Music is such an important part of my life. I cannot fathom life without it. To me, no music would be like waking up to no sun. No birds chirping. No sounds of cars moving on the street outside. Without music, my world would be a deafening silence of emotionally empty abyss. Take away my music and you take away my soul.
I don’t know where my love of music came from. Perhaps it was a childhood of lazy days sprawled out on the Living Room floor, listening to albums on my parents’ hi-fi stereo. My Dad converted an old massive Edwardian sideboard to a long, low-slung stereo of sorts in the ’60s by cutting off the legs (horrible to think of now!), inserting a turntable in the center and speakers into the sides. His craftsmanship provided for hours of listening pleasure for us all.
The music tastes in the household were eclectic and I can recall sneaking their Sonny & Cher, Mac Davis, Joan Baez and a very memorable Porgy & Bess album in to my listening repertoire among the many Disney soundtrack albums Mom thought we were listening to. As I got older and began to play the piano and in the school band, my love for music grew. Classical, Pop, Jazz, Country, Contemporary Christian and Blues are all genres I enjoy immensely. But sadly, I must admit, it typically stops there for me; rarely do I find myself seeking out new and more varied styles and music. And the same old stuff is starting to get a little boring.
But this I know to be true, I love music and find it is a constant in my life. It’s time to mix it up a little and discover more music in my life! I’m going to use the unused channels on my XM radio to listen to some new music and challenge myself to explore new sounds. I’m going to turn on the iTunes Genius app and let it suggest some sounds I might like, based on the music I already know and appreciate. Between iTunes Genius and Pandora (not to mention dozens of other sites and applications) there are some great ways to leverage technology and use my current tastes as a springboard into a world of new music and sounds.
2013 is the year for me to spread my wings and create a new soundtrack to my life.
When I think about the importance music plays for me personally, I cannot help but also take a hard look at the statistics. A study by the University of Florida really stresses the importance of music education. In their Psychology of Music study, they conclude, “there’s more to why we like music than a catchy beat or an easy karaoke tune. Dozens of receptors in our brain respond to different musical attributes like tone, rhythm and lyrics, determining the qualities we personally like and dislike. Don’t let music go in one ear and out the other — learn how to interpret your brain’s response to music, the benefits of listening to it and the importance of music education.”
One can argue their whole study hangs on that last point; they are, after all, in the business of music education. But even those statistics are pretty impressive:
- Listening to music can improve language skills, creativity and happiness
- Music has documented healing powers for anxiety, speeding the healing process, increasing optimism and decreasing pain
- Music is known to help with some neurological diseases and disorders like Autism, Tourettes Syndrome, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
If you want to be truly inspired by the healing power of music, you need to watch this amazing video.