How Songs Heal

How do songs help heal people?

There is something inherently moving about music. I don't mean the actual movement from note to note, but the power it has to shift emotion and thought. When listening to music, it is common to find lyrics or a melody that soothes you or helps you come to realize things about your life. From this chapter we learn that it can also heal. The protest songs that these men and women sing somehow "enact the past" and allow for them to show their, often times, horrid, memories in a direct way that words alone would perhaps not succeed in doing (123). Not only does music help people heal by letting them tell their stories in a new, very empowering way, but, especially in this setting, it allows for people to come together and aid each other. One example is how "[w]hen a storyteller wept at the remembrance of a traumatic event, a member of the group would begin a song, and the rest of the group would take up the song, circling around the one who wept and the one who comforted" (132). This type of community support and healing is something that music helps initiate.


music image

Why did I pick this image?

The quote I used above from page 132 really struck me. There was something so innately beautiful in it. I could picture the room and these people moving around the one who wept, and I felt like I could hear the song they were singing. Words don't do that. Words can offer support and healing, yes, but this kind of image sticks with people more than words ever could. This ability to come together and form such a unique bond and power to heal feels so tangible to me, even though I was not there and have never experienced anything like what these people have gone through. If the person had wept and someone else had just merely comforted them or said something soothing, I don't think this would scene have had the same affect on me. The image and sound of them moving closer and singing together in order to comfort and support is so amazing, and I think that the quote in the image I chose exemplifies the power of song and music, not only in this chapter and setting, but all around the world. When words are not enough, or when words are not to be found, music and song can unite, heal, and move us.

Acacia Protsman

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