A “Poohian Theory of Music“?
Yes, ‘Poohiah,’ because it was a most unexpected Winnie the Pooh who once said: “Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get. They’re things which get you. All you have to do is go where they can find you.” (A.A.Milne author of “Winnie the Pooh”)
Music speaks to my soul.
It nourishes my soul.
It delights my soul.
Winnie the Pooh knows whereof he speaks and maybe I should have titled this blog post “A Poohian Theology of Music” rather than “A Poohian Theory of Music”?
The “poetry and hums” get to us! And when they do, the body expresses emotions, being experienced in the soul, as fingers rap out a rhythm, toes tap a beat, heads nod, larynx hums a tune or sings out loud.
When the “poetry and hums” get to us, healing can happen … feelings of sorrow, anger, frustration, fear, rage, passion, grief and even boredom can be relieved … courage can be awakened … love, passion, happiness and devotion can be nurtured … our physical body can become stimulated with increasing blood flow, speed of circulation, muscular energy, and metabolism … and we can be connected with the Source of All Life in a unique way.
Music is gift. Music gifts us with the ability to reflect, remember, and become re-created. Maybe it’s the combined right/left brain activity that takes place when we sing, play instruments or listen to music on the radio, tv, CD’s, stereo or at a concert. Maybe it’s the soul-soaring as hymns are sung, psalms are chanted, sung prayers are offered. Maybe it’s the unique embodiment of theology, art, truth, wisdom, lesson and emotional release in word and song that captures our heart and mind.
Whatever it is, music appeals to our soul and senses, and society reminds us that music is a wonderful part of our existence: music awakens astronauts (and us!) first thing in the morning … music entertains at concerts … music enriches movie experiences … music can be found in stores, elevators, airplanes and even restaurants … and music has an endurance that is retained in the deepest recesses of memory.
Those who have worked with stroke victims and neurological disorders know that people who have forgotten so much (even the names of their partner, children) have been known to play music on the piano, hum the melody of beloved hymns, toe-tap to remembered songs, and respond to meditative choruses.
One of the greatest conductors of all time, Leopold Stokowski, once said that “there are regions so elusive in our life of feeling that only music can express such intangible and sublime visions of beauty.”
There is no doubt that music awakens the soul and that an inner part of ourselves connects directly to the Holy Other whether that music be Rock, Country, Classical, Reggae, Chamber Music, Jazz, Latin, Folk, Celtic, Gospel, Spa Music, Country, Blues, John Philip Sousa marches, Gregorian chant, Chuck Berry, Celine Dion, Paul Anka, Barbra Streisand … whether it be penny whistle, French horn, bass, bagpipe, bassoon, cello, comb and tissue paper or even one’s own whistling!
Music can make us dance and skip, move us to tears, and encourage us to be as happy as Winnie the Pooh on a fine summer’s morn!
It’s true, Pooh, music can be a wonderful bridge between the body and soul. “All you have to do is go where they can find you.”
May we make time to go where music can find us.
And may we give voice to the “poetry and hums” that nurture and touch our soul beyond cognitive understanding.