Bobby McFerrin, Oprah and the Music of Life

Bobby McFerrin, of “Don’t Worry be Happy” fame, leads an audience using the pentatonic scale, showing the power of music as a universal language in this delightful clip:

Plato once wrote that “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”  Have you experienced that before?  Perhaps during this clip?  Music is a universal language.  It inspires, it evokes deep feeling, it can help set the mood or at times even, gives voice to your feelings.  It binds to memories, good, bad or indifferent and it is more memorable and instantly recallable than just about any other experience, save perhaps memories linked to our sense of smell.   

I remember the first time I heard someone say that they didn’t really like music.  I was secretly flabbergasted!  How could you not like, rather, LOVE music?  The endless variety, the historical and cultural context and messages, the harmony, the dissonance, it is all so amazing and enriching!

I recall seeing a recording of Oprah’s 24th season opener where a crowd of 20,000 people surprised Oprah with a choreographed performance of a live concert presented by The Black Eyed Peas.  If you haven’t seen the clip, it’s worth watching:

Let your soul be refreshed with music today.  It orders consciousness in a way that no other stimulus can.  Have you ever found it necessary to listen to music on the way home from work or after a frustrating time?  Music helps to make sense of the world we live in.

A friend of mine once told me that he sometimes listens to a complex piece of classical music 10 or 15 times before he has enough of the “strings” to make it all the way through without being distracted.  Isn’t that a wonderful way to put it?  I certainly thought so.  Music tells a story, whether in actual words or simply in feeling content, and the stories help to condition our understanding of the world around us.  In fact, it helps us to understand ourselves. 

I hope that you have the opportunity to listen to something new today or perhaps hear something you’ve heard many times in a new way.  Enjoy the rhythms of life that come your way today.  Be willing to move with them, rather than forcing your way through the day with neither care nor reverance for the music of living!

15 thoughts on “Bobby McFerrin, Oprah and the Music of Life

  1. Gale

    WAY COOL!!! Just caught up with this today, so glad I did.
    Dancing into the day with sheer joy. Love the blog, you never cease to amaze with these little treasures. Love the history of all times. My heart is alive with the sound of music. (no pun intended..)


  2. Paul Kimball

    Cool links! A good demonstration of neural programming – if he sets up the first few notes of the scale and lets the audience know where to go, they’ll follow without too much prompting or without having prior knowledge of a pentatonic scale. I’d like to see how they organized the flash mob – I’m guessing it is similar.


  3. Joan

    People together in harmony with each other.
    In theory sounds like a coca-cola commercial, but when you watch either one of these clips you cannot help but be moved by the magic of music. I took five minutes today and listened to Debussy’s Claire de lune. I love to hear inspiration is as close as iTunes! Thanks for another great blog!


  4. D.J. in SC

    Music – everybody gets it at some level so it goes to say it’s a powerful tool however it is put to use. I hope everyone realizes Bobby McFerrin’s brilliance and doesn’t remember him only by “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Thanks for the great post!


  5. Mark

    Remarkable that an auditorium full of strangers can spontaneously form something so unified, not from practice or because they have been carefully selected, but because of an innate response. A small dose of guidance was all it took to bring forth that cheerful averaging of voices to produce music and to make each a contributor. Makes me consider what kind of a director I am in my world, and the feedback which may result. Or, on the other hand, what kind of direction I am following.


  6. Javier

    Have your read “Your Brain on Music”? The author discusses the reasons we enjoy music across all cultures. It is a fascinating book though I slightly disagree with some of his thoughts and probably am not understanding some of it, but I am sure you will find a lot to enjoy in it.


  7. Brad Baetz

    WOW….I mean WOW that was just COOL!
    My 1 year old and I were cuttin’ a rug!!!…and he’s still dancing!!!
    that’s the feeling to start every day with 🙂


  8. DeeDee

    Wow. Absolutely brilliant! My kids love the Blackeyed Peas – we watched both videos this morning before they left for school. Fun!


  9. Melinda

    Wow! Thank you Gregg! Music is such a gift! As I was watching the Oprah cllp I couldn’t help but tear up with delight and laughter! What a great reminder to let the tone in our hearts be sweet and joyful that it may permeate everything we do and bring a smile to the world around us!


  10. Mitch

    Our brains our universally wired to the pentatonic scale, or at least it’s math and pattern recognition, which is pretty cool. It is the only scale that exists in all cultures, and the oldest one we can confirm. Interesting demos!


  11. Susan

    Oprah said it … “That is the coolest thing ever!!!” Thanks for the jump start this morning. Today’s gonna be a good-good day!


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