I don’t like music. Shocking isn’t it? Well it’s true if you were to use any accepted method of analysis to see that out of all the multiplicities of music available I like such a tiny proportion that I almost like none of it. I’d rather it be that way, I’d rather be discernible as to what I spend my time enjoying. If I ask someone what sort of music they like and they reply ‘oh, all sorts, everything’, what they’re really saying is that they basically like ‘sound’. Few may agree with my taste, but I’d rather have some kind of taste than be that random.
Maybe it’s because I write music, I analyse music, I perform music but most of all I ‘use’ music for a purpose and I know what that purpose is. It’s probably the same purpose that we all use music for; mood changing or mood enhancing. I use music as a drug – to externally control my emotions.
And that’s why I’m so discerning about what music I like, because I’m discerning about what emotions I want to feel. I choose emotions that serve my purpose and therefore choose music that serves a purpose.
That’s why I rarely listen to music radio. I don’t want a station’s playlist randomly shifting my emotions. (That’s not to say I don’t want to find new music that I might like, as I do. To me finding new music is like panning for gold though a lot of dirt. When I find something it’s wonderful.)
This is why I object to out-of-place music.
The sauna/steam room I visit has started playing music. The health club already pumps music into the bar area, the changing rooms, the toilets and the gym. There is now no escape from other people’s choice of sound. The music they play in the steam room is classical. That is the wrong choice. People generally go to the sauna/steam room to relax. Classic music is stimulating, it is not relaxing. Anything with a melody excites the brain and stimulates it. Classic music is all melody. Without this music we would hear the rushing of the water from the spa which is almost pure white noise. Sounds like the crashing of waves, humming and buzzing sounds are made up from all frequencies just as white light is made up from all colours. At low volumes white noise allows brain waves to slow down, to relax and then enter meditative state.
If I go into a cafe, restaurant or pub it’s usually for good conversation. So I don’t need loud music drowning out voices. I also don’t want beat music. Music with a beat forces the body and mind to adopt its rhythm. That’s perfect for dance music, but I don’t want an external random rhythm forced on my conversations.
Some people like to work in silence and some people like babble or the radio on. It does depend of the type of work and whether you are able to disengage from the sound for it to become for you white noise or not. I can’t do that with my work of writing or designing. If there is spoken word going on around me I can’t help but to listen to what is said. If music is playing I cant help but listen to it.
I have to engage with music. I can’t help myself. The wrong music in the wrong place will make me angry but the right music in the right place is amazing. So I love music after all.
Have a think about what you listen to, when, where and why and ask yourself what you engage with and what you don’t. See if you are controlling your emotions and therefore your decisions or if you are in fact surrendering control to someone else.
What music do you use for certain activities? Do you have different music for exercise, motorway travel, creative time, for relaxing or for confidence?