One month ago I decided to not listen to any music for a month to see how that would affect me and potentially learn from that as I explained here. Music, just like many other things nowadays, is something we almost always have access to no matter where we are and what we are doing; and as music has the ability to turn a dull day or a long ride into an innervating experience it is tempting not to listen to music whenever you can, but in doing so you become less sensitive for its beauty and psychic power. It needs to be indulged in sparingly to remain effective. With that rational in mind I initiated the experiment.
Of course the idea itself was too puristic, as I couldn’t force the people around me, in the office and at home, to not put on music when I happened to be in the same room. Therefore the experiment was more about me not having the freedom to put on music. So, what was it like?
“Music makes you forget about your thoughts”
Quiet. Primarily sundays were very quiet. I was actually confronted by the fact that without music I was more alone with my thoughts and that my thoughts got a stronger presence in my mind. I learned that music makes you forget about your thoughts. Also, not having the distraction of music made me feel more peaceful and serene. Even though some music makes you relax, Chopin does this for me, there is nothing more relaxing than quietude, I think.
At other times, though, I craved for music, for a release of energy which this one particular album or song could afford me at that moment. I couldn’t find a good replacement for such a release and I would just be hyperactive for a short while.
“I spontaneously started whistling more”
What was also interesting is that I started whistling more. I quite rarely whistle, something I would like to do more, but then somehow I don’t, and now I spontaneously started doing it. I imagine that people in the Middle Ages, most of which probably couldn’t play an instrument and most of which definitely didn’t have a music library of millions of songs at their immediate disposal, sang, whistled and used their bodies to make music a lot more than most people nowadays.
Ironically, when the month was over and I could finally listen to some music, I eagerly put on some of the albums that I had craved for in the past month, with the expectation of having an intense auditory orgasm. But after listening for half an hour and switching songs many times I came to the conclusion that at that moment I just didn’t feel like listening to music and I turned it off. I think this month made me extra sensitive for music’s ability to either augment my mood when well-timed or turn me into a thoughtless zombie when timed inconsiderately. Just like a drug, music needs to be used in moderation, otherwise it looses its effect and it becomes an addiction.