Thank you for the music

I love music. I listen to music many hours every day; first and foremost because it makes me happy. I’ve always had a clear emotional response to music, and in a way I’m probably a little dependent on the gentle, fine euphoria that accompanies a particularly well-composed song, harmonies that resonate with body and soul, or rhythms that cause the cells in my body to swing.

When I listen to a special selection of music, such as repetitive electronica, or various types of rock or pop, I often enter the “zone”, a mental state of higher concentration. I often listen to music when I need to concentrate (here is a playlist with house music for that purpose). People are different here, some need silence to concentrate. I can listen to black metal and be completely focused.

Music is a powerful mood influencer and is something you can utilize in an effective way. Unfortunately, many people do exactly the opposite of what their needs are; listening to music that reinforces negative emotions, rather than softening the pain, and perhaps even turning it in the direction of joy. I did this myself. In my most painful years, when I was ravaged by depression, I would put on the saddest music I could find, and then lay under the duvet covers in the dark for hours.

For example, it is a little strange that we use sad music at funerals. For those who are not very close to the deceased, it may be a nice mood setter, but for those mostly afflicted with severe grief, the grief itself is more than enough. You do not need sad music to burden your shattered heart even more; it is bad enough as it is. In fact, I still have an almost traumatic relationship with ‘Yesterday’, by The Beatles, which was one of the songs played at my Dad’s funeral. If that song plays on the radio, I turn off the sound. I don’t need to relive the sad day of dad’s funeral and would much rather remember the good memories I have of him.

At my own funeral, I would rather play happy music; music that can evoke some good memories. Maybe not “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC, but a little Steely Dan or Fleetwood Mac might work.

I have previously created a playlist of happy music that you can use to enhance and elevate your mood (follow the link to find it on Spotify). I also made a list of music you can dance to, as dancing in itself leads to the production of neurotransmitters related to better moods.

Another area where music can be very useful is when you are tired, and you have very low energy levels. If I’m tired I get much perkier by playing happy rock (which to me is Metallica, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin. Etc.) on a high volume than by a cup of coffee. Energetic, danceable electronica are another good option here.

People are different, and music preferences are highly individual. Some people are not even fond of music. The best thing to do is to experiment with music and mood and energy. Find the music that gives you the desired effect and stay away from sad music that only increases the heartache.

Finally, if any musicians or composers are reading this: Thank you very much! Keep up the good work!