When Words Fail, Music Speaks

Emma Mayfield, Journalist

“Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.”

-Johnny Depp

When talking about music, we often think of our favorite songs on the radio, but the foundation of music is often based on different social and academic backgrounds, from classes to personal interests.

For East High choir teacher Ladona Backman, music has always been part of her life. Her love for the art of music stemmed from her childhood and followed her throughout her adult life.

“I grew up singing,” Backman recalled fondly. “My father played the piano and my mother sang to me. I consider this job the best job in the world, and I hope that perhaps I give my students a little bit of that passion for making vocal music.”

As a choir, their goal is to produce beautiful sounds, but it can also be very time-consuming and difficult to bring the vision of a cohesive choir to life. Whether it’s working with her jazz choir singers or working with her men’s choir, Backman puts her all into the task.

Music is more than technical aspects or time spent consumed in practice, however. Some may be surprised to know that their favorite songs do more than fill the silence. Several researchers have spent time proving a link between music and emotional and physical recovery.

“It might seem surprising that music can help people cope with physical pain, but research has shown a clear link. Music touches everyone in some way, either by listening or playing,” said Anthea Innes, Ph.D., head of BUDI in an article published in Healthline.com.

It’s apparent that music elevates moods and soothes depression, though the task of producing the sounds necessary to elicit emotional reactions is no easy feat. We can always find joy in music; it can help people cope with many things and reevaluate objectives in life. 

“Music is more than just making it happen, it’s something to live for,” said John Steele, 11, who qualified for all-state choir and jazz this year. He has been in East High Choir for two years now and he has risen to the top, sharing that likes a challenge with his music. 

We see with music that it requires more than a dedication to notes on a page or an order of rhythms. When done wholeheartedly, it captivates the heart and emotions, conveying what words cannot.