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Music saves lives - I know, it saved mine

Music is my job. It pays for my apartment (well, sometimes), it fills my days and has allowed me to travel and occasionally buy nice clothes. I should, therefore, be constantly spouting off about its value in society and why more people should sing and why music should be at the heart of the school curriculum etc. To be honest, I do. I am passionate about all of the above but not because it pays my bills (every now and then - as I sit writing this hoping someone will hire me to write about music otherwise the bailiffs are coming). I'm blessed to be in a position where I get paid to make music, but that's not why I do it. It's certainly not why I care so much about other people having access to it. I care because it saves lives - I've seen it and I've experienced it for myself.


I grew up surrounded by music; it's something I will be eternally grateful for. Music is the reminder of so much good in my childhood and was an escape from the bad. Phil Collins was the soundtrack to holidays with our family friends and Van Halen reminds me of summer drives with my Dad. It was inevitable that during a particularly rough time, it would become more than just a soundtrack and take on the role of being a lifeline.


One of the things people don't tell you about 'living your dreams' is that you lose your hobby. You lose the thing you love more than anything because it becomes normal. It becomes the everyday, and that is actually incredibly painful. It leaves a void in your life that cannot be filled with anything else, no matter how hard you try. Growing up I would sit in bed for hours with my headphones on listening to music late into the night. I would walk home from school listening to music, I would do my homework listening to music, I would listen to music on my lunch break at my first job. When I was working full time as a musician, I didn't listen to music for pleasure, ever. It was no longer my escape. I don't really know what was to be honest. Driving, I guess. The bizarre thing is that I didn't really think about it - I had no idea how beige my life had become.


One night, I sat down with the rest of the country to watch Elton John at Glastonbury. I was never an Elton fan before that night. I woke up the next day and ordered rhinestone glasses and a sparkly baseball outfit from Amazon (I didn't). In all seriousness, that performance changed me - it shone the brightest spotlight on everything my life was missing and the time that followed was tumultuous and hard. Over the course of the following weeks I left the home I had bought the previous year, the relationship I'd been in for nearly seven years and at the age I thought I'd be married and with children by, started over again. The only thing I had left was music. For the first time in years, the headphones went on.


-A screenshot of lyrics I took last July. Undertow - Genesis




I can't write about that time, partly because it's not that interesting but also because it's impossible to describe. You will only know if you have been through something similar. I went through it alone and for the first time in nearly a decade, I needed music. When people talk about music they talk about it making you want to be in Ibiza or lounging in front of a fire or driving on the pacific coast highway with the roof down (that's what Van Halen exist for). I don't ever hear people discussing its ability to tap into whatever emotion you're feeling and release it. If you need to cry, Lost Without You by Freya Ridings will make you sob. If you need a pick-me-up, Born This Way by Lady Gaga will make you walk into work and ask for a pay rise. If you are angry and need a release, listen to Die Young by Black Sabbath and you'll avoid punching someone in the face and keep your job. When you feel like your world is falling apart and you need words of comfort, music will always have your back and it's there that the real tragedy in it being cut from the curriculum, in budget cuts resulting in the loss of orchestras and choirs and live music venues lies. In a world as sad as this, music saves lives. We need it.


I've created a playlist on Spotify of songs featuring words of wisdom. If you need them, they're here:


NB: Because music is great but isn't actually paying for my apartment, I'm available to write about it - brooke@singschoirs.co.uk



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Unknown member
Mar 07

Thought provoking words Brooke. I also made my hobby my job so can relate to you completely on that. Songs can bring back so many memories and singing them in choir can be emotional but healing.

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Unknown member
Mar 07
Replying to

I agree! Thankyou Diane Xx

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Unknown member
Mar 07

Very poignant. Different music from different genres can hit the spot at different times.

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Unknown member
Mar 07
Replying to

Absolutely!

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Unknown member
Mar 07

Beautifully written 🤍🥲

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