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Radio silence- How we use music in times of trouble……



In the last few weeks life has gotten in the way of planned blogging.  With family on-goings and hopsitals to be in, it has got me thinking about how we use music in our lives for rituals.

Three weeks ago my dear Nanna passed away.

Early on her last morning, she had an iPod brought in with old Scottish tunes on it. She was singing along nice and loudly entertaining the nurses in the Intensive Care Unit. This gave her great pleasure and brought up memories and stories she told us all and made the whole family smile.

She said her goodbyes to everyone and slipped away that evening.

I didn’t really have the words to describe how I was feeling about things. Then I heard this song “Say Goodbye” by Lovers Electric and that was it. That was the words I was looking for (not a great clip but buy the song on iTunes… it’s gorgeous).

When she had passed away and the family was bringing together a service to honour her, music was pivotal in our decision making. Nanna had spoken to me in the weeks before about a special song she wanted played for her husband at the service, Lara’s Theme from the movie Dr Zhivago. At first I thought it was an odd selection, but then found a version with the lyrics, it is beautiful and piognant, like a final goodbye for my Pa.

Other musical highlights of the service included a Bagpipe player piping quite a number of Scottish songs which would have made Nanna very happy, and a dear friend of mine sang Amazing Grace. Having such a good friend sing was wonderful for two reasons. Firstly she is an amazing singer and did a beautiful job. Secondly, and more importantly, she did it for me. She did it when I didn’t have the energy or strength to do it for myself.

Music gave me comfort, strength and the words to say what I couldn’t.

Sometimes we forget when we are teaching students the impact we are having, helping them connect, create and express with music. It goes beyond what we do just in their lessons, music enriches our lives.

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