Music & Movement

Music & Movement

“To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right
Simple Gifts, traditional Shaker song

We are musical creatures. It is like a rising tide inside us, making everything inside more fluid and connected. Our feelings are aroused and calmed. Our memories flash forward as if they happened yesterday. The impulse to move – to sway, to tap – to dance – is almost irresistible. It’s us with our lights on. Even with no external music, we sing inside.

Our physical and emotional reactions to harmony and dissonance are being studied like giant math challenges. Listening to (and relistening to) sad songs can be 3-minute journeys into our feelings - to mingle and linger with them - healing at our own pace. Music defines cultures and generations. And love. Is love even possible without music? “I hear singing and there’s no one there. … You’re not sick. You’re just in love.”

Perhaps more than any other art form, music is recognized as a powerful tool in the medical sciences. It is used during surgery. It reduces stress and lowers heart rates. It can facilitate exploration of memories or fears. It can break through autism’s communication barriers and can bring temporary freedom to those who struggle with stuttering. 

Research suggests that singing evolved to facilitate social cohesion. When we bring our voices together, the sound we hear and participate in is bigger than any one of us alone. We feel the strength and goodness of this larger whole. Our connections and commitment to one another are reinforced. We become community. 

MUSIC - Cultures and groups are always interested in activities that bond their members together. Choirs, cantors, muezzins and Buddhist chants guide members into core stories or reflection. Call and response, drums, bells and chimes weave people into a single voice. Nations have their anthems. School have their songs. Each generation develops its own sound and genres - saying, “Move over. It’s our world now.” Music is also a power player in movies, stealthily telling the emotional story. It can build or relieve tension, touch our hearts or reference another time or culture - often subconsciously.

DANCE & MOVEMENT - It begins in a rocking chair, perhaps with a lullaby. Holding our babies close to our hearts and our voices we move as one - again. Moving together is a life-long bonding activity. Mirror cells throughout our bodies are always on high alert to anticipate a person’s next move so we can mirror that move. The impulse to connect and align is hardwired. We synchronize our steps when we walk together. We adjust our posture and gestures to align. Social dancing is a celebration of our ability to get in tune and in touch with one another.

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