Since time immemorial, human beings have been absolutely spellbound by music, and have used it to commemorate some of the most significant and meaningful moments of their lives.
Among other things, music has frequently featured in religious celebrations of all sorts, not to mention major life milestones such as weddings and birthdays, and even the preparation and practice of war.
These days, we all have pretty much instant access to pretty much whatever songs we might want, without having to spend any real-time or effort to get our preferred playlist streaming.
With this being the case, it may be that there is a risk that we’ll start to take music for granted, and will stop treating it like the truly incredible and life-affirming thing it is.
Here are a few tips for having the most meaningful possible relationship with music, instead.
Use the tools and services that work best for your specific situation
There are all sorts of different services out there for streaming and playing music, in addition to all sorts of different formats that music can be stored in.
If you’re trying to decide between Spotify vs Apple music, for example, you might find yourself spending a lot of time weighing up the relative pros and cons and not really getting anywhere. What if you make the wrong choice, and end up wishing you’d gone with the other option?
Well, take a step back, and take a deep breath. It’s important to consider whether the specific tools and services you are using to enjoy music are suited to your specific circumstances and situation, or not.
Perhaps the first question to ask is whether or not you are frequently around an Internet connection, to the point where a service that benefits primarily from its streaming abilities would really be the best option for you.
But there are other considerations, too. What music is actually available on the different platforms and services in question? How many different devices can you store your music on, courtesy of those services?
It’s not all about speed and accessibility – consider getting into vinyl collection
One thing that might contribute significantly to making us less appreciative of the sheer, raw power of music, is the fact that so much of it now seems to exist in an exclusively digital and MP3-based format.
The thing about digital music, is that is extremely convenient, and means that we can listen to our favourite soundtracks in just about any location, at just about any time. On top of this, it is possible to keep a “library” of thousands, if not millions of different songs and albums, entirely in digital space, without having to keep any shelves or boxes in your home for the purpose.
On the one hand this is obviously very beneficial. On the other hand, though, is it really all about speed and accessibility?
One of the really interesting developments in the music industry in recent years, has been the resurgence of vinyl records as a medium of interest to artists and distributors, as well as to fans. Say what you like about vinyl, but it’s definitely something more “tangible” than an MP3 file, and there’s just something more “special” about setting the scene and sitting down with your record collection, for a serious listening session.
It might be that getting into vinyl collection could help you to rediscover a sense of childlike wonder and appreciation for the act of listening to music in general. Instead of your music collection being something kind of abstract, that may or may not depend on the good graces of particular company to access, it’s now something tangible that you can hold in your hand, look at, and appreciate in the same way that someone can appreciate a leather bound book versus an eBook.
Don’t listen to your music 24/7 – being more sparing with it will make it all the more powerful
With smartphones being able to store and play large numbers of songs, and with the ubiquity of Internet access in most places (not to mention the existence of platforms like YouTube and Spotify that make it easier than ever before to access songs at a moments notice), you pretty much never have to actually go a moment of your day without listening to music, any more.
Well, that’s not entirely right. You probably shouldn’t listen to music while getting told off by your boss at work – but outside of that case, many of us stay “plugged in” constantly.
The thing is, if you listen to your music 24/7, it starts to become less meaningful, powerful, and impactful, to you.
Part of this is just about basic human nature, and the fact that we become accustomed to all sorts of different situations. Everyone knows that if you gorge yourself on extremely rich food day in and day out, you’re probably going to find it really hard to appreciate a simpler meal if someone offers it to you.
Not only that, though, but you’d actually begin to enjoy and appreciate the rich meals significantly less, after a short while, too.
If you want music to be really “meaningful” in your life, use it a bit more sparingly.
Try to get down to live gigs from time to time
Live concerts aren’t necessarily going to be for everyone, but a huge number of us would, hypothetically, have an incredible experience simply by attending more gigs.
All music was originally live music, and it’s only very recently in the grand scheme of human history that we have actually been in a situation where we can sit at home, alone, and listen to whatever music we might like.
Going to a concert takes music back to its primaeval, “wild” roots. It turns the act of appreciating music into a social gathering and phenomenon, and it connects us with the artist who is playing the music.
If you’ve never been to a live gig before, you should try it out at least once or twice, to see if you get a feel for it. Assuming you do get a feel for it, try and make it a semi-regular feature of your life, at least.