Making music is basic. Basic need. Basic urge. Basic aptitude. Basic activity. Basic therapy. Making music heals, entertains, balances, and comforts. The ability to create music is in all people because all people require music to live in this world. Music is basic.
Playing an instrument, singing a song, clapping hands, snapping fingers, clicking, whistling, humming, tapping the feet, bringing sound out of varied items—no matter the tools used, what is created is music. Performing for others is not required when creating music. The most important audience is the music creator.
Children naturally sing and bring music into their world. They listen carefully to sounds, and notice the sounds that are emitted when they clang things together. Noise is not what they are making; they are making music! And they are learning and understanding when they create all the various sounds that children tend to make. As children are socialized, they are often chastised for the various cacophonous sounds they create, and they learn to limit their music creation. The loss of the ability to create natural music is a contributor to ants-in-the-pants behavior because the natural pull is to hear own-made sounds.
Recorded music is less nourishing than own-made music, even if the recorded music is by a virtuoso. Sitting in an audience when music is being made is more nourishing than listening to a recording alone. Sitting in an audience when a singer is lip-syncing to recorded music is more nourishing than sitting at home listening to the recording because “music” is created with the clapping, singing along, and so on. Listening to a recording and singing along is not as nourishing as singing without the recording, but it is nourishing. Listening without singing along but dancing, clapping, snapping, or doing other movements that relate to the music is nourishing.
As people age, they often leave off making music. Too busy. Too many “more important” things to do. Not so. People should make time to sing, play an instrument, hear live music performances, take part in live music performances (including religious services), and explore sounds.
(I want to dedicate this post to my good friend Lisa who has just taken up the bass guitar! Looking forward to tapping along—and dancing—to her bass rhythms.)