Emotional Memory and Our Favorite Songs

There’s no doubt that we personalize every piece of music we listen to. Though, what happens when we want to listen to a piece of music fresh again? Simply put, it’s impossible.

All too often our favorite songs or artists have been ruined by a traumatizing breakup or stagnated by an overbearing amount of the same emotion. Now, breaking some personal connections with our songs will be harder than others, but we can at least listen to our music from a different angle, and therefore, bring a fresh perspective to our old time favorites.

When we first listen, we are open, simply letting the music affect us without attachments or expectations. Though, because we are open the music comes into us along with other things in the environment, like our current situation, surroundings, moods, other art, and personal interactions. This is when the attachments are created. With enough time these attachments can become very strong. However, with the right amount of time and intention we can replace these attachments with new, more temporary ones. We simply have to focus on recreating that “openness” that we originally listened with. Essentially, “awareness” is the key. Your mind will automatically recall the strongest memories that are associated with a piece of music while you listen casually. But by truly listening in the moment one can get down to the music at its essence and experience a new level of the art. A song is much bigger than just your personal feelings and is at once fit just for you. We can experience many levels of meaning in a piece of music, and frequently we only scratch the surface.

As in meditation, we can clear our mind and simply let the music enter unaffected by our current state, then choose when to let our surroundings and emotions attach themselves. So, next time you’re listening, just try staying aware of the moment and listening with fresh ears.