On a regular basis we ask ourselves, sometimes with a smile and sometimes with a tear, “How does he do this to me?” … an explanation is offered below, an explanation that speaks for David Archuleta. I couldn’t help but think of him and his live shows, when I first read it.

The following are excerpts from the welcome address to the freshman class at The Boston Conservatory given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at The Boston Conservatory [September 2008]

They just weren’t really clear about its (music’s) function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it’s the opposite of entertainment.

Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.

I have come to understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us believe. It’s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can’t with our minds.

The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save a life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.

You’re not here to become an entertainer, and you don’t have to sell yourself. The truth is you don’t have anything to sell; being a musician isn’t about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevys. I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet… If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. … the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.”

“How does he do this to me?”…. David Archuleta is a sort of therapist for the human soul. He helps us with our internal, invisible lives. He helps us to heal. He does his craft well. He is an artist. With extraordinary skill. He is a musician. With extraordinary soul.

He knows how to save a life….that’s what he does.


Please treat yourself to the full power of the entire address at