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Keith J. Clark

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There are two passions in my life. ..music and work with "spirit" (paranormal). Music was first. By the age of 5 you could hear me singing to records on a Fisher Price record player. They were mostly Christian records, Christian gospel...and some were  recordings like the Disney movies Bambi and The Fox and The Hound. 

As children my sister and I sang in church, once we even  performed a duet on stage. It was a joy to sing at the top of my lungs. It was one of the few things I enjoyed about church, living here at the southernmost tip of the Bible Belt in Florida.

My childhood was difficult for me, a strange mix of love and confusion. As an adopted child my sister and I were the second set of children that our parents chose to bring into their lives. We were well-provided for physically, we never lacked for necessities. On the mental and psychological side though - there were challenges. Our parents never knew what to make of us.

Much of our childhood was spent grounded, punished for one thing or another. We spent more time punished than not. Punishment entailed sitting on the floor in our bedrooms- doing nothing. Nothing was the only thing allowed - that was the punishment. The word "STRICT" would be an understatement. As a result I spent much of those younger years alone.

The first time I received several cassette tapes and a Walkman for Christmas I thought my mother had lost it. What had possessed her to perform such a radical non-conservative act? Had she felt a moment of weakness, a moment of kindness? Was it an last minute purchase or was it a miscalculation? Rock music was a part of the "secular" music genre as we Christians called it at the time. Holding those cassettes in my hand I wondered what had happened to make me feel lucky. 

What does a child do while sitting on a floor in a room by themselves day after day during punishment? Well..my sister and I....We both dreamed. We dreamed of everything we could be, everything we thought we didn't have. Everything we wanted.

There were other ways to pass the time. Count the popcorn nuggets on the ceiling. Trace the patterns in the carpet with your finger and mind and memorize them. Talk to yourself. And cry. There was a lot of crying in those days.

Over the years I would sneak a book from the bookshelf and methodically shift all the books so that their missing place would not be noticed on the family bookshelf. I read encyclopedias sets several times. We owned the Encyclopedia Brittanica and Funk & Wagnalls. Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, and even an entire Western collection by Zane Grey were other notable favorites that I stole one at a time and absorbed like a sponge, devouring every page. It was much more exciting when it wasn't allowed.

And...there were songs. I would take the cassette backing from cassette tape cases and hide them away under my bed. When nobody was around I would read those lyrics, and sing the song to myself, over and over again. This was comforting to me - music. In those moments, while reliving the song in my mind, I was happy.

It wasn't until 11th grade that I was first introduced to the concept of musical notes. All this time I had thought people simply memorized a song because they had good memory cognition. Who would have thought that music followed a pre-defined structure?

Mr Reeves, my choir teacher, was responsible for this great eye-opener. He taught me how to sing, how to make harmony, how to blend. Out of all of my classes - choir was my favorite. I had fallen in love...with music. It was, and will always will be my first love.  With music I had felt free of the chains of life and sadness.

This would become my first introduction to the effects of a symphony upon the tired weary soul.  It was the first time that I realized...music must be from heaven!

The song below "came through" during the writing of this first blog post. Its one of many songs that seem to pour through me when in an altered state. Like most, it has few words. The structure appears first, and sometimes even words.  I share it here as an act of baring my soul...and to see how many of you just might feel the same way about some of the feelings expressed here. 

Share with us what music means to you. Are you inspired in similar ways? What do YOU make of this tired and sometimes dreary world? How would you describe your experience?

Comment below.  Let it all hang out!

 

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Hi Keith,

I absolutely feel in the exact same way about music. It has always been my place to go when feeling sad or something like that. That is why I've been learning to sing for 4 years now.
When I was 13 I studied guitar playing for 3 years... I used to be really good about it. Unfortunately, my teacher was classically formed, and wanted me to follow the same path. I wanted to play rock songs, but she insisted on having play classical scores. I got fed up, quit, and never touched the guitar ever again. I also never learned to play any other instrument, but I wished I did.

At 18 I had a life-changing, severe accident in my right hand, out of which the hand was practically useless for several years, and that added to not going back to playing the guitar, or learning another instrument. I keep telling myself that one of these days I will learn to play the violin because I just love it, and it seems easy on the right hand.

NOTHING, and I mean, nothing, beats the feeling of tuning to a live orchestra! (not through speakers but being right there).

I LOVED that song by the way!

For me, just as you said, music was my first love. Which is why this is one of my all-times favorite song:
 


 

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