Books can transport readers to other times and places, immersing them in other worlds. Music can do the same, but on a more personal note. Hearing a song can instantly take you back to a particular time in your life, bringing memories of the past to the forefront.
I can still remember the words to “The Dummy Line,” a song we sang in Miss Marsh’s music class at Lincoln School, even though I rarely ever hear it. Full disclosure: I googled the lyrics and what I found aren’t exactly the ones we learned. I prefer to think her version is the correct one. She also told us the Beatles were no flash in the pan and would be remembered as long as many of the classical composers. But I digress…
I firmly believe the songs of our youth stay with us for life. To this day whenever I hear any Chicago song, I’m instantly taken back to high school (for junior high, it’s John Denver). I still sing along with Carole King’s Tapestry album, which I played constantly during my not so angst-filled teen years (and I still listen to her and James Taylor far more than anyone else). They’re my comfort food music.
I recently saw a video of an aging ballerina who now suffers from dementia but immediately struck the opening pose when she heard the first notes of “Swan Lake” and proceeded to dance the arm movements as she sat. Music reawakened the past for her and for those few moments, she was once again a young dancer in her prime. That’s the power of music.