Christian Long

David Holt: Plays Mountain Music

In TED Talks on April 29, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Reflection by MEIGHAN A.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

David Holt:  Plays Mountain Music

David Holt opens our eyes to a perspective of the world that we have mostly forgotten existed. These old tunes he shares with us bring back a piece of history most of us have forgotten, and when we see people in our modern age who still enjoy this type of music we usually dismiss them as old-fashioned, hillbillies, or rednecks. These old tunes are like proof of our country’s history though, so we shouldn’t be so dismissing of it. The music reflects the lifestyle and beliefs of these wonderful people Holt presents to us. This seemingly outdated style of life isn’t something to be looked down on, it should be cherished. There is a deeply human element present within music that makes it so wonderful.

Holt’s music mentors and friends are amazing beautiful people full of characters and culture. The story he shares with us about getting a job cotton picking is a very rich one. The life style was different back then, and he and his brother learned a new perspective while working in those fields. With the beautiful singing the brothers were able to work hard in the hot sun and with bloody hands, and allow their mother to teach them a lesson. It taught him that other people led very different lives than he did, and he should be grateful he didn’t have to work that hard all the time. A more important lesson they seemed to learn was that music makes everything more enjoyable and brings people together. Later he learned that his mother had set up the cotton-picking experience and that she hadn’t expected it to led him to love music so much.

About fifteen years ago he ended up losing his daughter in a car accident. Understandably, this could have, and almost did push him over the edge. He had to make lists of the important things in life so that he could convince himself to keep living. Besides the obvious love for the rest of his family most of the list was simpler things in life like seeing flowers bloom. One of the things on that list was getting to play the steel guitar that a neighbor of his parents had given him. He wrote his own songs for the guitar and played it to release his emotions. Playing this steel guitar kept him alive, and allowed him to express his grief and be happy again. His music also leads him to create his own instruments. His creative and inventive childhood enabled him to make his ‘thunderwear’.

Holt’s appreciation for the music stems from his love for the people he associates with the music. Everyone has different taste in music, but our appreciation of music leads to our appreciation of culture and other people. As our love for the people grows so does our love of the music we associate with them, and then grows our love for their culture and beliefs. Music is one way to unite people who otherwise wouldn’t know of each other’s existence, and allowing us to work together in peace. Music you listen to doesn’t only reflect on you, but the people you hang out with and people who you draw to you and draw you to them. Music is like an invisible thread that links people together and helps us to be more tolerant of those with different cultures. Love of music is like a gift that allows you to receive a more important gift of experiencing other people’s lives and being more in touch with the world.


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