The Music of Life

The Music of Life April 25, 2024

The Music of Life

Many of you know I made a living singing for many years. One of my favorite quotes about music is an oldie but a goodie. “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”—Plato.

Gives Soul to the Universe

Scientists and poets alike talk about the harmonies of our world. Pythagoras married mathematics to music in the vast jumble of the vastness of the universe. Based on some of Pythagoras’s theories, Copernicus saw the planets revolving around the sun. All throughout scientific history, we find that when things are in harmony—as they should be—we have fruitfulness, goodness, peace. It’s when something comes along to break that balance and creates discord in a single instance that things begin to devolve, to break down, to turn against themselves.

The soul is where our eternal memories reside. When our bodies give up and pass away, our soul continues to live on. Think of yourself as a giant computer. When your laptop dies—someone spills a soft drink on the keyboard, or your dog chews the corner of the screen—the computer frame (body) is disposed of, but the hard drive and all its information get transferred to a new system. Science tells us that all energy in existence—stays. It changes in shape and character. It transforms into a different form. But it goes on forever—never fading, wavering, or disappearing. Whether we want to believe it or not, our souls are eternal. This is the “Law of Conservation of Energy.” Even Albert Einstein, when asked about the soul living on after the death of the body, was quoted as saying, “I believe in [a God] who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world.” When asked about the concept of the “Law of Conservation of Energy” and the soul, he said, “I am satisfied with the mysteries of life.” Just as in a symphony, there is a harmony created and orchestrated to play throughout our eternal universe.

Public Domain
The sound of your life may be more apropos than you think. What you listen to makes a difference on your brain and soul.

Wings to the Mind

Ever since college, whenever I write, I have had music of some flavor in the background. When I tried to write without it, I felt like only one half of my brain was turned on and tuned in. Fast forward to my teaching days. I taught in a local school system for several years and was a part of a study that tested the correlation between music and good study and testing habits. They came to me because I was a music teacher who also taught history. We set up the study and dove in. One test group would study with no music in the background, another with some pretty intrusive rock, another with talk radio in the background, and the final group with some form of classical music. The outcome was astounding!

The group that had the worst grade for listening correlation was a tie between the silent studiers and the talk radio listeners. The study showed that introducing music woke both sides of the brain and created a dialogue between the two hemispheres. A deeper dive showed that the students who listened to the more harmonic classical music did even better than their counterparts listening to the often-dissonant intrusive rock. As a side observation, the students who listened long-term to the classical music seemed to become more pleasant and harder to ruffle in conflicts with other students. It seemed the idea of “harmony” leeched into their lives.

Flight to the Imagination

Who among us hasn’t closed their eyes and let music wash over them? Music and its harmonies inspire us to battle, soften our hearts to love and care, and stir our imaginations to all possibilities.

A Little Test

Here’s a little test. Go to your favorite music site and search for some of the following, or click on the song listed. For this experiment, I’m drawing from different movie themes that many have heard about before. But before you play any on the list, check in with yourself. Ask, “How do I feel right now? Tired? Blue? Blah?” Then write it down. Listen to whichever piece you pick three times from beginning to end. Then, ask yourself the same question. What’s the difference? So, pop on your headphones, turn it up, and let’s play!

Richard Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra / 2001 Space Odyssey opening theme (

Titanic • My Heart Will Go On • Celine Dion (

Gladiator Soundtrack – Victory Theme (

Harold Faltermeyer – Top Gun Anthem (Official Audio) (

IV. “Ode to Joy” (excerpt) from Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (Voice) (

Superman • Main Theme • John Williams (

Main Theme | Pirates of the Caribbean (

Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) (

The Great Escape Theme – YouTube

Indiana Jones Theme Song [HD] (

Mission Impossible theme song (Original) (

The point is music and its harmonies—or lack thereof—make a distinct impression on us. What we listen to constantly will affect how we think, how we feel, and what we will become.

Public Domain
You want to be invigorated? Score better on tests? Think outside the box? Be picky about what you listen to!

The Life of Everything

The point is everything has rhythm, phrasing, pitch, a beginning, and an end. Everything has a sense of music, harmony, life, and breath. There is a soundtrack to our lives as we live, and it’s up to us to help in its composition, singing, and playing. We will have slow spots that we will take our time with, revel in, or try to push through. There will be times that will be difficult to play or compose. We will be out of sorts, and the harmonies will be discordant. Then, there will be those special times when we come to the end of a phrase that is just right. It will exist in our memories and souls forever.

Now, no matter how many years young you are, you still have composing to do. You still have a score to write. You still have harmonies to make. What will your next movement sound like?

About Ben Bongers KM
Ben Bongers was an international operatic tenor and practicing sommelier for 30 years based in San Francisco, CA, and Europe. He has written monthly articles for trade magazines in wine and singing over a long and lustrous career. After becoming a semi-full-time caretaker for his parents, he earned an MA in Gerontology (the study of aging and care) and was asked to publish in an eldercare textbook in 2020. He has written several books, all published by EnRoute Books and Media. His first novel, THE SAINT NICHOLAS SOCIETY, has won many awards, and his other two, TRUE LOVE—12 Christmas Stories My True Love Gave to Me, and THE FARMER, THE MINER, THE ARTISAN (a children’s book) are both up for writing awards. Ben is a Knight in the Order of Malta and helped start an overnight homeless shelter at his San Francisco, CA parish. Today, he is a Permanent Diaconate Candidate in Kansas City, MO. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives