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.
As a fresh college graduate trying to gain experience in the entertainment industry, you’ll inevitably find yourself doing work for or at least conversing with musicians that make you cringe. It’s an unfortunate element of paying your dues in this industry. However, it makes the experience of meeting gifted musicians that much more rewarding.
On a saturday morning I found myself driving to the Ritz Carlton in downtown LA to film a promo for a singer I had been put in touch with through a friend from a summer internship I had recently finished. My only experience I had with him was a hand full of texts and some promising videos of his performances. Essentially, I had no idea what to expect, but to make a long story short, I got to work with a performer that made my job into a relaxing afternoon.
Timorris Lane is not only a phenomenal R&B singer/songwriter but is totally comfortable in front of a camera, knows how to work smoothly in situations that others might make tense, and speak intelligently on the topics he’s interested in.
Check out Timorris Lane’s Promo (watch in HD)/Website and support a really talented young artist.
I suppose there are a number of good reasons why I could never get into Langston Hughes. For one, He was writing from a place that as a young white male with a middle class upbringing I could not and still cannot fully appreciate. His sincerity is not spelled in flowery imagery or overbearing concepts. Instead it is often frank and stark. Obviously, it’s easy to respect such great work, but simply put, it just didn’t grab me.
After impulsively grabbing a collection of his poems from a used bookstore I found myself still unable to really enjoy his work no matter how many pages I read or how many times I read them. Though it didn’t take much to change my feelings on Hughes. As I sat on my bed listening to Christian Scott, I picked up the book and found myself immediately being pulled into every poem I read. The rhythms that had previously felt awkward to me now felt almost danceable and the lines which seemed rather bland now created powerful images. While some poets’ work is distracted by musical accompaniment, Hughes is lyrical in his approach causing the mind to sing his words over harmony and rhythm.
Read Hughes’s poem “Stars” while listening to “Isadora” by Christian Scott.
O, sweep of stars over Harlem streets,
O, little breath of oblivion that is night.
A city building
To a mother’s song.
A city dreaming
To a lullaby.
Reach up your hand, dark boy, and take a star.
Out of the little breath of oblivion
That is night,
Unlike the precomposed genres of Classical and pop/rock, jazz music, focusing mainly on improvisation, uses a melody and chord structure to set a topic; the artistry of it however comes in the performance and interaction between the musicians. Instead of some climactic speech with a story-like structure, jazz music focuses on the development of ideas and therefore may not be as linear in its performance. It can be compared to a situation in which academics or scholars discuss a certain topic at a conference; there will be some in the audience who follow the discussion very closely while others will pick up bits and pieces trying to absorb the rest for later study. From this point of view it is clear how this form of music is much less accessible to the average or casual listener.
Folk music is truly the most egalitarian of all the musical genres. At its best it speaks from no platform. There is no hierarchy or even need for appreciation. It sincerity is meant to be so exposed that any person can take part in it. There is of course very little intellectualism or detail from which to draw interest, and so its emotion and lyrical content must be compelling enough to hold the listener. While the other genres tend to create some sort of hierarchy between artist and audience, the folk artists provide a face to face conversation with those that they perform to.