Earlier this year we were part of a brilliant project with music in the round which explored the relationship between music and art. Ten community groups created artworks based on the music they were listening too. Since then I have been thinking a lot about music in our daily lives and how it contributes to and improves our well being. I listen to music every morning as I walk to work, but the music I choose is very reflective of my feelings, you can tell if I am feeling reminiscent or yearning for the past when my Ipod is full of songs which remind me of friends. Sometimes I will be feeling very sombre and play film scores and music I can get lost in. Whether I am feeling happy or sad the choice of music always improves my mood and helps me feel ready for the day. Sometimes choosing the slow sad music will in fact eliminate those feelings from my day. All from a choice of song.
But we do not always have a choice in what music comes into our days, we have all been annoyed by the fancy cars that pull up at the traffic lights blasting crude dance music into the beautiful autumnal day. Likewise, I am sure many people have felt a smile creep onto their face when you happen to hear a busker with a beautiful voice singing a forgotten song.
The main thing I have been noticing recently is how having Piano’s in stations effects the travellers moods and I must say I applaud whoever first had the idea to insert these instruments in stations up and down the country. A close relative of mine who suffers with mental health problems including anxiety in certain environments was telling me how she felt calm in the chaos of St Pancras listening to a man playing music, the beautiful music compelled her to get up and ask if she could sing along, before she knew it several people were watching and singing and one of those beautiful life affirming moments happened where the world feels safe and full of love in a situation she would normally feel anxious. Similarly I witnessed another instance at Leeds station where a man who had been begging got up and went over and played one of the pianos, although the tune he was playing was simple the experience lit up his face and his smiles from playing the music made me feel happy when two minutes before I had been mad at northern rail for their late running trains!
I have seen many people playing these pianos, businessmen, homeless people, children, students , tourists. All play different songs but all seem to walk away from the piano feeling a bit happier about their day because of the music in it. They will also unconsciously have improved the commuting experience for many others who were perhaps calmed or entertained by the background music they were providing.
There is something beautiful about music and it’s ability to change your mood that is not to be overlooked and I hope to continue to be surprised by strangers musical talents for many years to come.