By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand-drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, April 23, at noon.
Jon Landau, my music buddy and college roommate in the ‘60s, recently informed me that real musical instruments are becoming archaic. I wanted to tell him about the excellent music education and community music programs in Pagosa Springs. But, when speaking to the mastermind of Bruce Springsteen’s career, who also is the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the producer of the documentary, “Elvis Presley: The Searcher,” and a long list of other newsworthy accomplishments, it’s obvious who has the bigger picture.
Corresponding to Landau’s viewpoint, an article published in The Atlantic magazine is titled “How Communal Singing Disappeared From American Life – And why we should bring it back.”
“Adults in America don’t sing communally,” writes Karen Loew. “This is a loss. It’s as if we’ve willingly cut off one of our senses: the pleasure center for full lungs and body resonance and shared emotion and connection to our fellow man.”
Anyone involved in making music knows intuitively that it feels really good and that it is good for them. Music can be a powerfully inspiring, exciting, motivating experience — lifting the spirit, enhancing self-esteem and nurturing both the individual and the community. Going beyond words to express a wide range of feelings, music is a healthy outlet for the emotions. Music activates brain circuits involved in empathy, trust and cooperation, impacting our ability to connect with others. Music releases chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.
Active engagement in music making is beautifully illustrated in the musical “Latcho Drom.” The film is a compilation of joyous, soulful, energizing music and dancing of the Gypsy culture — an impressionistic musical travelogue of the migrations of the Gypsy people from India to Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France and, finally, to Spain. A cinematic tone poem, the film is a compelling perspective on how active, participatory community music making can play an important role in the well-being of the individual and the community. “Latcho Drom” is available to watch for free on YouTube and is a good reminder about the power of music.
Helping us flourish and attain our full potential, music contributes meaning and fulfillment to our lives. An opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity, the drumming class is a family-friendly activity. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. For more information, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.
By Paul Roberts