It was a damp Seattle evening in May, as I settled into my seat at Benaroya Hall to hear the Seattle Symphony. I was attending an event with a friend, and it was our “pre Mother’s Day treat” to ourselves.
Dinner and the Symphony!
But that evening was a special night as it was one of their “pops” concerts. A Tribute to The Vinyl Years, A Classic Song Book! We were looking forward to hearing the orchestra and vocalists perform music from The Dobbie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Styx and Billy Joel.
Little did I know that I would experience something in that performance that I will never forget. I get a bit emotional just thinking back to the moment!
Midway through the performance the orchestra began to play Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin and soon after that famous intro the vocalists joined in… That old familiar song that was released in November of 1971 which some say is the greatest rock song of all time.
In 1971, I was attending Mango Junior High in Sunnyvale, California. (Back when Sunnyvale was a small community with groves of cherry trees, long before Silicon Valley!) I had heard this song a million times, even danced to it in those junior high years on the dance floor.
This evening in May, when the symphony played, I was suddenly carried away not only to that junior high dance floor but my entire youth growing up in Sunnyvale. As I sat in the auditorium with everyone listening to the same song, I was magically transported.
It’s a feeling I will never forget as I felt like I was on a magic carpet, flying around my town looking down and observing all the different memories from living there. My trips to the library, bike rides on the “bumpety road,” picking up flowers at the flower stand to surprise my mom, pizza with my family prior to being dropped off at the dance.
While I was being transported, I heard the orchestra, but I didn’t hear the lyrics because I was enjoying this wonderful ride. Normally, I would resist this experience and say that I needed to pay attention to the symphony, but I was allowing myself to have this “out of body experience” and when the song was over, I had landed back in Seattle and my 60-year self.
I was filled with an overwhelming sense of emotion at the end of the song. The symphony gave me a wonderful gift of remembering so many things that I hadn’t recalled in many years.
We hear about the power of music and its ability to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and mental alertness. Perhaps you’ve had that experience where you’ve been having one of those days until a great song is played and your mood suddenly lifts and your vibration changes?
You’ve been walking and when an upbeat song plays your stride quickens and you have a pep to your step? Can you recollect a time where this has happened to you? Maybe you too have heard a song, and it transported you back in time to a special memory.
A Johns Hopkins University Study says, “If you want to firm up your body head to the gym. If you want to exercise your brain listen to music.” They share that if you want to stay young, it’s best to listen to or play music! Music has a way of jumpstarting creativity! Listen to music that your kids or grandchildren would listen to today. It forces the brain to understand a new sound which is a mental exercise.
There have also been studies that cite the power of music to help someone in the stages of Alzheimer’s. This article from the Alzheimers Association shares that playing music to an Alzheimer’s patient can help them to reduce agitation and behavioral issues that are associated with the middle stages of the disease.
It can also be a great way to connect with an individual where verbal skills are limited by clapping or dancing. Sometimes they may even recall the words to a familiar song and start singing!
Today is the day to dust off those vinyl records! Maybe even tune your piano and exercise your brain by learning a new song or playing a different genre of music. Better yet, play Stairway to Heaven on your phone right now!
When I am not attending the symphony, gardening or baking my favorite treats, I am coaching women towards their next chapter in life! What is that next step for you?
Have you been transported by music to places and times from the past? Is there that certain song or performer that takes you back to a special moment in your life? Music is like a time capsule! Perhaps you have even seen the power of music in the life of a loved one. I would love to hear your stories!