Okay, I admit it.  I’m a Broadway musical fan and a Tony Awards fan and the Tony Awards are almost here!  Sunday night the popcorn maker will come out, the phone won’t get answered and I’ll be glued to the tv, waiting for snippets of Broadway musicals as the Tony Awards salute excellence in Broadway theatre and the gift of music!

Why title this Soulistry reflection “A Poohian ‘Theology’ of Music”? It’s because music speaks to my soul – nourishes my soul – delights my soul … connects me to the Divine.

Without a doubt, if I were ever able to make a return visit to New York City or London, I would love, love, love to get tickets for some musicals.  But as that’s unlikely to happen, Sunday night will do –  a night in front of the tv watching the musical performances on the Tony Awards show.

What’s with the “Poohian” in the title?   It’s because Winnie the Pooh once said: “Poetry and Hums aren’t things which you get.  They’re things which get you.  All you have to do is go where they can find you.” (A.A.Milne author of “Winnie the Pooh”)   The “poetry and hums” get to us!  And when they do, the body expresses emotions being experienced in the soul when fingers rap out a rhythm, toes tap a beat, heads nod, larynx hums a tune or sings out loud.

When the “poetry and hums” get to us, healing can happen. Feelings of sorrow, anger, frustration, fear, rage, passion, grief and even boredom can be relieved.  Courage can be awakened.  Love, passion, happiness and devotion can be nurtured.  Our physical body can become stimulated with increasing blood flow, speed of circulation, muscular energy, and metabolism.  And we can be connected with the Source of All Life in a unique way.

Music is gift.  Music gifts us with the ability to reflect, remember, and become re-created.  Maybe it’s the combined right/left brain activity that takes place when we sing, play instruments or listen to music on the radio, tv, CD’s, stereo or at a concert.   Maybe it’s the soul-soaring as hymns are sung, psalms are chanted, sung prayers are offered.  Maybe it’s the unique embodiment of art, wisdom, theology and emotional release in word and song that captures our heart and mind.   Whatever it is, music appeals to our soul and senses.

Society reminds us that music is a wonderful part of our existence: music awakens astronauts (and many of us) first thing in the morning … music entertains at concerts … music enriches movie experiences … music is often played in stores, elevators, airplanes and even restaurants … and music has an endurance that is retained in the deepest recesses of memory.

Those who have worked with stroke victims and neurological disorders know that people who have forgotten so much (even the names of their partner, children) have been known to play music on the piano, hum the melody of beloved hymns, toe-tap to remembered songs, and respond to meditative choruses.

One of the greatest conductors of all time, Leopold Stokowski, once said that “there are regions so elusive in our life of feeling that only music can express such intangible and sublime visions of beauty.”

There is no doubt that music awakens the soul and that an inner part of ourselves connects directly to the Holy Other whether that music be Rock, Country, Classical, Reggae, Chamber Music, Jazz, Latin, Folk, Celtic, Gospel, Spa Music, Country, Blues, John Philip Sousa marches, Gregorian chant, Chuck Berry, Celine Dion, Paul Anka, Barbra Streisand … whether it be penny whistle, French horn, bass, bagpipe, flute, bassoon, cello, comb and tissue paper or even one’s own whistling!

Music can make us dance and skip, move us to tears, and encourage us to be as happy as Winnie the Pooh on a fine summer’s morn!   It’s true, Pooh, music can be a wonderful bridge between the body and soul.  “All you have to do is go where they can find you.”

May we make time to go where music can find us.  And may we remember that “music gives life to everything” and give voice to the “poetry and hums” that nurture and touch our soul beyond cognitive understanding.   

© june maffin

Quote by Plato – on Paste Paper (using technique by Madeleine Durham) – mounted on two different colours of cardstock.