Paint Me a Song

Everyone has probably read something somewhere about someone’s moment with music or the power of music.  I know it’s really an over done topic but it has great importance to me, especially since there are very few songs out now which actually can speak to someone, really touch them deep rather than just making them want to dance to whoever is lip syncing onstage.

I’m a pianist of 15 years and, like most things I do, I love the fact that I can touch people with my music.  I can put my emotion and feelings into the notes and turn them into colors that reach out to those listening, surrounding them in this emotional painting that they embrace with open arms.  I love when people come up to me after a performance and tell me I played so beautifully and I’m very talented.  I love when I am critiqued because I always have room to improve.  The most rewarding moment is when someone comes up to me and says I made them feel a certain way or reminded them of something.  That’s when you know your music has touched someone.

There have been 2 songs in my life that have made an impact greater than words can describe, that have moved me to tears because they have been so beautiful.  Now songs always move people, but rarely does a song move someone so deep they can’t even describe it and I don’t think a lot of people make that distinction.  I’ve been moved by music about cancer patients because that’s what took my grandmother, song about parents doing everything because they love their kids. I’ve felt emotions with so many different songs, happy, sad, angry, but I’m talking about something so much more, something deeper.  It’s like comparing a splash to a massive ocean wave.

I only want to talk about one of those moments.  If I did both, I think this would hold the world’s record for longest blog.  Maybe next time I’ll write about my second moment.

I was driving in my car, listening to a bunch of CD’s I took from my parents one of which was Don McLean’s American Pie album.  First of all, Don McLean is amazing.  His lyrics are always incredible and music so beautiful.  Second, you just can’t say you don’t love the song American Pie.  No matter what style of music you listen to, there is an aspect you can at least appreciate.  Even if you’re  not particularly enthused by the style of music, the lyrics are incredible, the way he phrases things.  I’ve heard tons of his songs but most of the time they were played by Mom or Dad when I was too young to actually understand more than ‘this sounds pretty’.  This was really my first time listening to his music and really understanding his words.

His song Vincent began to play and I just didn’t even know what to do.  His beautiful tenor voice mixed with a soft acoustic guitar to detail the life of Vincent Van Gogh.  With every line, getting deeper and deeper into the song it hit me more and more, so much so I just began to cry because of how incredibly beautiful it was.  I had to pull my car over because I wasn’t able to drive.

McLean became the painter, using words to create a vivid and very real images.  He didn’t just describe Van Gogh’s life, how he was a tortured painter and how his paintings lived on.  His words were so beautifully put you could almost feel Van Gogh’s pain within yourself, deep inside, loving what you do so much, never to have that love reciprocated. 

The lyrics and music ebbed and flowed just like brush strokes and I honestly have no idea what to even compare to that.  I really haven’t done this song justice, it’s in a category of its own.  I don’t even know what words, IF there are any words in any language that could describe the beauty of Vincent.

He touched my life more than he’ll ever know or anyone will ever know because I don’t even know what to say.  I’m lost for words and even now, just thinking about this song, it moves me.

So thank you Don McLean for showing me what music has the capability to do, how it can move you.  Not just move you, move is too simple of a word, it’s more like an eruption of emotion from a place deeper than most can reach.  Maybe one day I”ll have (hopefully) 1/1,000,000th of this ability and will be able to paint a song for my audience.

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