Tag Archives: music

Freedom and Happiness


As I sit here writing this post, the sound of beautiful music is wafting down from my upstairs loft and the grand piano that mostly sits silent.  Today however the piano’s owner, my son, is visiting and finally the keys have sprung to life once again.  This background of music has been constant in our lives since the boy was four years old when my mother, a pretty good musician herself, bought us our first upright piano and signed him up for music classes.  Every Saturday morning, she and my dad would pick up our son and take him to the class, participate with him and return with instructions for the week’s practicing.  This cycle continued for a few years until he was old enough for private lessons and then I would dutifully drop him off.  And so it went until he could drive himself and finally, upon high school graduation, he transitioned to a university music conservatory.

My parents are not alive anymore to witness the flame that grew from those early lessons.  But when I hear my son play, I feel connected to them.  Both were musical, albeit in different ways.  My mom loved the structure of sitting at the piano.  My dad was whimsical and loved the tactile sensation of picking up a clarinet, a banjo, a concertina and would often bring some new, unusual instrument home to show us.  Even a harmonica delighted him and he’d run it between his lips, a twinkle in in eye, and try to teach us the same technique.

My son also spent several years with a violin, but it was the piano that had staying power for him and now, it is his life’s work.  We’ve watched and listened as he grew from a tiny boy whose feet couldn’t even touch the floor pedals, into a man towering over the keys.  When he plays his body sways with the music, his feet move confidently over the pedals and his green eyes blaze with energy.

Years ago, I asked my son how he feels when he plays the piano.  He told me it felt like he was flying and that he is happy when he plays.  I interpreted the flying as a feeling of freedom.  Freedom and happiness; what more could a mother want for her child?  What more could anyone want for themselves?  As we head into Independence Day 2019, I wish for all of you, freedom and happiness.  I wish that for our country and for our planet.


And, here’s the latest update from my garden:



Farm to table zucchini bread



About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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Listening for Effect

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Since becoming a full-time artist, I spend a lot of time working alone. When I worked in an office building, I sometimes hummed while working, or played the radio. I tried to keep the humming confined to my personal office. Now that I am working on my own, I often listen to music or audiobooks, enriching the day, making me feel happier, and engaged, or something. I tend to use particular types of music at varying stages of a painting. At the start, instrumental music of the classical nature, or contemporary stringed instruments. No lyrics to distract, just instrumentals to inspire.  After I am well into a piece and feeling the direction is solid, I move to pop or rock, something with a good beat.  When feeling free and focused while cooking or cleaning, I sometimes turn the rock up loud. Music has always played a major role in my life, having begun playing piano and violin in grade school.

Curious if others used music as a tool to achieve certain moods or effects, I polled some friends. A professional therapist said she did not listen at work though she used classical, instrumental music to unwind and the hearing of her favorites station invoked a visceral relaxation effect.

An attorney friend said she didn’t listen at work because it was difficult to focus and her mind would shift away from the task at hand. For cooking she enjoyed classic rock & roll; for resolving angst, Bonnie Raitt or other blues artists and for background music for parties, it was folk rock or classical. She pointed out that music lifts spirits and is a great way to connect with other people.

Another attorney listens to specific classical composers, technically baroque music. “It perks me up and makes me feel happier,” she said. She uses classic rock like The Beatles, to inspire housework. Particular music was so tied to an activity that actual pieces affect her mood and thoughts. For example, some classical guitar that she listened to when reading a favorite author could bring her thoughts immediately to plot points in her books. Some Bach pieces for cello reminds her of the soundtrack from Schindler’s List and produces a “downer” feeling because of the atrocities of WWII and Auschwitz.

A business consultant friend listens to jazz, mostly contemporary jazz, and if she needs to concentrate deeply, complete quiet. For relaxing, she chooses the smooth jazz of Boney James, Walter Beasley, Marion Meadows, and Chris Botti, to name a few. She noted that her 22-year-old son listened to jazz through headphones while studying. Ah, youth!

What are you listening to for effect?
About Renee
Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit, Greenways for Nashville. Renee is inspired by nature and enjoys hiking, birding, and the garden. She contributes to HerSavvy, a blog featuring writings from a group of well-informed women wishing to share their support and experience with others. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, enjoying flora and fauna is a family affair.

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