Silence / by Michelle Cowan

I love silence.  I like my house to be totally quiet because noise and activity easily overwhelm me.  I’m in love with silence.  It holds within it something beautifully eerie, sacred, and open.  In silence, I can hear thoughts and let them go.  I feel connected to what I’m doing and connected to where I am.

To some people, this seems strange—for a musician to prefer the quiet.  I’m constantly humming tunes, making up songs, and generally thinking of music.  But with all that music in my head, why do I need it everywhere around me?

Now, I love a good concert.  I love entering into a zone that envelopes me in sound and lights and people and total and utter stimulation.  Euphoria.

I specifically go to concerts for that experience. In day-to-day life, I prefer silence.

Enjoying silence most of the time allows for a dramatic shift when I do turn music on.  The contrast between silence and music brings the house to life in a new way.  I start smiling.  I start moving.  I start feeling better. My mood shifts just a little.  Silence in the house is one kind of treat; sound is another.

I regularly go into the living room, sit at the piano or on the couch with the guitar, and play. I’ll sing most of the time, too, letting the vibrations engulf me. I might write songs, learn new ones, or ramble on in an improvisational stream of consciousness, searching for total immersion in the music or new songs I haven’t found yet.  Whatever the mode, I love floods of sound.  The more sound, the better.  I wish I were an entire orchestra sometimes.  And maybe, somehow, that’s what I truly am.

I am a symphony of sound.  Inside me lies every note that has ever been played in this world.  I feel it, and I think that other musicians feel it, too—like we’ve heard it all before, been it all before, and are trying to find it again. Perhaps that’s why I’m so easily overwhelmed by other stimuli. I’m already so full of the magic of music.

Music is my gift. Where it comes from, I don't know. I write this to answer those that would question my love of quiet and to encourage them to find the beauty in it, too.  Music fills me so completely that I have to blot out the outside noise now and then (or most of the time) to hear the sounds that want to manifest through me.

In the end, silence is the way I hear music, and music is the reason I love silence.