This article will definitely stray out of our typical MS realm. It also may apply in the deepest sense and reach your inner core of understanding life..... Most likely neither, but it sounded so cool when I wrote it. Music as a life-long passion:
Music has been a part of my (Frankie) life as far as I remember. My grandfather was a lead singer/rhythm guitar player in an old school country band. My God father/uncle was a lead guitarist who was amazing at playing, and not so much life managing. My mom's brother played Bass, though we never got that close. The youngest uncle ran a successful karaoke business for a long time singing away and convincing drunk people to sing as well. Funny thing is, that's just my Mom's side of the family. My father has some musical aptitude as well. I never seen it in action in any performance, but he plays accordion and quite possibly other instruments. After all, he was the first one to put any instrument in my hands. It was a cheap Casio keyboard in the late 80's, and hid Dad (my Grandpa) had a real piano in his basement. So needless to say, it's in my blood.
I tinkered with music on and off as a youngster. I remember doing a nursing home talent show my amazing Aunt probably coordinated. I think she was working there at the time. Anyway, I played a few "songs" on my keyboard. Nothing too heavy, I was like 8 or 9. One thing I do remember is being scared to perform. Dad had the "confidence Talk" with me in the car and I was able to pull it together and do it. I probably did a terrible job, and acted caviler then. I do remember the applause and me feeling like I did something good. I never was afraid to try anything new after that..... and here I am.
My music started getting more serious around 18. A dear friend of mine, now watching over me, gave me a junior guitar. It was a small kids unit that he bought for his son, though he never took interest. I expressed my desire to play piano and how I thought that was how I'd find a woman.... He literally laughed at me. He then gave me that guitar. Man, I'll tell you what. That was a turning point in my life. I practiced any chance I could. I broke so many strings the guitar store guy and I became good friends. He saw my ambition and gave me an opportunity to trade up to a full sized and make payments. I was able to build a good relationship with Brian the Guitar guy and bought many guitars as I progressed into new areas of playing. Fast forward 20 years and I now have my God Fathers' Acoustic. I put more painful hours on that than almost anything else. It somehow saves me when I'm down and that's my inspiration to writing this article today. It has a magical way of calming me.
Music a Medicine:
We all heard the story about so and so who broke someone's heart. We all have a sad song that we associate to that horrible time in our own lives. That's what's interesting about it. It's how you feel when hearing a song that reminds you of childhood, or a certain friend. It has a place in our hearts and memories. We attach ourselves to music that moves us and makes us feel certain ways. A grocery store has long known that slow soft music relaxes people. That in turn slows them down and increases what they by. It's actual science at that point.
Even as a grown "Man" I have songs that I hear and have emotions to. It's wild to me that you can hear a few words in a rhyming pattern, with a rhythm, and boom you feel something. Some songs are exciting and rock just right. Some songs are sad and hit you in the Feels, but you don't understand why. Music brings people together or it divides them. It has this power that is bigger than the individual, bigger than community, bigger than all of us. It's used to soothe babies to sleep, or get people out of bed. Some use music at work to help the day go by, others use it to release anger.
My experience when I play music is outer body at times. That's either playing songs from artists I like or even my own originals. You find this pattern and get into it. I know you've seen it on stages before when a pianist is looking up and jamming. Or, a lead guitar screaming on top of a pattern with his eyes closed, all sweaty. He feels the song inside and follows his feeling through actions. It happens when you're alone too and it makes you realize it's like a drug. It feels good. It really doesn't matter what your state of mind is going in. I've tried them all from anger to sadness, then happy to bluesy. Whenever I was done with my session I'd feel good. A neutral feeling that resonates with me for a few days. If I miss too many in a row I am apparently grumpy... that's what I'm told by the professionals.... Tammy!
What makes it so Magical?
Stay with me on this. It may get a little hazy in the valleys, but the views from above are clear. Why I think Music is magical.......
Ok so lets say I am to play at the campground tonight. A free show like normal. Nothing crazy big. Just me, a microphone, and a few pedals with a small amp. It's not a super loud amp so people have to gather around a little bit. I like more intimate shows that foster feelings and closeness. At that point I'm really feeling nervous. I mean I am petrified and already committed. People are actually sitting around waiting for me to get started. These people did their routines all day. They come from different parts of of the country, different races and accents. But they want to hear me? I'm not famous, no one knows me really. What they do know is they may have an experience, a real person to person experience and they want to feel that. A feeling that comes from someone else's heart that they also feel inside. Hearing your own feelings expressed in a way you can never do with words.
