What is music?
What do you think of when you think of music? Marching band? Choir? A rock band? Sheet music?
I think music is all of these things, absolutely, but there is an element of music that can't be defined. Music is the combination of some kind of instrument (voice, piano, guitar, etc), musical notation, math, and sound waves, but these elements would be nothing without people. Musicians don't read music- they make music. Technically, music is not notation on a page. Music is this indescribable energy that you share with people, which COMES from a person's internalization of notation on a page. A musical performer of any kind (and I'm not talking Britney Spears lip syncing on stage. I'm talking REAL musicians) has the potential to connect with maybe thousands of people in an audience at one time, and at the same time, all of those audience members are connected with each other. This is why I love concerts- each show has a unique atmosphere that will never (and can never) be recreated. The audience changes. The instruments change. The performer changes. Each performance is a moment in time that has passed, never to be experienced again. To me, that's pretty special.
As Victor Hugo said, "Music expresses that which cannot be said, but on which it is impossible to be silent."
I think this idea captures the essence of music. You can't speak what music brings, but you can rather connect with people on a whole different level than through using words alone. I think laughter is similar to music in that regard.
As a performer and audience member myself, music brings people together and provides a level of personal fulfillment that can't be found many other places. And it touches you to the core.