The Burrow: Don’t Stop the Music

by Pooty P.

“Ah, music, a magic beyond all we do here!” — Dumbledore, PS/SS.

Of course (being a musician), this passage resonated for me. I wholeheartedly agree with Dumbledore regarding the healing, uplifting magic of music. I can attest to the soothing power of music, whether I play it or listen to it. I have witnessed, time and again, audiences individually and collectively respond to music in a myriad of ways: as a calming or inspiring influence, or as an energy booster.

In Theatre, Film and Dance, music is used to stimulate pity, fear, desire, exultation, tension, etc., in the audience. Music is also closely allied with ritual and spiritual events: just think how music can influence the calm, trance-like state of meditation or the high-energy upliftment of the music and singing of a gospel choir! When working out at the gym, I NEED upbeat, high-energy music to push my limits and feel the burn!

Jill D.’s article turned me on to the possibilities of the benefits my line of work could bring to the wizarding world. The healing powers of music are well-documented as well. The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as:

An established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses.

Music therapy can be used to manage stress, alleviate pain, promote physical rehabilitation, and more. (See the FAQs on the above website.) What might music be able to accomplish in St. Mungo’s for those trickier cases or “permanent” disabilities?

This all leads me to my question: Where are the Music Teachers in the wizarding world?? We know about Celestina Warbeck, the popular singing sorceress featured on the “Witching Hour” and the Weird Sisters (is anyone else itching for that scene in the upcoming GoF film?) We also saw a Hogwarts Choir, directed by Professor Flitwick (who appears to be the recent recipient of an Extreme Makeover!), in the PoA movie. And let us not forget the power of the phoenix song, that, according to Newt Scamander, “is magical; it is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and to strike fear into the hearts of the impure.” Both Harry and Voldemort have experienced this phenomenon firsthand, and at rather pivotal points in their ongoing conflict.

So, now I wonder where–and if–wizards need to study music? Is musicality an innate gift or ability, such as those wizards or witches born Metamorphmagi? If this is not the case, where do wizards learn this branch of magic? In the Muggle world? Is this a branch of magic study neglected because Muggles practice it as well?

Of course, we know by now that JKR is subtle, and seemingly innocuous statements often turn out to be pivotal plot points. Jo has said herself, “Dumbledore often speaks for me.” Certainly, we will see more of the power of music in the upcoming books, although it is perhaps too much for me to hope to see this particular branch of music ever being taught at Hogwarts.

Ah, if only the Hogwarts’ Magic Quill had written my name down back when I was first born, I would certainly have applied myself to do whatever it took be a music teacher at Hogwarts! Although it might have been hazardous to my health. That which has the power to heal may also have the power to harm. Imagine, year after year, the absolute havoc magical children could wreak on your eardrums (and who knows what else) with ineptly played music? Still don’t know what I’m getting at? Just go and listen to the cacaphony Muggle students can make in a music class and then amplify THAT with magic. Think of students like Seamus Finnegan in first-year Charms or (yikes!) Neville Longbottom in Potions, and how seriously wrong music classes could go! (shudder)

Maybe Defense Against the Dark Arts wasn’t the only position that was jinxed…