So I put on my big boy pants and get up the courage to play. My first song is normally a song I can play blindfolded. An easy to remember song so I don't mess it up. Not that I'm trying to impress them, but I don't want to be discounted as novice either. Once I see some toe tapping and people smiling, I know it's working. My vibe is actually moving the feeling of the crowd. People are giving into my influence. They feel what I'm feeling and it makes me even more inspired to push my message out there. When the crowd starts feeling it too the room is overtaken with a power that can't be compared to any other. Rock stars must get high off of a stadium full of people all vibing with them. I'd love to feel that.
How is any of this magic?
One day sitting there alone I was thinking, "How the heck does that happen". It's this deep, caveman like reaction to my music? It became clear to me and I can't explain it any other way than as follows:
"I sit with an instrument, because that's what it is, it's a fine tool for meticulous work on the inner souls of us humans. I sit there and experience a feeling (Which technically is only certain chemicals releasing and electricity firing off in particular patterns in my brain...right?) With that feeling though, I can translate the frequency in my body to physical force. A force that controls my picking hand and chord hands separately. A force that tells me how hard or soft to play, from within my heart or soul. When I exert that force to the instrument, the strings vibrate to a frequency that resonates inside of me. Those vibrations come out of the body of the guitar and travel through thin air, to your eardrum. Your eardrum then resonates, flexes, and and interprets that back to an electrical frequency. Yes, your eardrum takes vibrations and translates it into an electrical signal again. Somehow, your brain then interprets those electrical patterns as feelings by releasing similar chemicals in your brain. When those chemicals release you experience a feeling that you did not beforehand. This feeling was wirelessly transferred to you through the air." Read that again....
Basically, I can wirelessly control the way some of you feel, if you allow it. That's the other incredible part of it's magic. You can totally reject a song because the patterns passed forward to you do not mimic that of which are in your own body. Like that's what vibing is. People vibing together and feeling mutually good with a sense of familiarity and comfort. Good vibes.
How can this relate to MS?
Ok here's the part where I'm reaching a little. I know for a fact when I play around Tammy she is happy and feeling good. I know that when I'm playing for friends afterwards they all share how good they feel and how nice it is. Right? That's what I'm saying. When your hairs stand up on neck, or you get a chill running down your spine. That's all neurological. So why can't music make you feel good if you have MS, a Neurological disorder? Do you still listen to music like you used to? Have you put that instrument down since your diagnosis? I now there are some losses that can't be overcome. I know there are compromises none of us want to make and are sometimes forced. Don't let music slip away from you if at all possible. Even if only on the receiving end or the songs.
My Favorite Headphones are:
Just because you can't play music does not mean you can't enjoy it. Get some good headphones on and find genres of music that make you feel good. Sure, a sad song once in a while is fine too. But keep the over-arching theme a happier, more positive type. I'm not saying go gospel, though many people find a lot of reprieve from that. It gives them an outlet through music and prayer. For me personally, I like the comeback kid type music. Music of people overcoming hardships. Sometimes music is more about rhyming patterns, and sometimes there are no words. Find the ones that make your spirit light up. We all have certain frequencies that appeal to each of us individually. Find yours and find your release. Car karaoke is pretty fun too.
The music I intend to write will be uplifting and meaningful. For that to happen I will need to write about my own experiences. I started writing music about it and it has had an amazing effect on my outlook. I don't feel as attacked by MS. I don't feel it is personal anymore. The magic it has done for me is so moving I want to share that with others. I want people to experience a vibe that takes them away for a few minutes. If I can make someone forget their pain, what else is better than that? What feels better than singing along and knowing the words? Nothing.
Music has been around longer than any of us. Music got Slaves through hard times way back in the days. It also puts babies to sleep. Finding the right music for the moment and issues you are dealing with in more complicated than actually absorbing it. Take your time to search out music that makes you feel good. In your searches you'll find stuff you absolutely hate. Other times you'll come across a genre you'd never listen to and find a song that moves you. That's the magic part of it all. Someone out there has felt your pain or anxiety and wrote a song about it.
Why not embrace music for what it is. Magical. Let it heal your feelings and keep your spirits up. Life has enough stressors, why not find something to take it away once in awhile.
Article by: Frankie Tea of TeamMSRV
Frankie and Tammy Tea live life to the fullest out of their fifth wheel camper. After Tammy was Diagnosed with RRMS life took a dramatic turn. We decided that we want to lead a life of service and adventure. We sold most of our belongings and now live full time on the road teaching people how to deal with Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and mental attitude for a better quality of life.
Visit our Website: www.TeamMSRV.com