Music has power to impact people, musican says

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    By Kathryn Green

    Rob Gardner stressed the power music has to impact peoples” sense of sound at a musical exploration Thursday, Nov. 8.

    Gardner”s presentation was part of the “Awakening the Senses” lecture series.

    “Music has a universal feeling,” Gardner said. “It carries immediate emotion.”

    Clips from Brittany Spears, Five for Fighting, Abba, U2 and Vanilla Ice showed that different types of music give way to different experiences.

    Students said the songs reminded them of memories ranging from roommate dance parties to first loves.

    “Music affects us all,” Gardner said.

    Gardner tried to illustrate the power of music by adding music to a portion of a speech by President Bush.

    “Adding the music had the Independence Day effect,” one student said. “You could feel the meaning of the president”s words.”

    Another attribute of music is its power to heal, Gardner said.

    Examples of harp music helping to heal a man suffering from Parkinson”s disease and vocal music helping to reorient a girl with Down Syndrome were recounted.

    “It brings people back in tune,” Gardner said.

    Tasha Whited, 20, a junior from Pensacola, Fla., majoring in music dance theater, said she has worked with disabled children who responded positively to music.

    Whited said one little girl hardly ever smiled, but at a Halloween party, Whited decided to sing “YMCA” and “You are my Sunshine” to her.

    “Her whole face glowed,” Whited said. “I could tell that she was tuned into the world.”

    Gardner is the composer of the two oratorios “Joseph Smith the Prophet” and “He is Jesus Christ.”

    Students who had not attended any of the series” previous lectures said Gardner”s reputation as an accomplished musician is what drew them to hear him speak.

    “Once you hear his work, it”s addicting,” said Nivette Harmon, 18, a freshman from Columbia, S.C., majoring in photography.

    Harmon said she first became a fan of Gardner when she caught a performance of “Joseph Smith the Prophet” at the Provo Tabernacle.

    “For his age, I don”t know how he has so much in his head,” Harmon said. “He”s incredible.”

    Gardner is still a BYU student. He is a business major and said he has only three years of formal piano training.

    Erika Blackburn, 18, a freshman from Carmel, Ind., majoring in elementary education, was also impressed with Gardner.

    “I have all four of his albums,” Blackburn said. “I love the music.”

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