“What would the world be like without music?”
“Eerily silent. Uninspiring. Slow. Undesirably quiet. Sad, very sad. Unsettling. Lacking balance. Confined. Starving. And lonely.”
A conversation in my mind and happily, without any consequence to reality – but can you imagine a world void of the sound of music?
So fortunate we are to be born to this age where music is so abundantly accessible to us. Music, the discovery and the gift we would not know what to do without, continues to fill our lives in ways we hardly notice. Music can change a mood and set the stage for everything. It can fill empty space with rays of happiness and sorrow, love and hope, excitement and nostalgia. It can pump us up and calm us down. It can ignite our fire of creativity, productivity, and self-improvement all in one song. It can revive forgotten memories and make us believe in impossible dreams. It can keep us company and give us courage to go gently down the path of healing and recovery. It can be in the background of our mind or the forefront of our consciousness or anywhere in between and our brain processes those sound waves from afar or near and we can still experience the power of music even on a subconscious level.
You do not even have to own any music to be richly blessed with the harmony of sounds in your surroundings, thanks to sweet advancements in technology and the prevalence of the sweeter yet world wide web. Free online radio stations or TV music channels are streaming every genre of music 24 hours a day. Or you could choose to own your music where you can instantly download any album, any song, any music your heart desires. The luxury, the luster and the love affair of our 21st century obsession with music is everywhere but do you take advantage of it? Do you use music as a means to reach your potential in life? Do you explore the multitude of genres to find what moves mountains inside your heart and gives zest and energy to your soul? Do you feed your hunger for music fully? Do you know the power and the richness that music can bring to all aspects of your life?
How to Expand your Music Experience
Music can bring astonishing benefits to our life. The presence of music, fundamental as it may be to many parts of our lives, has blended so perfectly into the background that we need sometimes to think about all the occasions and activities where those tunes carry us through the day. Some of my life’s achievements would have been nearly impossible without music to inspire and motivate me and some of my best decisions have been born during a song.
I may be a music lover but I remain a notorious novice about music – I do not play a musical instrument (yet) and cannot name a single popular band today. I do not follow rock stars around in a concert and I cannot speak intelligently when it comes to music terminology (but I can always ask my music buff and piano player husband and impress anyone with our “couple knowledge”!) Even so, I can still bathe in musical tunes of sweet variety to feed my soul regularly. That aside, the serious practical benefits of good music far outweigh any other productivity and creativity tools out there. The power of music in your life and the importance of being open to a full range of music experience will enable you achieve greater things in the course of your days while filling you with a constant source of motivation and creativity.
If I could put some of my “music lessons” into words, I would say to you:
- Listen to MANY genres of music. Do not pigeon hole yourself by believing only one genre suits your personality or your style. You will only be limiting yourself and there is nothing to lose when you explore and everything to gain from what you may find!
- Learn how to apply each genre to enhance an activity or an aspect of my life (more on this below).
- Understand that your music taste can change not just by age but also by habits and lifestyle. Always be ready to evolve and explore beyond your usuals.
- Do not immediately dismiss a type of music you initially may not like. It deserves a second chance like all things. Hidden gems come to us in disguise in life.
- If a music genre does not suit an initially chosen activity, switch it up but don’t turn it off. What we have in this world is an infinite source of music from which to choose.
- Draw inspiration, creativity, and illumination from music especially from the richness of classical music or the sweetness of a treasured tune from your past.
- You don’t have to own it to love and enjoy it. Do not obsess with owning every piece of music, learn to listen without attachment.
- Learn to appreciate classical music sooner than later in life. There is a reason classical music has withstood the test of time and is universally loved.
- Dancing and playing an instrument teach you how to be musical and some of us are lucky to naturally experience one or both but most of us need to make it happen to us. Choose to bring at least one of the two into your life and watch the diffusion of happiness from these age-old traditions.
- Following the beat can take you places – on a run, on the bike, on the dance floor or in the comfort of your office chair and through the pathways of your mind. Learn how to zone into the music and go with it where it may take you.
A Type of Music for All Things
What do we need all this music for?
During high school and college, I used to think that ’80s pop music suited all my needs. Same music all day long for every activity except on occasions when it had to be dead quiet for studying. My stubborn engineer brain has come a long way since those days, thank heavens!! This is where I think we are as unique as our fingerprints. You may work to a music that I find distracting and that an artist may find truly inspiring. We move and think and create to different beats – and this demand for variety is no doubt what has given rise to such an astonishing growth of fabulous music in this world. Personal taste then may vary widely but more importantly, any one of us can still grow to love a large genre of music. I list here for you my top 7 prominent choices for music and how each enhance a specific part of my life.
1 Classical for Creativity and Productivity: This post was brought to you by inspiration from Johann Sebastian Bach, a man who destroyed some of his own music after playing it once – sigh, the aching regrets the geniuses of our time leave behind for us!
2 Hard Rock for Hard Workouts: No, I never thought angry hard rock music – and all its sisters and cousins – would have a place in my life until I started my spinning habit at the fabulous Sync Studio. Now I know a new woman who can move to a very new beat: me!
3 Concerto with Soprano for the Soul: The musical hubby takes me to instrumental concerts where I have fallen into a trance and traveled down memory lane in amazing detail. The concerto with a soprano usually takes my breath away and awakens emotions of deep joy and sorrow which stay with me long after she stops singing.
4 Slow New Age for Meditation: I know meditation can be as fulfilling in silence but I can never zone out without the helping hand of the right music and my favorite podcast by Meditation Oasis plays the softest and gentlest music which combined with Mary’s instructions take me into a deeper level of consciousness.
5 Opera for the Soul: I did not fall in love with the opera until watching Carmen but I never forget the scene from Philadelphia where Andrew Beckett describes his love of the opera: “Can you hear the heartache in her voice? Can you feel it, Joe? In come the strings, and it changes everything…The music fills with a hope, and that’ll change again. Listen… listen.. “. They say you will either hate the opera or love it. I would say whatever you do, give it two tries and fit in at least one Italian opera please.
6 Argentine Tango for Dancing: Tango music is sublime. It is addictive and beautiful and a genre all its own. There are three main types of songs: Vals, Tango and Milonga. Of course I am incredibly partial but so are my friends and together, perhaps we can convince you to at least listen to the beauty that came out of Argentina, or better yet, invite you to explore the tango in your life.
7 Persian Pop or Instrumental for Inspiration and Joy: I love my Persian music and it is still to this I return during many daily routines, getting ready, driving to an event, building up momentum to an occasion, for the (appropriate) parties and for practicing my Farsi with the help of Persian rap music coming out of LA studios! (Did I really admit that openly?)
Invite music to every part of your life and do it especially on those occasions when you least feel like it. Be open to experiencing the change in yourself through great music and fill the silent hours of the day with the richness of your favorite songs. You will not regret the new loyal companionship music will bring you.
Share your Thoughts
The theme of music is not an easy one to close – so much to share and explore here but it is your turn to tell us what music you have in your life and how it helps you? Do you explore a variety of genres and styles of music or do you always return to what you know you love? What music do you love? And most of all, what does music do for you? I would love to hear your thoughts and ways music enhances your life and you as a human being.
With deep appreciation to John Morris, a dear friend and artist with the camera, for the beautiful photograph above.