Music is indeed everywhere. A hundred years ago, people were limited to whatever the town's musicians were up to. Suddenly, here I am in 2012, and I can listen to whatever I choose, whenever I choose, wherever I choose. Most people have thousands of songs readily available on their phones. A song of my choice of any genre can find its way from any corner of the world to the tiny Norwegian town where I live, in literally one second.
However, I'm not sure if we've all adapted wisely to this gigantic change...
Slowing downI suspect that silence isn't being properly valued nowadays. When I go for a walk in the woods, I enjoy the sights and sounds nature has to offer. Often there isn't even much to hear at all.
"Nature doesn't hurry, yet everything gets accomplished" - Lao Tzu.
I think our minds' way of working is more compatible with nature's pace, than with man's focus on efficiency and constant stimulation. I think this is very relevant for how we listen to music, and generally deal with modern life.
Treble attack!As I enjoy my freshly picked berries, looking for squirrels in the warm breeze, I hear a sharp, bright cloud of treble approaching. Music blasting from white earbuds, heavy breathing - yes, it's a jogger. He does the trail in lightning speed, burns more calories than me, is equipped with iPod, heart rate monitor, pedometer, and posts his jogging statistics on Facebook. If you're a "somebody" in 2012, you're living a high-paced life with results! It's not about the journey, it's about how many people like it on Facebook.
It seems to be important to keep up the pace on public transportation as well. Rather than letting the mind resume its natural tempo, and letting the ears rest, the stream of music continues. These people say they're music fans, but many are listening to YouTube rips on cheap headphones, and much of the music is drowned out by background noise. Also, it's rude to assume that the rest of the passengers tolerate Nicki Minaj.
Dynamics in musicMusic consists of variations in pitch, rhythm, volume, texture, etc. In other words, music is dynamic. As french composer Claude Debussy put it: "Music is the space between the notes".
Thus, I believe that if you don't appreciate silence, you won't really appreciate music either.
Making music is without doubt my main hobby. Ironically, in the eyes of most people, I'm the one who listens to the least amount of music among my friends, by far.
Less music, more listeningIt might seem like an odd encouragement at first, from someone whose hobby is music creation, but I encourage you to reduce the amount of music in your life! Music can be fatiguing, both mentally (information overload) and physically (hearing problems).
You might prefer listening to music most of the day, and that's fine. Just try to listen and experience actively, rather than using it as background noise. Also, don't forget that without silence, there is no music.
Have you tried increasing the amount of silence in your life? Are you properly paying attention to what you're listening to?