IMAGINE Magazine Autumn 2015 Volume 1 Number 1 - Page 16

r ef l ec t i o n s On becoming more peaceful...through music by Ryan Zepp I magine a stone being tossed into a pond. As it breaks through the surface of the water, a series of ripples are created that spread far and wide. Every day, as people who exist interdependently among other beings, we are constantly affecting change in our environment, casting our own stones in the form of thoughts, speech and actions. Therefore, I believe that the discussion of peace should necessarily begin with addressing inner peace of the individual. Before we can initiate change on a local, national, or global scale, we need to establish a basic sense of mindfulness in order to act compassionately towards others. Throughout the course of history, music has been used to bring awareness to injustice, raise money for good causes, create social and political change, help end wars, and so on. But what about its capacity to foster self-understanding? Before addressing its more explicitly wide-reaching effects, it only seems appropriate to begin the discussion of a music/peace relationship by turning to the function of music as an aid to being a peaceful person. During my early teenage years I fell head-over-heels in love with music, specifically with that of the Virginia-based rock outfit, Dave Matthews Band. Their music is generally laced with joyfulness and lyrics that promote living life enthusiastically. When my high-school basketball coach was senselessly murdered in the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, I found my 15-yearold self profoundly affected by the loss of a great mentor. I had supportive family and friends, but I also learned that I could seek 16 IMAGINE l Autumn 2015 out music to empathize with my sadness and comfort me in the midst of being blindsided by the existential inevitability of death. I have also been able to use music as a tool within the more ordinary moments of daily life. Music offers a space to enter, so as to come away better understanding our emotions, thoughts, and actions; it is able to spark moments of clarity and offer insight into our surroundings. It may help uncover and articulate a particular thought or emotion words cannot convey. It serves as a similar vehicle of self-understanding for the artist making mu ͥ