Having social anxiety, one of the only things powerful enough to get me to overcome and go into public is the promise of good music.

Last weekend, I went to a Jazz brunch at a popular spot downtown with an eclectic customer base. These people don’t seem to have much in common, not like a trendy bar in Silverlake where you’re likely to see multiple people wearing the same “original” styles. Here:

A two year old sits transfixed content for the first time in what feels like weeks to her exhausted mother to just sit still and listen.

A twenty-something walks in, sits at the bar alone, orders a drink and sits stoically until the band starts a familiar tune, a song of young love, and tears start to fall silently down his face.

An old woman, corralled by family, sheds her cloud of confusion when a song from her childhood comes on; the only memory she’s been able to grab hold of for months. Her family looks on with pure joy, taking video as she excitedly sings along.
I learn that she has late stage dementia and that this is the first time her daughter has seen her smile in days.

A couple sits in stony silence; a misstep in a relationship that is teetering on the edge of flying together or deciding to go separate ways. The band couldn’t have known that they were playing “their song,” but the memories attached are enough to pull a smile out of one, and then the other, and soon, they are dancing together, any thoughts of ever separating left behind.

It is a lovely and brief reprieve from all that life demands of us, a gift only music can give.

I receive it gratefully. As I’ve sat and observed, my heart rate evened out, the fears that often invade my mind quieted, and I realize that I, too, have been moved by the music. Such different circumstances, but one common theme. If only for a moment, music can cure anything.