Speaking the Language of the Heart

As the secretary at a California middle school, Paula Moore played classical music at her desk. Nearby, an unruly little boy was often waiting to meet with school administrators for discipline issues. One day Moore leaned over and asked him why he was always getting into trouble.

“He told me he liked to sit next to my desk and listen to my music,” Moore says. “So I asked the administrators if there was a way to allow him to listen to calming music without getting in trouble.”

Music has always played a big role in Moore’s life. As the Marriott School’s recreation management department secretary, she regularly applies some of the principles she’s learned from music to her interactions with students.

“One of the biggest lessons I share with students is that it doesn’t matter as much what you say but how you make someone feel,” Moore says. “My favorite church calling has always been leading music for the children. I didn’t just teach what the song said but also what it meant.”

Growing up, Moore remembers listening to classical records with her parents. But these days, she’s more likely to be tuned into an opera. Her husband, James Moore, is a retired professional opera singer.

“The little kids will turn around during church with their eyes wide open, but he’s only singing at 20 percent capacity of what he can do,” Moore says. “I’m just so proud that he is able to touch so many people, including myself, through his voice.”

Though she has expanded her musical repertoire with her husband’s tutelage, Moore still believes that, beyond the stirring crescendos, the best thing about music is the way it speaks to the human experience.

“The other day we were painting the living room and listening to music in a foreign language,” Moore says. “James asked me what I thought it was about even though I didn’t understand the words, and without fail, I knew it was Christmas music. It just had that tone that goes beyond spoken words. That’s the beautiful thing about music and life; it’s about learning to speak the language of the heart.”