Over the next month, writers and musicians from around the world will join us every Wednesday to share their love of music through the written word.
Today I am happy to introduce to you Lisa Listwa, a retired teacher, freelance writer and wife of a musician, who talks the importance of music as we travel through life’s journey.
Life is a journey.
It’s a lot like a road trip. Some of the best road trips are along those long and winding roads we find when we aren’t looking to go any place in particular. But no matter the destination, if you’re taking a road trip, you need one essential thing: your tunes.
Music is part of my heritage. I come from a musical background on both sides of my family and I am married to a musician. Music has always played a major part in my life. I grew up listening to music of all kinds. I am blessed to have had the opportunity from childhood on to attend concerts, plays, recitals, jam sessions, and more. I have experienced music live and recorded, in formal concert settings and at backyard barbecues. Music is always there.
If you asked me to tell you my favorite kind of music, I would be hard pressed to tell you. I find it difficult to choose only one favorite when it comes to music. There is no way I can define a favorite. What I like best depends on my mood. It depends on the day. It depends on what I had for breakfast, what the weather is like outside, and what I have to get done before I pick up my daughter from school. To focus on my writing, I might choose the spa channel from the Internet radio station. To clean the house, I’m going with Bon Jovi or Aerosmith. If I want to relax on a Sunday afternoon, I might pull Bach from the shelf. For a walk outside, I might opt for the Beatles. If I want to work out some frustration I’m going with Beethoven’s Fifth.
When it comes to style or genre, there are so many I have loved. I enjoy listening to anything. My tastes range from classical and baroque to jazz standards and rock. I will listen to bubble-gum pop, hard rock, indie pop, alternative or anything else you throw at me.
An eclectic mix of people and circumstances allowed me the pleasure of enjoying a variety of tastes. I’ve heard it all. My mom played classical piano as well as Sunday church music. My paternal grandfather loved John Philip Sousa and concert band music. I remember the distinct sound of those marches played on a 78 turntable. I remember dancing around my grandparents’ living room to ‘40s dance music. I learned the hits of the easy listening station when my grandfather took his naps. I know the words to my parents’ favorites from the ‘50s and ’60s. I had teenage uncles and learned to love the ’70s greats they listened to after school in the afternoon. I can sing along to a large offering of ‘80s and ’90s radio hits that span my teens and early twenties. I can play “Name That Tune” with the standards of the Real Book and might make a pretty good showing if that game show still existed.
Music underscores every moment of my life, it seems. Some songs make me think of certain people – an old friend, my first crush, my mom, my husband, my daughter. I remember certain songs attached to a long list of particular events. I know the songs that played on the day I learned to ride a bike and the day I got my driver’s license. I can tell you song that played when I had my first slow dance with a boy. I remember what we listened to at lunchtime during summer band practices. I remember the songs from my father and grandparents’ funerals.
If you think about it, I would be willing to bet you could say the same. Take a few moments to imagine a time in your life – any time. Recall the details. Picture the scene. Now listen to the music – what’s playing?
Music provides the soundtrack for our lives. It is an essential part of our human makeup and provides everything we need in life – words, melody, and rhythm. Music makes us laugh and cry, sing and dance. It inspires, delights, and entertains us. It can soothe and comfort us. It can bring us to our knees. In a human heart there is so much emotion; in a human mind there are so many ideas. We need something as sensitive and powerful as music to bring it all together and help us make sense of our journey through life.
We need music for the long and winding road.
Lisa is a wife, mother, and self-employed recovering high school English teacher. She works as a freelance writer, editor, and tutor.
Lisa lives with her husband, her daughter, and three Rotten Cats. She spends her time stacking the pile of books to read ever higher, wondering if she should have been a chef, and trying to figure out where she last left her damn cell phone.