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    HomeLifestyleKaren Telleen-Lawton: Prime Time for Music | Homes & Lifestyle

    Karen Telleen-Lawton: Prime Time for Music | Homes & Lifestyle

    My home is deep within you, and I’ve got my own place in your soul,

    Now when I look out through your eyes,

    I am young again even though I’m growing old.

    Bruce Johnston captured the amazing power of music in his 1975 hit song, sung by Barry Manilow.

    Music manages to reach the core of our innermost thoughts and emotions, sidestepping the conscious parts of our brains. We are moved by music our whole lives, from lullabies to uplifting hymns or a mournful bugle at life’s departure. In between, music can quickly bring you to tears of joy or sadness: it makes our emotions accessible.

    All of us make music, whether it’s playing a traditional Western or Eastern instrument, drumming on the steering wheel, or singing in the shower.

    Children are often encouraged to play music for enjoyment and its benefits to the brain, but musical training is sadly scarce in schools these days. My husband learned to play the flute in grade school to be different and surrounded by girls!

    Humans aren’t the only music makers, of course. We’re familiar with birdsong, but other animals also produce song in the familiar way, defined as “musical modulations of the voice.”

    Whales, frogs, mice, antelope squirrels, Mexican free-tailed bats, and toad fish all sing using their vocal cords.

    Some animals make music in other ways, such as katydids and crickets, which sing with wing movements. Cicadas have a set of two true percussion organs located in their abdomens.

    The pandemic affected music-making in positive and negative ways. The silver lining for some was more music in their lives.

    People spent more time outdoors, becoming aware of the bird song. We listened to our neighbors practice instruments outside.

    I looked forward to Monday and Thursday afternoons when instrumental tunes would fly up my canyon from a group composed of a guitar, keyboard, saxophone, and occasional vocals.

    In the foothills, Rattlesnake Canyon hikers were treated to periodic violin jam sessions in the excellent acoustics under the bridge.

    Bands, orchestras, and choirs suffered the pandemic hazards of indoor spaces with large groups of people and aerosols flying. The Granada, Arlington, Lobero, and other public spaces went silent. The Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Van for third-grade students became virtual.

    Prime Time Band, a 27-year Santa Barbara tradition for adults aged 40 and up, was a muted, zoom-only affair for nearly a year and a half.

    Then new conductor Dr. Paul Mori steered us to practice at the Music Academy of the West. Now the band is gearing up for our first free public concert since the pandemic — at San Marcos High School on June 5, at 2 p.m.

    Prime Time Band members know the power of music to make us young again. Whether youthful memories bring us to the Beatles, Elton John, Nirvana, Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Celine Dione, music draws us into ourselves and outward, to our shared experiences.

    Bruce Johnston, who has played and sung with the Beach Boys for over half a century, said it best:

    My music makes you dance, it gets your spirit to take a chance,
    And if the music’s from the heart, it’s a real fine way to start,
    It’s from me, it’s to you, it’s from you, it’s to me,
    It’s a world-wide symphony.

    Karen Telleen-Lawton is an eco-writer, sharing information and insights about economics and ecology; finances and the environment. Having recently retired from financial planning and advising, she spends more time exploring the outdoors – and reading and writing about it.



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