Returning from CIIS tonight, I am struck by how I used to be impressed by technical wizardry – how loud, fast, or difficult a person could play their instrument. I used to watch with an eagle’s eye when I attended concerts. I was alert to something, without knowing what I was looking for.

Now I appreciate a different kind of artistry, and that is the skill of a musician who chooses to connect with their audience, to form a relationship with them through the music, and to allow creation and transformation to occur in that space. This is a very delicate and sensitive art form, which requires mastery of your instrument, knowledge of the elements of music, and such skill as to be able to select the particular combination of sounds that will create a container to engage your audience (whether it’s one person, several people, or a roomful of people; whether they are happy, sad, sick, healthy, present, or distracted).

I saw that particular form of artistry tonight, and it is just one example of what I’ll call a “modern art form” that our world has always had a need for, and always will. Music therapy, or music for healing, is modern because there is mounting evidence and credibility in the traditional medical models that music has therapeutic properties. It is an art form because the practitioner’s skill is an important ingredient in the effectiveness of the delivery. It is also ancient, because music has emerged from within every human culture that has been studied throughout time and throughout the world. Music is an expression of humanity, creating a fingerprint for particular cultures and particular time periods. Music brings people together, and also starts revolutions.

The new revolution in music – in my life – is the healing artistry I witnessed tonight.

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