Newspaper article, by Lauren Bacon, voice major from UBC, member of Musica Intima, a 12-member, self-directed chamber choir:
They say that odours unlock memories. There is truth in that, for the scent of roses, of rain-drenched forests, of a salty sea breeze, of a roasting Christmas turkey, can evoke an avalanche of reminiscences. For me, however, it is music that plays a stronger role in the process. Whether I am singing a cantata or listening to a symphony, music allows me access to a realm where past and future suspend the present.
All my life, I have been a singer. Most people are, even if they do not think of themselves as such. My dad was a church minister and when he would visit elders in hospital, he often found that they were unable to connect with him except through the singing of hymns. He had but to begin with "The Lord is My shepherd..." and they would instantly join in, recalling every word even though they were unable to recognize the faces of loved ones.
Through music, I learned history. I found W. H. Auden through Benjamin Britten, the Impressionist painters through Claude Debussy, and the Gospels through J.S. Bach. When I listen to music, my mind becomes so focused that it's as though a door opens up and allows new insights to slip in.
And I find the I get at least one really good idea while I am immersed in an ocean of sound. It could be a birthday gift idea, or a solution to a problem that has troubled me for months. I know others who claim they get the same results trhough meditation or just relaxing in a warm bath. But it is listening to music or making music that does it for me.
Singing, though, is a less cerebral kind of experience. It's very physical. Breathe in, and prepare for the next phrase. Breathe out and you spin a line of sound that ends the moment your breath does.
You feel your voice in your stomach, knees, back, skull. The voice is the combined product of your whole body, including brain, bones and gut. That's the essence ot it. and that's why it is so personal, and so profound. It opens you up to your first memory and your deepest dreams.