I feel music enhances our experience of life as a journey. Music helps us remember events, ideas and people. We have a better chance of recalling arbitrary ideas and conversations when we have inextricably linked them to a song or a tune. Ever wondered why a certain song gets into your head when you are looking at a certain part of a wall or thinking of that certain someone? ;-)
Aside from reinforcing our memory-associations, music helps us define ourselves and what we stand for. The influence of music stretches farther than mere stereotyping of characters. We realize with time that a death metal lover need not be a drug addict, or a soul music lover a peace activist. The kind of music people listen to in public also differs from what they enjoy in private. I for one, love Latin ballroom tunes and pop dance numbers at parties, but listen to soft country sounds on a solo trip.
Music lovers are seldom lonely. Whether they are driving across countries, dining out alone, solo-kayaking downriver or taking that day-long flight. They know they have a friend in music. Sometimes also a lover. Perhaps they enjoy the music playing on their laptop more than the actual lovemaking they do with their partners. And they certainly are stirred by the background scores of movies more than the action on the big screens.
Music is not just a companion. It is more. It has unforeseen power. Foetuses have known to respond to music from the womb! Babies have a stronger sensory system if they have listened to classic compositions. Research gives a thumbs up to Mozart and Beethoven for making babies intelligent. Marathoners have attributed their perseverance to music in many cases. Music is also famous for bringing people back from death! Well, almost. There have been instances of people coming out of coma when they've listened to their favourite bands or tracks. The power of music also extends to love. You have a higher chance of falling in love with someone if you have a nice score playing when the two of you meet.
When music has been together with us through everything - our birth, pain, love, struggle and death, can it be reduced to a "background" score? Music takes the centre-stage in our lives. And we must recognize it for what it truly is.