When it comes to mood elevators, music rates near the top of my list. Whenever I’ve felt lonely, scared, afraid, nervous or a number of other down in the dump feelings, the right song can instantly turn my head space around, move me physically and I feel like I can gain clarity. Charlie T. Jones speaks on the 2004 Jim Rohn leadership weekend DVD about the fact that music is one of the only items in the world that can speak to both the head and heart of humans- and that’s why he believes it’s important to have that source around you when you are facing tough times.
You can sink yourself into the lyrics. You can be swept away by the melodies. You can take yourself out of the present and look forward and backward. Like a picture of a painting, a 1,000 people can listen to a particular song and develop their own personal ties to the emotions or meanings of the same item. There have been times when I’m excited I’ll listen to softer jazz or new age instrumentals- or times when I’m sad that I need to listen to the loudest, most obnoxious form of metal to change my state.
My wife and I had an interesting discussion about how we view music. She is a person that when she goes to a live performance to hear her favorite artist, she wants to hear the song exactly as she’s heard it hundreds of times on album. She doesn’t want extended solos or what she terms “jamming”- she wants to hear the hit songs verbatim and maybe the stories behind the lyrics, but that’s all. I on the other hand don’t mind artists who perform a song stripped down acoustically or sometimes extended 5-10 minutes with a ton of guests. I’m always curious what bands and artists will do next to stretch and give the audience something that is different than the mere album by yourself experience.
So when we’ve had the chance to go to a few shows through the years, we’ve had some good times (including her meeting and taking a picture with her childhood musical heroes, Air Supply), and some not so good times (the back and forth call and response between Eddie Money and his sax player during one of those 5 minute extended jam moments), but I respect her views and she respects mine. Which means she prefers going to musicals when it comes to hearing songs, and I prefer going to a lot of live concerts.
I don’t consider music a background, passive movement. I’ve always been active and engaged when I take my ears and listen to something, whether it be on the first listen or the 10,000th. I guess that’s why I didn’t mind hearing 10 hours of music on Saturdays for 20 years as a deejay. Or going to shows from the first opening band until the final crescendo. I get excited when a new album hits the record stores. I spread the word about bands through my reviews and interviews.
Plug into what your children are listening to. A lot of times the cover song by their favorite artist of the present or sample can help you bridge generations and turn them on to the original artists. In our car we will play rap one moment, rhythm and blues the next all the way through to golden oldies and rock. Music is life in our household- we have parameters, and we also discuss the subject matter so that they can make better choices about what messages they can handle.
I need to get back to Ripped, a book I’m reading about the digital music revolution written by Greg Kot. There’s more sources and avenues than ever for music to be heard directly to the consumer, and I think it’s important to explore your options. Do not let major media dictate your tastes and formulate your thoughts- think and act for yourself.