Like most children their age, my teenage daughters-in-law love to listen to music.
Their playlists these days include all things emo, retro Nirvana, EDM (or ADM, in Owl City’s case), and quite a bit of explicit hip-hop and rap. It’s a big change from their musical tastes a few years ago, when their go-to tunes were love songs by Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Adele.
So do I censor what they listen to?
In many ways, their musical tastes mimic the normal progression we all make when we leave behind our childhood/between-two-year-olds, rebel against the “normal” version of our family, and declare our newfound individuality with music that reflects life. anticipation of adulthood.
We’re a family of musicians and I’m okay with how my kids’ playlists change with them. Of course, I’d rather they didn’t listen to music where every other word is an F-bomb, but our culture has lost its aversion to such things, so it’s ok – hear, not speak!
But there are some things about how my daughters use music that concern me.
One of the girls wakes up to music filled with abusive and misogynistic lyrics. And that’s a problem, but for deeper reasons than you might think.
The human brain responds and fires to rhythm and sound. In fact, human beings learn faster and retain information longer when music is used to facilitate learning.
If you’re prepping for an exam, preparing for a presentation, or just memorizing your shopping list, setting that process to backing music amplifies the results. Conversely, music interferes with the learning process, slowing it down and hindering the brain’s ability to process and retain information.
Of course, with over seven billion listeners on the planet, there are exceptions – there isn’t a single piece of music that touches us all in exactly the same way.
So why is it important to know what music you listen to when you wake up in the morning?
Intense music (metal, rap, club music) usually activates your lizard brain – the adrenaline-based fight, flight or freeze mechanisms that have kept us alive for over 100,000 years. Do you really want to wake up angry, scared or catatonic? I was just asking.
On the other hand, what about waking up with recorded rainfall? Or ocean waves? They create a very different effect on you.
This also applies to all musical genres. Some people like to wake up nostalgic; some appreciate the intellectual stimulation of Bach or Vivaldi. Some love the soul of Coltrane’s innovative saxophone solos; some prefer ballads or the blues. It’s totally a personal preference.
Because it’s the first conscious moment of your whole day, explore what makes you truly happy and wakes you up on the best possible note.
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Try waking up to several different types of music or sounds. Notice how you wake up from sleep with each. Then, also pay attention to how the rest of your day is going.
Ultimately, you may find that your week needs different kinds of music on different days: more relaxed on the weekends, for example, and more active during the week. Upbeat is fine, it’s the music that fuels negative moods or restless energy that you should probably avoid.
Bill Protzmann is a speaker and life coach raising awareness of the power of music as self-care.