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What The Game’s Been Missing: A Sense Of Wonder


Too often we forget the inexplicable hold that music and other arts have on our personhood. For my
mother, The Sound of Music was the score that defined her childhood; I preferred to belt out lines
from Disney's The Little Mermaid. It's the playful energy you get when Ghost Town DJ's "My Boo" comes
on, the LOL factor of a Devin the Dude ditty, or the somber realization that Billie Holiday's rendition
of "Strange Fruit" is still as true now as it was when she sang it. Music serves as a marker of time and of
memory.
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As a music writer it is too easy to take the beauty of music for granted, to be jaded by its abundance.
It becomes a commodity, like everything else we consume, and it's true power is often overlooked or
ignored. However, every once in a while, you need a subtle reminder that music means more than just a
pretty melody or a booming bass line. My nudge came yesterday after watching this video:

In the clip Henry Drayer, an elderly nursing home resident, is withdrawn and unresponsive to prompts
from his family members and nursing home employees. And then they give him music. An iPod, filled
with Henry's favorite music, took him from glassy-eyed to alert in a matter of minutes. He could recount
his favorite musician (Cab Calloway), move his arthritic body to the rhythm, and even bless the interviewer
with some of his vocal talents. The most powerful point of the film was the joy on his face and the moment
of recognition he has when listening to the music. This is what is missing in music today. This is what I
want more of in my own personal listening experience: a sense of wonder at the beauty of it all. Henry is
showing us all what a deep passion for music looks and feels like. And it's a heart-warming thing to behold.


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