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  • Justin McConnell

Musical Therapy


Earlier this year, my Grandmother passed away. Since her passing, I have been very reflective upon the time I spent with her. When I was very little, like 4-6 years old, I remember that spending time with Grandma meant that I got to listen to different music. She introduced me to a number of artists from her youth in the form of “Oldies”. Basically, she passed on a love of this genre of music which included everything from 1950’s Rock ‘n Roll, Country, and Doo Wop. She shined a light on the precursors and inspirations for the artists I grew to love later. I remember singing along to these bouncy and tonally lighter songs while riding in her car or hearing the music playing in her house.

Music has always been a big part of my life. When I was a kid, my parents were really into classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s while my sister was into the then current 80’s music and the recently launched MTV. It seems funny to think back on a time when MTV was actually like the gathering place for people who loved music and wanted to see their favorite artists videos. With the dawn of the internet, the channel has evolved (devolved?) into a more traditional channel, but lost its initial luster.

So just about everywhere I went, I absorbed it. I loved riding in the car with my mom and hearing her singing along to the Doors, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, or Jimi Hendrix. My dad had a somewhat more eclectic taste in music and loved everything from blues, rock, Motown, soul, funk and pop. He would constantly be listening to artists like Queen, Michael Jackson, BB King, Eric Clapton, and Louis Armstrong among others.


As we grew up, my older brother got really into the artists of the 1990’s and helped me develop my tastes for bands like Weezer, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg and Doctor Dre, Metallica, Aerosmith, and Green Day. So as my own tastes for music began to evolve, I had a strong foundation and about 4 decades spanning multiple genres from Country to Gangster Rap. I always get a chuckle out of scrolling through the diversity of music on my phone. I listen to basically everything except modern country music, which in my opinion is just trite and uninspired.

But since my grandmother passed away, I have been using the music she loved and introduced me to in order to recall those memories of her and mourn that loss. Music has always been therapeutic for me. Sometimes, I just want to listen to the Cure while it rains and just enjoy the beauty of the darkness. Other times I like to have impromptu dance parties in the kitchen with my family to Bruno Mars.

Actual footage of a dance party at my house

Occasionally, I want to blast some Led Zeppelin or Run the Jewels while driving. Music is an awesome and powerful part of my life and I am always trying to instill that same enjoyment for it into my children to pass on to them what my friends and family built into me. Good music never goes out of style it just changes format.


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