The power of music



My high school friend, Debbie, was telling me how she went to help take care of her infant grandson for five months when her daughter had to return to her work as a symphony violinist. Deb bonded deeply with the child, often singing a particular lullaby to put him to sleep.

Many of us have done this with children or grandchildren. But even she was surprised when two years later, she was able to comfort him 700 miles away using Apple’s Face Time technology when he was asking for grandma to sing his song.

“It was magical,” Deb said.

There is something about music that connects us emotionally across miles and years. Many have also written about the power of music to stir and revive memory for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementia when nothing else will. Many of us find that music during worship services communicates deeply with the unvoiced sentiments in our hearts—and moves and stays with us long after the sermon has been forgotten.

This issue of Valley Living celebrates music and what it brings to our lives—whether your music is pop, country, classical, soul, reggae, blue grass, hymns or praise songs. One of our local features was proposed by Lauree Purcell on adults taking music lessons, not to join a band or become a concert or church musician, but just for their own enjoyment. She has teenagers, but is taking piano lessons herself.

All of our daughters took music lessons for a period of time and for one, it became the key to finally dropping a lingering thumb sucking habit. But I am most grateful that each participated in the music programs of our local public schools in band/choir all through middle and high school. Other academic studies and extra curricular activities are important and enriching also, but music gave them their primary friends and provided outlets for artistic expression and teamwork. It even became the career for one through James Madison University’s excellent music program, especially the “music industry” major where you also study everything you need to know to work with the business side of music.

Of course fall is always back to school time and I’m especially pleased for Anna Kathryn Eby’s moving essay about a child who powerfully shaped her own long term work as a public school teacher here in the Shenandoah Valley. No matter how you relate to children—as a teacher, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or through your religious community connections, Anna Kathryn’s true story can help you take time to really see and appreciate the children in your life. Anna Kathryn declined being featured on our cover but another excellent current Rockingham County school teacher, Lauren Strawderman, invited us into her summer school classroom to experience a little of the magic that happens there. You will find more photos from that photo shoot below.

I especially appreciate those who stepped up to sponsor our special “music appreciation” page and all of those who regularly support the mission of Living through their ads. I hope you will in turn thank the businesses who sponsor Living by giving them your business as you have opportunity.

Thank you for your loyal following and I encourage you to tell others about Living magazine and website. Look for a special promotion and giveaway near the Word Search page in this issue encouraging people to visit our website. You’ll help keep Living strong and flourishing.

photo by Melodie Davis

Lauren Strawderman, right, a teacher at John Wayland Elementary school, and Devon Wichael, a third grader. Photo © Pinwheel Collective

© Pinwheel Collective


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