I listen to music differently now. When I was a kid, I had 4 albums, and I listened to them again and again. I’d sit in a chair with the album cover, and sometimes I’d sing along.
Now I have Apple Music, and every day I listen to a different album that I’ve never heard before. I listen in the car to kill the boredom and frustration of the drive. Or I listen while I’m cleaning.
When I was young, I think I looked to music to provide me with something I was lacking. The stories I heard, like in the George Harrison song “Something,” made me feel like I had access to an adult world, a world with drama and resolution. I was having a “real” experience (in my mind!), and I could feel the powerful emotions playing out inside.
Later, in my 30’s, I found myself listening exhaustively to Bruce Springsteen. I did this for a decade. He wasn’t the only thing I listened to, but he was number one.
It was as if he was taking me to places I hadn’t been, couldn’t go by myself. Those places had passion, lessons to be learned, and a way to express frustrations that I didn’t have a name for. The places where his message and my frustration intersected were great places to be.
At that time I was also listening to classical and jazz, my other go-to’s, and found myself connecting, either with a historical figure like Brahms, lonely like me, speaking more to the future listener than to anyone who knew him, or to a virtuoso like Bud Powell, crazy, exuberant, brave, just trying to speak, be heard, explore. I was trying to be both of those things. I needed the music to make me feel like it was possible, like I was getting there.
I still listen to all of that, but I don’t feel the same about them. I’ve become the man I wanted to be. I’ve become the jazz and classical musician I wanted to be.
I don’t go to music for the same things anymore. That leaves me wondering. What am I going to music for?
Right now I’m exploring the complete catalogues of artists whose work I missed when I was growing up: REM, Kate Bush, the Replacements. I love a lot of what I’m hearing. I also feel little desire to go back and listen again.
Am I seeking my lost youth? Am I trying to correct a deficiency? Fill in the holes?
Maybe. Or maybe the holes aren’t a deficiency, just a path not taken. And I’m curious about the person I would have been had I spent all my time listening to the Replacements instead of the Beatles.
Maybe I’m trying to see if who I am is a result of the path I took, or if the path I took is a result of who I am.
Can you relate? What do you listen to music for?
News From a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
One article this week: fupping.com/admin/2019/06/01/literature-majors-should-read-all-of-these-14-books/
I've also been invited to participate in two vidcasts. I'll send those along when they're done.
Finally, I'm very excited to reveal that Motherless Child is one step away from final approval.
Stay warm, stay cool!
Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. Fantasy author, music educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life. To take a quiz on what kind of music warrior you are, please visit www.mymusicfriend.net