God’s drug is music – if God had a drug that is. Some of my best thinking is when I walk around the lake near our home. Often, I will listen to music. My taste is decidedly eclectic and recently I listened to the overture from The King and I and realized how I’ve grown to appreciate beautiful music more as I’ve aged in sharp contrast to my son’s love of angry rock ‘n’ roll. Yeah, I still love the music I grew up with but I now tend to appreciate more classical, standards, and even country. And, let’s face it music and love certainly go together well!
A Theory About Our Music Taste
I have a theory about the average person’s music taste. It is simply that it is formed during the decade or so from the teens to career and marriage. Obviously, that may be more than a decade but the idea remains the same regardless of the exact number of years.
Most of us start our music journey and serious exploration of our own choices in music simultaneous with the journey of independence that goes along with becoming a teenager. We begin to listen to music our generation enjoys. We buy music and begin attending concerts with our peers.
Then, career and/or marriage intrude on those carefree years of growth and exploration. Money becomes tighter and going to concerts becomes a bit more infrequent. If a child comes along, money becomes even further budgeted and buying $45 t-shirts at the latest stadium concert is relegated to a memory.
When We Stop Listening to New Music
Many of us literally stop listening to new music after that first child comes. Again, this theory is completely unscientific but I do suspect it applies to many. For me, my music exploration ended sometime during the disco years. Maybe that was the blow to my love of music or maybe it was my focus on my then career in showbiz.
I got married, had two boys, divorced, raised my boys alone and dated for several years, remarried, moved several times, and took care of my ailing parents through their passing. Music took a back seat to life.
However, when Napster emerged and music seemed available so easily from my desk, I began a journey back through the eighties and nineties, the period in which I was musically dormant. I listened to many artists I’d only heard of, such as R.E.M., Radio Head, KISS, Guns ‘N’ Roses, AC/DC, Nirvana, Billy Idol, Sheryl Crow, Pearl Jam, Eminem, U2, and so many others!
Part of the reason my musical education stopped was the advent of talk radio. I stopped listening to music, except the occasional time I’d listen to the oldies station, in favor of talk.
My Son Showed Me the Way
Along the way, my older son became a musician. He began on guitar, moved to vocals, bass, and drums, along with writing and production, and is now awaiting word on acceptance at the Berklee College of Music.
From the onset of his music passion, we began attending concerts. At first, I took him to those artists I knew and loved, such as Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton. As his own tastes emerged – yes, during his teens – he “took” me to his favorites such as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, and Incubus.
Music Is a Gift
All of which brings me back to the title of this column. Music is a gift. Music enhances life. Music adds to many activities whether it’s simply walking around a lake or taking a road trip.
One of my favorite talk show hosts, Dennis Prager, is a connoisseur of classical music with a healthy regard for other forms as well. He says that “Music is God’s drug,” and I not only love that statement but realize how it is mankind’s drug as well.
We’ve just completed the Christmas and New Year’s season. Can you imagine Christmas without the music we grow a bit tired of throughout the last weeks of the year?
Please enjoy my Ten Most Beloved Christmas Songs! Can you imagine not having those benchmarks songs that you associate with your high school years, the courtship of your spouse, and memories of the music your parents enjoyed?
Music is a grace in life. Staying stuck as I did for so many years kept me from hearing amazing new artists, styles, and music. Yes, I attended the occasional Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, but I missed out on many other contemporary styles.
I Like Lady Gaga
My sons have introduced me to new big pop stars like Lady Gaga as well as more independent artists like Noah and the Whale. Sure, I find some of my older son’s love of what I call “Screaming Rock” to be just that, screaming! But, often I’m going around humming, “ga ga oomp pah pah, I want your bad romance” and enjoying the look of disgust on my boy’s faces.
Step out of your comfort zone. Turn on the radio. Ask your children to make you a CD or play-list for your iPod or other music player. Give over control of the radio to them. You might discover yourself feeling like a kid again yourself!
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