Pretty brash title, right? What could possibly qualify as “the most important music”? Mozart? Beethoven? The Beatles? Gregorian Chants?
To me, the most important music is silence.
Seeing that I myself am a Singer/Songwriter, this might seem kind of strange to hear. But, pull up a chair and let me unfold what I mean.
Music is a beautiful extension of the soul. For who-knows-how-long, we’ve been singing, combining notes of different pitches, and expressing the gamut of emotions through melody and eventually lyric too. Humans are musicians.
Now, there are many ways we today interact with music, but there are two I want to focus on. One is this extension; we feel inspired or overwhelmed, and music is the outpouring. Like a seed that’s sprouting, the music grows forth from the source. This is bursting in song out of joy or writing a somber piece to deal with heartbreak.
Another way we connect with music is as a distraction. And, if I’m being honest, I’d say this is, for the most part, a negative engagement.
When music is an extension of us, it’s a bridge. It allows us to connect with a part of ourselves, or helps us go through a process. When music is a distraction, it’s a roadblock and keeps us from growing.
We’re not able to sit in silence, so we blast a tune. Driving alone with our thoughts is too much, so the radio gets cranked. We can’t just be, so music gives us something to do.
I want to be careful here. I’m not knocking listening to music. Being on a road trip with the right tunes is one of my favorite things in the world. The right playlist can be crucial for exercise. And sometimes, there’s nothing better than just sitting and listening to a beautiful song.
But we need to identify when those activities fall into the extension category and when they fall into the distraction category. On the outside, they can look the same, but one function helps and the other hinders.
Does this make sense? It’s a bit difficult to explain, but ultimately you’ll know it yourself. If there’s a sense of freedom with your music interaction, that’s a good sign. If the music is drowning out something else, that’s a red flag.
And this brings me to silence.
Silence, our inner solitude, our link to the world around us, is the precursor music to whatever you sing or hear. It is the underlying music, the canvas of music if you will. It is our peace and our understanding, our tapping into something greater.
You could in a way translate silence to acceptance, for silence is simply receiving what comes your way. Maybe the silence this time is your breath, but tomorrow morning it’s the sound of the birds. You are embracing the music present in the connectedness.
The music of silence deepens and clarifies the extension category of music; when you are tuned into yourself and the world around you, you are able to more freely flow and connect with music. Joy becomes more profound, sadness becomes more understood, and music more authentically weaves in and out of your experiences.
Silence also has the power to subvert and eradicate the category of distraction. See, the good thing about music being used as a distraction is that it’s a clue. It’s a signpost that something needs to be addressed; that underneath, the pure song of silence is sounding, but it’s being covered up and can’t be heard. If you go to that song, it has the power to tumble distraction down and connect you with music on a level far below the surface. Then, you’re in a state of blossoming.
You could call silence meditation if you like. Whatever name you give it, the point is that you are connected to the song that is below the surface and beyond ourselves. When that music is heard, all other music is in full frequency.
Read more by Matt Bednarsky here.
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