Monday, April 19, 2010

Music and Me: Another Approach

A few days ago I read this blog post on Life With the Diva about her approach to music. (And here, her music listening process.) That got me thinking about my own relationship with music and how I listen to it myself. I previously wrote a little bit about this topic in December, in this blog post. It's more about the Streamer (the Bluetooth accessory I use with my Oticon hearing aids) than my own thoughts about music, though.

I know a lot of people who love music. Music is part of who they are. They have CD collections that line the walls or they have an external hard drive or mp3 player full of music files. I am not one of these people. My music collection is limited to around 200 songs on a small SD card in my cell phone. And about 50 of those songs are Christmas songs that really need to be moved on out of there until December of next year. What do I listen to? Well, I grew up listening to country and I do still enjoy that music. I like how clear country singers' voices often are and how lyrics are often repeated. My husband has gotten me to enjoy classic rock and expand my listening repertoire a bit. And I also enjoy Celtic Thunder, a male group from Ireland, as well as other folk music. (A good way to see all the groups I like is here, on my last.fm profile).

As you can see, my music choices are limited. Three genres. Sometimes I break out and go crazy and listen to something like Death Cab for Cutie or OK Go. But you can tell that I don't branch out often. Why? I used to think this was just me. I was just not a Music Person. I was totally square when it came to listening to music. I could listen to the same song over and over and over. But since starting to read a lot of D/deaf blogs, I've found my experience is not that unique.

I like music that I know. I have to know the lyrics, for one thing. I like to know what is coming. When listening to a new song, my brain is working overtime. I'm trying to figure out the instruments (and failing horribly). I'm trying to figure out the singer's gender (and usually failing horribly, do you know how many singers I at first think are female?). I'm trying to puzzle out the lyrics and the "story" of the song. (Like the Diva, I HAVE to have lyrics. I won't enjoy the song if I don't.) And if I'm watching a music video, being an extremely visual person, I'm going to fail at all of that. All I'm going to see are the pretty pictures. This is especially bad with the incredibly cool OK Go music videos (link may start a video automatically). I have no idea what any of their songs are about. From what I can tell with other people they are able to simply relax and let the music wash over them. Meh.

In the link, L.J. says she does not listen to music in the car over the radio. I do, but only music from my mp3 player, one country station or one classic rock station. Radios typically play the same songs over and over so I don't have an issue, and I enjoy having a little bit of background music. By now I know most of the classic rock songs they are going to play on the radio. And I can put country music in the background easily if I haven't caught up with popular songs.

In other situations, I like listening to last.fm. I linked to my profile up above. I don't listen to it often, but I've filled my radio with artists I like, and usually only hear songs I know. If I don't know a song that pops up, I can look up the lyrics quickly. I really like the fire.fm extension for the Firefox browser, which allows me to play my last.fm radio without having the site open.

It takes a lot to get me to try a new artist on my own. If someone else wants to show me somebody, sure. Just know that unless there's a music video or lyrics to go with it, I'll probably get restless after a minute or two of the song. I like to approach music on my own.  I read the lyrics and then watch the music video (especially if I can see the singer(s)' lips). And if I like them I'll probably then listen to everything else they've ever done and put maybe three or four songs on my mp3 player. An entire album? Are you crazy?

So that's my approach to music. I would be interested to hear from other peoples' approaches! Am I more crazy than I think I am? :)

2 comments:

  1. it's funny because I feel I come from the complete opposite side yet am on the same page. you know my dad and I think I get a lot of my traits from him, including the need to listen to music all the time. all throughout college and now here at work, I've always got music on. a lot of times it's chill stuff to help me focus with a fun upbeat or favorite song in the mix to break me out of a robotic drone.

    although all I really need is a good beat to fulfill my music fancy, if I come across a song that catches me ear - I do have to dig deeper into it (as in finding lyrics, listening to the instruments, trying to find the message). I think that's what's so great about music - that even those songs that don't seem to have an message or meaning actually do to the person writing them, or else, why would they write them? And it's fun to try & figure it out.

    but at the same time, I feel music is a chance to escape. I guess it'd be like reading a book. you use your imagination to put together the story. I usually, for some reason, put together what I think the music video for every song should be in my head. unless it's Justin Timberlake - then I pretend he's singing to me. :-)

    I don't think you're crazy for listening to one type of music & not being too adventurous when it comes to genres. My approach is kind of the same - I usually stick to a few select cd's to keep me entertained (because I know they will) but every once in a while I'll get bored and go astray. I hate the radio, but lately I've been tuning to it because I feel like I need something new & different. and since MTV doesn't play music videos anymore, it's my only way to get a taste of what's out there right now & what's popular (or not so popular). and if that doesn't help me then I'll go to Best Buy and buy 2 or 3 random cd's (that are $9.99 or lower) and see how that goes. I've done that in the past & I've discovered some of my favorite artists that way. I think life would be too boring without guitar riffs and drum beats and beautiful violins and soothing voices and blaring trumpets and touching lyrics. it's like looking into a different life or situation or sometimes it's like looking into you're own life, but in a catchier tune. I have a lot of music & I can find a time for each album/artist I have. it's great.

    ha - sorry for rambling.

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  2. I mostly listen to Broadway, classical, pop-country, and soft-rock. But I never know the words unless I look them up. Even then it's hard because I can't remember the words all the time! I end up making up my own lyrics without realizing it, which cracks people up. I pretty much listen to the same stuff over and over and with the exception of the Glee soundtrack have no idea when I last added to my iPod.

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