Music Makes us Great-Two Opinions
'Uncovering our Greatness' is a monthly column on becoming a great human being and has two opinions on the subject from western and eastern part of the world viz. Michael Thallium from Spain and Dr Amit Nagpal from India.
Michael Thallium’s opinion
Michael Thallium is a global and greatness coach based in Spain. Michael has spent many years of his life traveling around many countries and continents, sailing the seas, flying the skies all over the world. Since 2008 he is dedicated to his passions viz. coaching, language & communication and music.
I had never written an article this way before. I am writing it at 35,239 feet high and about 7 hours from my final destination - this is at least what the screen says, while we are flying somewhere over Greenland. I would have liked to start writing it earlier, when we were crossing the skies over the Atlantic Ocean, but it has not been until now, that I opened my laptop and began to write. Anyway, it does not matter that much because while I am thinking what to write and looking around to observe the passengers around me in this Airbus heading for Los Angeles, the plane has come back to the skies over Atlantic waters, somewhere between Canada and Greenland.
I thought that writing from the skies was the perfect occasion to openly state that music makes us great and elevates us to great heights. Music, in each of its multiple forms, is a universal language. I use it a lot in my talks, in the courses I give, in my coaching sessions, in my language teaching. To me, for instance, a symphonic orchestra is a paradigm of team work and a great metaphor to explain what happens in the brain, in our daily lives, in the different organizations in which we work, live or relate to each other. Every musician with his own instrument wants to express his voice in this orchestra.
Antonio Damasio, in his book “When Self Comes To Mind” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0L_mfpYwIk), uses a beautiful symphonic metaphor to explain how consciousness emerges in the human brain. Consciousness, the conscious mind, is the result of the work of many different areas of the brain, not just one. And the same thing happens with the performance of a symphonic work: it is not the result of one musician or instrument, not even the result of a whole instrumental section, it is the result of a whole orchestra. However, it is interesting to see that, in the early stages of the interpreting of consciousness, the conductor is missing before the concert starts. But as the concert develops, then the conductor comes to life.
The conductor conducts the orchestra, but it is the concert that created the conductor -the subject, the Self-. The conductor himself improvises through the emotions, feelings and the story telling of the brain. Creating a mind which is able to remember its past and to anticipate its future and, moreover, that has the ability to reflect, is like interpreting a Gustav Mahler’s symphony. The 8th Symphony by Mahler, “Of a Thousand” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCblPVT5rZo) , cannot be performed by just one musician, neither by a bunch of soloists. You require a multitude. The contribution of each of the parts is important, but only the whole of the instruments produces that great result. And there is something similar about the conscious mind, the Self.
That is why, among many other reasons, I think music makes us great and bonds us all. I am talking about music as a language, not as a business where egos and fashions come into play. I have already mentioned Rachel Flowers in some other articles. To me, she is a paradigm of greatness and how to overcome limitations through music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXTZCxOBguU .
Michelle van Min, another very young singer and song writer from Holland, captivated me when I discovered via Internet her song “The Middle Path” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN_o7ma_0LI). Recently, Michelle has also written a song for this 2011 Christmas. You can watch it on Youtube if you like: http://www.youtube.com/user/michellevanmin#p/u/1/G-SOkz4Cid0 . And here her last song “When I look back”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tWkI4OwhrM&feature=channel_video_title . Great!
Hardly a week ago, through a friend of mine (she is a pianist), I happened to learn about a 12 year old boy from New York, known as Blue Jay. He is another musical prodigy and has already composed several symphonies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J94fDSHuGI . Great!
Since I live in Madrid, I cannot help talking about an event that takes place every Wednesday at Café Teatro Arenal. This is another example of greatness. My friend Shahar Rosenthal organizes what he calls the “Wednesdays of Chamber Music”. If most of the people living in or visiting Madrid knew that they can enjoy artists such as Joshua Bell just for 10 €, I am sure they would attend this place every week en masse (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoi_pcGHz4Y). But it is also true that without awareness, without our conscious minds knowing that, greatness can be unnoticed, too.
Yes, music makes us great. When I started writing this article, I was in a plane. That was three days ago. Now that I am finishing it, I must confess, dear reader, that I find myself in a room surrounded by the toys of a 10 year old child. It is 06:00 am here in Oxnard, California. The other three people in the house are sleeping. The toys belong to Vaughan, who is sleeping in another room close to his mum. In the other room, there is another person sleeping. This is the person who made Steve Brant, David Presley and myself among others feel great yesterday: Rachel Flowers. And yes, I came all the way down from Spain to feel myself really great!
Dr Amit Nagpal's opinion
"The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already."
~ John Buchan
~ John Buchan
Music makes us great. Sounds funny! If music makes us great, then all of us are already great. Most of us like some form of music; instrumental or vocal, playing or listening to a instrument, singing or dancing to the tunes of music, don’t we all have some association with music?
Firstly we all are great, but we need to bring out that greatness. We all have some skill, something special about us in which we all are world class. It is our own inner beliefs which limit us, it is our own foolishness that we do not have even time to think and discover our life purpose. Now you must be thinking, “What Amit, you sound contradictory? Are we foolish and great at the same time?” Yes ladies and gentlemen, we are. We are a bundle of contradictions; we have a wise subconscious mind covered with foolish conscious mind. We are great yet we refuse to accept and recognize our very greatness. In fact, Michael Thallium has brought a slight shift in my thinking. Earlier I used to believe we can become great, now I believe we are already great, we only need to uncover it.
What better way to uncover our hidden greatness than through music and the arts. If God is the Creator, all creative people must be godly. Can we create something better than music which is beyond language, something which stirs our very souls? I may have a personal bias towards music and cartooning because they are beyond language and connect us human beings so well. If it were not so, why did the song ‘Kolaveri Di’ get world famous in such a short span? This Tamil language song from Tamil Nadu state of India, whose lyrics are fully understood only in one state, partially understood in Southern India and hardly understood in Northern India has got 17 million Youtube hits and is making the world tap its feet. Music is truly something global and great and so are the people who create it.
Music can heal, it can inspire, it can make you laugh and cry, it can give companionship, and to me music is God, omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. Music is present in the sweet laughter of the babies, it knows and represents all our emotions, it is all powerful and can make the most heartless person shed tears. Music can move mountains or in other words bring people who have become mental, physical and emotional rocks, out of their hard shells.
I can’t write more, music is ringing too hard in my ears. Here is my all time favorite Hindi song, “Yeh Dooriyaan”
(The rough translation of the song’s chorus, “These distances, the distances of the roads, the distances between the life partners, the distances between the eyes, may these distances come to an end!” So you are already missing your loved one, please don’t cry, I can feel your vibes.)
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