Okay, raise your hands if the title now has you humming something. For the rest of you, look up “Schoolhouse Rock” on YouTube and come back. SO I’m going to write something about music. I know nothing about music and certainly not enough to write a blog post on it, right? If I hit the right note while singing, it is completely by accident but I might scare one as I pass every now and then. The only instrument I can play is the trombone which I haven’t really found a way to work into marine education and few historical figures seemed to play as a hobby.
I do know one thing, though. Music is powerful and can be a force for interpretation. Other authors have expressed their thoughts on music:
“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe”
– Lao Tzu
“If Music be the food of love, play on.”
– William Shakespeare
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
– Victor Hugo
The quotes I selected above talk about music reaching deeper feelings and somehow expressing something that cannot be said. I was thinking about this topic at an odd time; as I recently attended a memorial service. It had been pretty standard until the presiding minister asked if anyone had anything to say about the deceased. After some normal sort of sentiments, a small African American lady in a walking cast made her way to the podium somewhat slowly. Tucking her graying hair back, she said “I can’t say what I feel so instead I’d like to sing” and this voice suddenly filled the space. She needed no accompaniment; no microphone. The power in her voice and the raw emotion moved even the most hardened of us. When she finished, the space suddenly felt empty despite being full of people. No words could have done that and mine don’t do it justice.
I’ve seen music used with great effect at historical sites, but didn’t really include it in my bag of interpretive techniques. We’ve recently tried musical interpretation at our Aquarium thanks to some very talented folks on our staff (don’t worry, I’m not playing the trombone) and we know that it’s catchy. People respond to it. You hope for that “earworm” that will be remembered for a long time. Even someone as non-musical as I am can appreciate results like that. Feel free to add your favorite musical quote or story. Meanwhile, I’ll hum…
I’m just a Bill, yes I’m only a Bill.