Alright, so I’m driving home from the store about an hour ago, and it occurs to me that music, like many things in life, is a paradox. Well, that is, the music that one likes and listens to may be seen as a paradox. Do you know what I mean? No. Hm. Okay, let me try it this way.
What I actually mean is that human beings are paradoxical; and, that the things we think, feel, and do can be seen as paradoxes, which includes the music we like, and the music we listen to.
Let me show you.
Here is a band I’ve loved all of my life. As I’ve written about before, I was scheduled to see them play the month that my dad passed away unexpectedly. A difficult time.
Well, I recreated that possibility about 6 months later, so got to see them play in Santa Ana, California last fall. I love all of their albums, and songs, yet this one is more present for me today.
Ah, yep, Bad Religion. I hadn’t seen them in, oh, should I say? Alright. It had been 20 years. That is a story for another day.
Anyway, as much as I love Bad Religion, I also love this.
Mm. Billie Holiday. Love that. Beautiful. And, let’s not forget about this.
Oh, and then this.
Alright, alright, though there is so much more to add, I’ll stop now. 🙂
What I am writing about to you today, is to listen to what you love. Especially when it seems like a paradox. It’s for you, no one else.
Likewise, do what you love to do, be who you want to be, and cherish all the apparent paradoxes that you know and feel about yourself. They are a part of you. And, guess what?
They aren’t really paradoxes. Not really. Because they are a part of you, those things that you love, that inspire you, that move you, that touch you, they are one. They are you.
And, when you are inspired, everyone around you will also be inspired. It works like that, and is fun like that.
What are some of the apparent paradoxes that make you the human being you are today?
It’s hard to believe that it took until my 4th installment in the sound of series to get to music. A profound impact on my life, music has had, does have, and will always have. Do you remember the first time you were moved by a song, or piece of music? Yes? Me too.
First, a cool quote about music.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
What I played music on
I’m old enough to remember reel-to-reel players. I was very young, and I remember my dad playing music on the one we had. I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6, maybe 7 years old at the time. What a contraption. Large and bulky, yet from what I can remember, the sound was pretty good.
The one in the above photo looks very similar to the one we had. I’ve always loved music. Even at a young age. I’ve always been moved by it, and moved towards it. I remember listening to endless amounts of music as a child, endless. There really wasn’t, and isn’t. enough to fill me up.
The chills you get when a certain piece is played, moving your emotions and entire physiology. Creating within you a space of wonder, which is only ever really filled with another piece of music.
I’m not sure how many record players we had, or I had – there were many. I LOVE the sound of music coming from a record player. A completely different experience. It is textual, in a way. The raspiness of the record doing its revolutions around the player, music pouring out of the tiny speaker, love that sound. Irreplaceable, and uncomparable.
When I was probably 10, maybe, not sure, the sony walkman came out. WOW. What a game changer. Now, you could have your music on the go, without carrying a boombox, or some other transistor radio. Changed my life.
I was a rather mobile youth, as I’ve mentioned in other posts; skateboarding being a large part of my mobility, and youthhood growing up in Los Angeles. With the advent of the walkman, I could take my favourite music with me everywhere, and it was just for me. I didn’t have to play it for anyone else. I could sit with my music, skate with my music, do anything, really, with my music. LOVE.
And, of course, how could there be a post on music without writing about the tape cassette. Funny, how many of those I owned. Probably hundreds. I remember buying them, trading them, even making them. Buying the blank cassettes from the store, and compiling my favorite song mixes – WAY before the advent of Spotify, and Pandora.
I even remember creating pseudo broadcasts with friends, pretending to be DJ’s. Playing music, creating hot topics, and generally having a grand time. All the while recording the sessions, on what, you ask? Well, of course recorded to, and played back from cassettes, of course. Old school if there ever was such a thing.
Two of my favorite musical contexts
Concerts and Musicals
How about your first, what I call a show, typically called a concert. Do you remember how that made you feel? Music louder than you’ve ever heard music played. And, even better, the actual physical experience of feeling the music. First experiencing that was such a rush. I will never forget having that feeling for the first time.
Nor, will I forget, after many years of not going to concerts, of going to one about three years ago. Having that physiological experience again. It is hard to put into language how exciting, and what a total mind-body experience that is.
Since that time, I’ve been to many more, and, once we are able to gather again like that, will do so again.
How about the first time you ever saw a musical. I LOVE musicals. The first musical I ever went to was Les Miserables, in Los Angeles. I will never forget the power of the music, and how the music combined with the performance, and story, to create an even profounder mind-body experience.
I’ve not been to a musical in some time, however, as I write this, I am listening to Les Miserables. I also look forward to the day, hopefully soon, where I can once again sit in the audience, and take in all the beauty of the sets and costumes; and, hear the wonderful orchestra combined so beautifully with fantastic performances. A joy.
Music. Profound, life changing, and ever present in my life; and, I for one, am very grateful to have it there. And, now, there are SO many more ways to listen, interact with, and be with music. Yet, that is for a different post; so, let me simply leave you with one more quote about music that I quite like.
“Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.” – George Eliot