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MM#11 – Silence: Life’s Rare Commodity

Silence is golden.

As a suburban dweller sometimes I think it is life’s greatest commodity.

I first truly experienced silence during an all day cross country ski trip.  Being at the back of the pack I made sure to pace myself knowing I was not in as good of shape as the people I was skiing with.  Occasionally I would stop after a particularly difficult hill and pretend to be adjusting my boots, or taking off my gloves.  During one of those stops the group in front of me rounded a corner of a mountain and suddenly I felt a blast silence. The silence was almost deafening.  There was no sound or transfer of vibration or wind in my ears.  It made me stop.  It immediately brought my vision into clear focus.  I felt a reverence for all that was around me and I made sure not to turn too fast as I knew if I did, this feeing would end.  I was not scared.  I felt almost hugged by nature itself soothed in its embrace as if it was saying, “here is your moment, enjoy.”

“Jennifer are you okay back there?”  my friend called back to me.

The moment was over.  I was sorry to have to have speak but I responded and continued on our trek.  I have never experienced silence in such a powerful way since.

Music uses silence in the same way…to capture your attention.  To grab hold and hug.

Music Therapists use silence for the following reasons:

a) to give space to a client who’s timing may be at a slower tempo then others, but who’s voice is as valuable

b) to offer a time of reflection on a learning or growth point

c) to allow the brain to digest the last note  and prepare for the next

d) to develop focus and attention and supporting a positive group dynamic

Nina Simone is one music entertainments sansei masters of silence. She will manipulate her audience into following every note that is played, resting on the right word in the spot she wants you to rest and then she just breaks, re-entering into the next line with conviction, demanding you not to leave the moment that she has created and believes you may be changed by her message.

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