Drums, washboards, empty jugs and combs with wax paper
If you enjoy music, any kind of music, ask yourself this question: were you taught to enjoy it or did you just naturally enjoy it? I think I saw the answer to that question demonstrated at an outdoor church service (the last of the season) last Sunday. The music was playing and this little kid, he couldn't have been three years old, was jumping, bouncing and pretending to play his tiny toy guitar. He could hear the music, he could feel it and he just couldn't stand still. He couldn't have learned that, it had to be part of his DNA, although it probably helped that his mother was bouncing too and his dad was up front playing the drums (no pipe organs outside).
While we can be sure that there were no harps in the Garden of Eden, I am confident there was music -- humming and whistling. After all, the human voice is a musical instrument that we've had since Day One. And I'll bet it wasn't long before Adam was tapping out rhythms with twigs on tree trunks. Speculating even further -- it had to be lonely in those first days in the Garden, so the early rhythms were probably the blues. The blues of loneliness have been part of the picture ever since.
Almost anything can become a musical instrument. On the streets of our big cities, drummers beat out rhythms on five gallon plastic buckets. Improvisers have always made music with washboards, tubs with broom handles and strings, tin cans, empty jugs, glass bottles containing water and combs with wax paper.
Music expresses the full range of emotions. We sing at funerals, birthday parties, weddings, when we celebrate, when we're in love, when we're happy, when we're weary, when we're bitter and we play taps over the graves of fallen soldiers, sailors and marines. Just consider these titles for the ups and downs of musical expression: "Happy Days Are Here Again," "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen," "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," "Halleluiah," "A Almighty Fortress Is Our God," "Lovesick Blues," "I Really Love You," "I've Got A Tear In My Beer From Crying Over You" and "You Can Take This Job And Shove It."
There must be a strong energy in music because when you watch musicians singing or playing, they all seem to enjoy it. For most of them, its obvious they're really having fun. Yes, there's good music and obnoxious music, but whose taste counts? Yours. Music is art. If you really enjoy what you're listening to, or if it puts you in a mood worth having, then for you it's good music. Now if your happiness requires an iPod with 10,000 tunes, you may wish to develop other tastes and interests, but that's up to you. You could do worse.
Kurt Vonnegut was a writer who made his readers think. Vonnegut fought in World War II and was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and became a prisoner of war in a German meat locker known as Slaughterhouse Five. His best known book, named after the place where he was held, was "Slaughterhouse Five." Several others were "Cat's Cradle," "Breakfast of Champions" and "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater." Vonnegut was not only a writer, but an artist as well, and he loved music. He was not a religious person but he wrote this: "If I should die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: The only proof needed for the existence of God is music." Think about that.
The little boy with the toy guitar was energized by the power of music. You could tell by watching him that the music made him happy. There is no minimum or maximum age for that happiness. Anything (that isn't alcohol or a chemical) that elevates the spirit like that has to be wonderful.