I love listening to music. I can appreciate almost every genre out there: classical, funk, jazz, 80s new-wave, grunge, new age, bluegrass, prog rock … just not that fond of rap or hip hop. I grew up with music being played all the time in my house. My mother loves all types of music too, so there was always a record or cassette being listened to in the background, or certainly the radio. When she remarried, my stepfather had an enormous music collection, mostly classic rock of the 60s, 70s and 80s, and again, it was played often. Because of this, I can listen to music while doing most anything, even mathematical and left-brain tasks; reading, not so much – the music distracts me because it’s more interesting.
Because I can appreciate most music, I consider a majority of music to be “good.” I don’t know many people who can say that. I realize “good” is a subjective term, so to elaborate: My definition of good music is anything that moves me on a physical, an emotional or a spiritual level. By physical I don’t mean dance, much to my ballet-dancing wife’s dismay; my moving is more like bopping my head, toe-tapping, air-drumming, etc. The emotional and spritual level is… well… a little hard to describe. But I’ll try.
Sometimes I can see music.
Weird, I know. What does it look like? It’s something like wispy shapes and colors moving to the music. I don’t know if it’s some kind of aphasia or what, but when it happens, it’s beautiful. It’s not a trippy drug-induced thing – I’ve never done drugs, so I can’t be 100% sure, but I’m not going to find out, that much I’ll tell you. That being said, I found this video of some trippy, psychedelic Pink Floyd with some computer-generated “visualization.” It is the closest I can compare what happens in my brain when I really sit down and listen to music (and it’s been this way long before I ever saw my first visualization on Winamp in 1997 and said: “hey, that’s my brain!”)
This “apahsia-thing” tends to happen only with very elaborate music, such as classical (especially Mozart), new age (yes, like Yanni), and progressive rock. In my single days, I could spend hours lying down with my eyes closed and be swept away to music. As a Christian, it was almost a form of worship for me. The genre didn’t matter, I felt connected to my Creator who created creative beings who created creative music.
These days, as a tired father of two, if I lay down I’ll just fall asleep. I miss being able to really sit and listen and be overwhelmed by the beauty of music. I’m pretty sure I see in my kids the same music appreciation – my wife’s family’s genes help too, they are all musical. So I hope to share all my favorites with them some day. There’s a lot for them to listen to, though!
I’ll leave you with my favorite song of all time, the epic Supper’s Ready by Genesis. Hope you have a half-hour to really listen to it!
So that’s another thing I’d rather be doing now, listening to music.