Sunday, June 12, 2011

Play It Again...and This Time Listen

   I love music. Music can be one of the most wonderful experiences to have...just sitting and listening. I consider myself fortunate to have been exposed to different varieties of music at an early age and throughout my life, giving me a very broad acoustic pallet and many options for listening pleasure. As is my way, I started thinking profoundly about something I’ve never considered before. My thoughts went to music and the impact it’s had in my life. I furthered that thought and started thinking generally about the impact music has on most of us and how that influence translates into our interactions with others.
   "Music has an influence on our minds and feelings...and therefore our interpersonal relationships. If you are what you eat...then you reflect what you listen to. Listen carefully my friends..."   - The Pontificator (6/4/11)
   Ask yourself, how many times have you been in a certain mood and picked a musical selection based on how you feel? I’m sure it’s happened...feeling a little down and so you select a sad song. Feeling vibrant and full of energy, and so you select an upbeat, fast tempo song. Having a special someone coming over late at night for a visit...and so you select some music to fit the mood and set the tone. Some of us even classify  music with some interesting labels like “driving music,” “elevator music,” “gaming music,” “running music” and the list goes on. Music is so varied that what may be elevator music to me might be driving music to you or the song I use for running is the same song you use for gaming. The point being that our personal classification is just our preference and music really doesn’t have the limitations that we place on it.
   Now ask yourself, do certain songs or types of music change your mood? Again, I’m reasonably positive it’s happened although maybe it wasn’t observed. Maybe you were driving, in a neutral mood, and a song came on the radio that gave you a “that’s my favorite song” type of reaction or just pumped you up...and pushed your foot a little harder on the gas. Maybe you were angry at your significant other and you heard a song that softened your disposition because it reminded you of a special time. Music has the power to change how we feel and then, by extension, how we act. If music influences how we act, then it influences how we interact. 
   Many people I know listen to music and hear different things...even from the same song. There are people that are lyric oriented and others that are more melodic listeners. A melody might be so grabbing that the words of the song are never even heard to the point of understanding. I don’t think this is too bad, it just sets up a scenario for someone negatively affected by the words to question another whom they thought would feel the same way...only to find that the words really weren’t being listened to...just the melody. The flip side to this is the lyrical listener that really develops profound thoughts and feelings to the message the song is giving. A message received can be acted upon and if emotionally stimulated, is very likely to be.
   So becomes important, especially to the impressionable...usually the youth, to be very cognizant of the messages being received. Let me also stress that even though the words of a song may not be intently listened to, there is evidence that suggest the message is still subconsciously being received. Without singling out a particular genre of music, I will simply say that when it comes to a positive and negative message...any message that, when acted upon, brings harm to oneself and others, is a message with no usable content and should be ignored. The harm I speak of isn’t always physical, but can be mental, societal, and spiritual. 
   Since music has an influence on behavior, many of us are reflections of what we regularly listen to. It only makes sense that if you wish to reflect differently, changes have to be made...and one of those changes should probably be the messages you melodically subject yourself to. At the very least, this has all been something to think about...while you listen to your favorite tune.

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