was impossible to sit there quietly in your seat. With hands clapping, head bobbing, and feet stamping we were transported to a special place. The stirring drumming of William ‘Willie’ Stewart, the melodious Plantation Methodist Brass group, along with an extremely talented pianist provided the perfect accompaniment to the joyful noises that were being made.
Teaching music to children improves their math skills. Music has been used therapeutically for people with dementia, actually improving their ability to communicate and interact with others. Music can unite, motivate, unify and enrich diverse populations. Unfortunately music and other arts are being cut from public schools in the US as states put their budgets on a starvation diet. A nation that cheats its children out of a well-rounded education is short-sighted indeed.
This summer, in the heart of Trench Town Jamaica, one of the programs offered to the children at the Trench Town Reading Center included a drumming session. Thankfully there are those who are determined to give children a vision of a possibilities and options. We need to belong to a society that values all aspects of our children’s development, which inspires them to greater heights.
I hope your weekend will be filled with music, whether it is music to make you dance, hymns to bring you closer to God, or old songs to make you sing out loud as you drive to work. As we sing we are celebrating the unique ability of humans to harmonize and create, to leave the world more beautiful than before.
One Love Family! Let us celebrate and give thanks every chance we get, we have so much to be thankful for. Have a great weekend and a music filled life!