Music for the soul

Being sick and getting woozy, or feeling like I can faint from too much activity, keeps me from “jamming” much these days. But last night, a couple of friends came by with their musical talents and abilities, and the Wind Cried Mary. Or someone was crying- maybe it was the neighbors because it was so awful. But I don’t care.

I was most likely an undiagnosed ADHD/ADD kid, as those from my grade school can attest, so when I broke my back in high school and moved on to college, I needed to put my energy somewhere other than physical activities. That time and energy went to music. Over the years I have enjoyed learning many instruments, reading music, learning songs and jamming. Most of all, I have loved writing songs.

With the restaurant/bar, the music was my meditation. I came home, no matter what time, maybe even two in the morning, and made melody. I played until my fingers bled, or my eyes closed, sometimes jam1even falling asleep on the floor of my music rooms or studios.

But I could face the next morning with the strength I needed thanks to my sessions, even with little sleep. That was the magic of it. It was spiritual. It did something for the brain and for the soul.

When I was younger, in my twenties, friends would come over to record, and we would work so hard on a song for so long that when you finally looked up, the number of empty bottles and the time on the clock was shocking. But oh, was it worth it.

Nothing much happened with 99% of those songs but that was okay, because it was about the experience more than the song. It was about melodies and harmonies and timing and creative processes. And again, that spiritual enhancement. And it made my life better and me better at my life. I swear to it to this day. Whether it’s business or writing or parenting – you name it. I suck at all of it – but running creative juices again and again makes me a little better in all those areas. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The brain runs better when the creative side is used.

Why do we respond to music so deeply, whether listening or playing or writing? Have you ever heard anyone say, “Ooo I don’t like music.” I doubt it. It is true what they say about it. It is the universal language – the only one. Love isn’t universal. Please. If it were, we’d all be happily ever after. Music is the one I don’t have to speak your language, you don’t have to speak mine, and we can sit down and have a four-hour conversation.

I was reminded of why I continue to learn and play last night, and why I miss it so much during this illness. I still keep the piano and classic guitar close by- don’t worry. But the songwriting and the interacting musically with others has been so few and far between, that I forgot how much I need it. I am grateful for the good day and the chance to do it again.

So I hope you have many “Music days” as well.

Maybe that’s painting or sculpting or writing or dancing or Yoga or high-wire walking or mountain climbing or mountain falling or cooking or dog walking or biking or Kayaking or Karaokeing  or exercising or WHATEVER. But if it feeds your soul; if it exercises your brain; then do not let it yield. Get back to it. Your happiness depends on it.

Ugly Blues face
Ugly Blues face

NOTE – I was at my residency for MFA and absent for a while. Talk about feeding the brain. (And the liver) I hope to be back weekly if not more – blawging.



Published by Dave Mainelli

Small business owner, former International franchise business consultant, a musician, father, husband, and writer. Served on the B.O.D. for Red Hen Press and Fine Lines Literary Magazine, an MFA in Writing from the University of Nebraska, and a teacher for Wayne State and Iowa Western.

6 thoughts on “Music for the soul

  1. I love your blog, Dave. Look forward to every new entry. Hard to say which is my favorite, but I think you should try to get this one on music published in a magazine. It speaks to all of us.


  2. Great bit Dave and so true. How often do we find ourselves listening to the radio and when we hear a specific song start to play, it can bring us back in time to a particular moment with associated feelings both good and bad. Whenever I hear 38 special, I get transported back in time to grade school at the roller rink at cheap skate. Witchy Woman, takes me back to a break up with girl. And of course Stevie Ray or Jimi Hendrix reminds me of late night Jam sessions. Thanks for the call last week, had a great time and looking forward to the next one. Keep up the great blogs, I really enjoy them.


  3. My father, Steve Gehring, sent me a link to your blog. I’m a “jazz” guitarist out in Brooklyn, NY and having grown up in Lincoln & sharing some of your life story I really enjoyed reading your entry. I wish you all the best Dave, Ray Gehring.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: