The Healing Power of Music
Music has a unique power to touch our souls. It’s why every religion relies on song and sound in some form — communal prayer and singing, church choirs, hymns, kirtans, mantra.
Think about your favorite movie, and imagine what it would be without the score. Even background music is noticeable in its absence; a good score is like another character in the plot.
In previous hard times, musicians have joined together to perform benefit concerts to raise money. We’ve relied on the comfort of music to get us through.
But what happens when everyone is confined self-quarantine? Thankfully, this is not the day the music died. The band (and musicians and choirs) plays on, albeit in new ways.
Every dark moment has its bright spots, and one of the lights of this moment for me has been enjoying “quarantine concerts” and innovative choral singing, For this week’s Feel Good Friday, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite music-related inspiration that I’ve found on YouTube.
I’ll update this post as I find more music inspiration.
If you have favorites, please share links in the comments.
My Favorite Feel Good Musical Inspiration
(1) Andrew Lloyd Weber Invites Us Into His Home
Andrew Lloyd Weber, the most commercially successful composer in history, credited with reinventing the musical, the man behind Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunset Boulevard, and others, sits at his piano in his house and plays his hits.
The first one was All I Ask of You, from Phantom of the Opera.
In a separate video, he plays Any Dream Will Do, from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He invites viewers to film themselves singing the song and send him the videos, because he’d “like to have a look at them.” And I believe he just might view them all.
These videos are sincere, intimate, and personal, like we’re being invited into his home. It’s such a joy to watch him play, even without a full orchestra.
(2) Phantom of the Opera London Orchestra Responds to Andrew Lloyd Weber Video
The orchestra of Phantom of the Opera in London saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s video from home isolation. In response, each member of the orchestra played their parts of the song in their individual homes, and compiled it together in one video that included Weber’s original.
One of the comments called it “the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since the beginning of the quarantine.”
Watch the Phantom of the Opera London Orchestra play All I Ask of You.
(3) Paul Simon Acoustic Performances
I’m sure longtime YouTubers would find much to improve in Paul Simon’s acoustic performances. It looks like he is performing in a stairwell. The lighting could be better. But here’s what you can’t improve: it’s Paul Simon singing his legendary songs.
He dedicated this performance of The Boxer to New Yorkers to stay strong during the coronavirus.
This is one of my favorite songs from Simon and Garfunkel, and I loved hearing this in a new way. Plus, Simon changes up the melody a bit.
(4) Jon Bon Jovi Invites Us to Contribute to Do What You Can
Apparently Jon Bon Jovi came up with the line “If you can’t do what you do, you do what you can” while washing dishes at a soup kitchen last week. He went home and wrote a chorus and the first verse, then opened it up to fans to submit their verses.
Every artist knows that sometimes the best way to work through hard times is to create something. I can’t wait to see what evolves here.
Watch Jon Bon Jovi explain and sing Do What You Can.
This may end up being an anthem of the coronavirus. #DoWhatYouCan
(5) Pub Choir Turns into Couch Choir
Pub Choir is a concept where people gather in a pub, learn a song together and then perform it. Having been a choir singer for many years, I know the work it takes to perfect a piece. This is a fun concept that you might think would have been on a break during this global shutdown. After all, it is centered around public gatherings in a bar, which is off limits.
Thankfully, the directors of Pub Choir aren’t limited by such beliefs. They asked the internet to stop “misery scrolling” and to sing with them. In just two days, over 1,000 people from 18 countries submitted a video of themselves singing Close to You by The Carpenters.
The Pub Choir directors added each video to the collective and created magic. This is really so cool.
Watch the “Couch Choir” perform Close to You by The Carpenters.
(6) Students Sing in Harmony From Separate Spaces
When The Chino Valley Unified School District’s annual choral festival was cancelled, the students all sang their individual a cappella portion of “Over the Rainbow” in their separate homes, and put them together in a video that seamlessly blends the harmonies.
It’s a beautiful arrangement of the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of this classic song about hope and dreams, and simply a joy to watch and listen to the different harmonies blend together.
One of many examples of why we need to continue to support the arts in schools.
(7) Doctors’ Rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine
We will never have enough thank yous and gratitude for the the doctors, nurses, and other first responders who are putting their lives at risk daily to care for and treat those who are ill. The word “hero” gets thrown around a lot, but they are truly heroes.
Drs Elvis L. Francois (vocalist) and William Robinson (piano) took a much needed break from one form of healing to give all of us the medicine of music.
Dr. Robinson explains the power of music to heal:
Music is one of the dominant players in the art of medicine. It kind of brings about a certain level of healing that’s really hard to do with any sort of pill or surgery or anything like that.
The story behind it when John Lennon originally wrote it was a song about unity and bringing people together, and I just felt gravitated towards it, especially in sort of dark times like we’re going through right now. Something that really uplifted me and I felt I could hopefully share that with people.
This kind of healing is exactly what we all need right now. I would love to find a clip of the full song, but for now, you can watch partial clips and the interview of them here.
What’s inspired you during these dark times? Please share in the comments.
If you missed last week’s post on my favorite coronavirus parodies, check that out here. Parodies combine music and humor, a powerful combination for healing in these times. I’ll be updating that one as well.