January 26, 2018

88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life By Vincent James & Joann Pierdomenico

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Several years back I started reading stories about schools dropping their music programs. Cut backs was the reason given for removing what I considered a vital part of education. At the time I was so taken back by the news that I wrote a screenplay for what I thought would make a good made for TV movie. The storyline was simple. What this world would be like if we lived in a world without music being taught.

One answer would be that young minds would find a way to learn music anyway. Some of the very best musicians learned without the benefit of teachers. They are the exception. If music is not taught in the schools then a very important learning tool is lost to many who will never grow up to make a living playing music. It has been proven that music improves not only your reasoning ability, it improves all facets of the human existence.

This point is driven home with the countless stories in the book “88 + Ways Music Can Change Your Life” edited by the husband and wife team of Vincent James and Joann Pierdomenico. The second edition is now available and you can get more details by going to their website http://www.KeepMusicAlive.org. You can also find many ways that you can help keep music alive.

Vincent has devoted much of his life to music in one form or another. Over the years he has managed bands, promoted concerts, co-wrote songs and put out CDs. In addition he taught piano and guitar and started Philadelphia Songwriters Association, created LoveSongs.com as well as the aforementioned KeepMusicAlive.org.

The pages of this book are filled with inspirational music stories and quotes from around the world that the couple has collected. While there are many famous names that contributed like Rick Wakeman, Simon Kirke (Bad Company and Free), Bill Champlin (Chicago) Rob Hyman and Eric Brazilian (Hooters), and Bobby Kimball (Toto). Most of the stories were written by contributors who wrote about their passion for music.

Right from the first pages you get it. The first story was written by Adam Ezra. He related how was convinced to make a stop while on the road touring by the friend of a fan of Adam’s that was too sick to come to see him perform. Despite literally being on her death bed, Terri’s spirits were lifted by Adam. She struggled to leave her bed when Adam said he would play a song for her. She went down stairs to the living room and there surrounded by friends and family of Terri, Adam did more than play one song. He ended up spending hours playing. It brought a huge smile to Terri’s face. Adam will always remember how his music allowed some of Terri’s last hours to be filled not only with tears from all those who were assembled to say farewell to their friend, but lots of singing and laughing together. Terri died later that same week.

There were several stories of overcoming bullies through music. It is hard to pick on someone who plays exciting songs or beautiful melodies. I have interviewed many rock stars who overcame bullies and shyness to “get the girls”.

There are many stories about how music helped overcome addiction and illness. Even one liners that make you think like that of Ziba Shirazi of Los Angeles who wrote “We may lost our heart to heart connection to the cyber world, but GOD blessed us with the gift of music; a gift to help us forever touch one another’s souls.”

Many of these musical memories will make you sad, some will put a smile on your face and most will inspire you to help keep music alive and well. The world just may be doomed if we can't sing and dance together.

Once such article came from Joann Pierdomenico. Entitled “Why Music Matters to Me” the story of how she grew up under less than ideal circumstances but it was always music that got her through it. One of the real highlights of her life was the song Vincent wrote dedicated to her mom.

Joann’s story is the last story in the book. She concludes it with this paragraph:

I now have a confession. I can’t sing…I can’t play an instrument…I can’t even read music. But do you know what I can do? I can SUPPORT MUSIC! I can help promote the importance of music in education, healing, and making happier human beings. If you ask me, that’s pretty great! When I am in the car with the radio playing, I sing my heart out! When my voice is cracking and totally off key (always) my kids give me crazy looks and put the windows up. One day, when I was singing along to a tune in the van, our youngest son Dave said to me ‘Who sings that song? I said ‘Journey’. He said ‘Let’s keep it that way’. I cracked up laughing! What can I say…I LOVE MUSIC!

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