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This week, as I was frantically working, I happened to come across a video on my newsfeed. A friend had shared a short video of Beaker singing Ode to Joy. I’m always up for a laugh, particularly at work when I’m mired in my professional problems and a little frustrated. The video was a short, and funny, and I was hooked.

In the end, I think I watched this video 20 times. I was so caught up in it that at one point I took off my headphones, only to discover that every one of my coworkers had left me. They had abandoned me to my own devices, and frankly my devices had me in complete abandon as I listened to Beaker and then various other groups play this song.

I know it sounds trite, but I love the Ode to Joy. It definitely marks me as someone who doesn’t really understand classical music that I would count this song among my favourite classical pieces. But I just can’t resist it. There is something so infectious about this music. The way it builds, and becomes lighter. The way the notes soar upwards. I can’t help but go along for the ride.

Listening to this song makes me wish I hadn’t given up on music; it makes me wish that I had stuck it out, found a new teacher, one who could actually teach me to read music, and then learned how to express my joy by joining in. I move my feet, my hips and my arms. No other piece of music can make me want to interact with it the way this one does.

And I do, and I don’t think I’m alone. In my travels through YouTube I found another video, this one of a flash mob in Spain. The music builds in a familiar way, getting ever lighter, faster and always more joyful. As the musicians gather in a public square, and the music becomes more powerful, and harder to ignore, people out for drinks, walking their dogs, or doing their shopping stopped to take a moment to enjoy the music. I was struck by how joyful the crowd became, and how so many people felt the urge to be part of that music too. They danced, they sang, they climbed poles and retaining walls, while pretending to conduct, or at least keeping time. When it’s all over, you realize that nearly everyone has participated in this performance in some way, and everyone is happier for it.

I won’t lie, I spent most of the next day listening to and watching parts of this video. I then went home and downloaded 10 different versions of Ode to Joy. I’m completely addicted!

While this has been a great year for me, I know that it has been a difficult year for many, including some of the people I love the most. We’ve all lost people close to us, we’ve had to deal with change and loss of different kinds and at different levels of intensity, but I hope that you can watch these videos and take the time to enjoy and celebrate the peace of the season, and the feeling of joy that this music can give us, if we open ourself up to it.

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