Like many people I love listening to music. You are probably not surprised to hear that the music I enjoy is generally different from what my sons choose. However, we have a few favourites in common and some pieces of music that bring back memories for us as a family.
Listening to music you enjoy has numerous health benefits including lowering blood pressure and stress. It can reduce anxiety, depression and boost your immune system. Studies suggest the key to reaping health benefits is not restricted to a specific type of music but listening to what brings you pleasure.
I usually listen to music on CD but sometimes from a USB. Decades ago I had a collection of vinyl records and after that, cassettes. A tip for anyone into listening to their music retro style, don’t leave your singles on the dashboard of the car on a hot day. I learnt that lesson the hard way as a fifteen year old.
A song can bring back a rush of memories, either happy or sad. Depending on your age, a song such as ‘Moon River’, ‘When a Man Loves A Woman,’ ‘Love Story’, ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’, ‘Hero’ or ‘My Heart Will Go On’, may make you smile or else bring tears to your eyes.
Music that was released years ago reminds me of different times in the past. There are particular songs that take me back to the first time I heard them. Do you always think of a special person when you hear a particular song? The fifties song, “Moments to Remember’ makes me think of my mother because she used to sing it when I was a child. It was one of the songs we played at her funeral.
While listening to music in the comfort of one’s own home is wonderful, there is nothing like live music. That is another experience again, with all the feeling of being part of a crowd, united as you enjoy music together. It may be an outdoor concert or an event in a theatre but it is bound to be something you will remember.
These days some of my favourite music comes under the heading, ‘relaxation’. I especially like pan pipes and pan flutes and have bought several CDs of this type. Sometimes I borrow pan pipes/flutes CDs from the library. Relaxation music, or music combined with instructions for unwinding or meditation is popular these days.
Among my collection of CDs I have several influenced by the sounds of Nature. Some combine music and the sounds of Nature such as bird song, waves, the breeze blowing through trees and running water. When I was on holiday in Phuket I heard a lovely Nature inspired CD playing in a mall and bought the CD. Of course I always remember being on holiday when I listen to it.
I listen to music when I write. If I need to concentrate hard I choose instrumental pieces so I am not distracted by the lyrics. Perhaps I will play something which includes birdsong or the sound of waves crashing on the beach to get me into the zone for writing about Nature.
Sometimes I listen to instrumental music which has a faster beat than my relaxation/ Nature inspired CDs. A stimulating beat tends to make me think and type faster.
To stop myself dwelling too much on the past, I make sure I listen to current music rather than limiting myself to favourites from decades ago. I have donated some ‘old’ CDs to the local library when I have decluttered. I enjoy some music from the last few years and have a few CDs by favourite artists, mostly female.
One of my sons encourages me to widen my experience by listening to the soundtracks from video games such as the newly released, ‘Fallout 4’. He also shares some of his music from anime with me.
Borrowing music from the library is a good way of trying something different without any financial outlay. Listening to music on Spotify on the internet and PopAsia on TV or the internet are other ways of accessing a wide variety of music for free.
Sometimes I am exposed to different types of music when I come across buskers. This live music, being free and accessible to all, is a bit like street art. I think buskers add atmosphere to a shopping area and if I don’t like the music I just keep walking. Sometimes I will stop and listen or even buy a CD if I have spare cash.
Everyone has their own taste in music and their own way of enjoying it. For some, the louder the better, but I usually prefer to have my music playing quietly. I like this quote from the nineteenth century poet and author Berthold Auerbach, ‘Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’