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Tunes

Recently I was reminiscing about a time when I met a person who never listened to music. I remember it well. She said ” I don’t listen to music. It distracts me, I never had tv and I’ve never purchased a cd.” I remember looking at her in horror, as did the other member of our conversation. He replied that he never was without music, carrying a portable digitial music device when walking, listening to cds in the car, and immediately turning on a stereo when entering his room. At the time I enjoyed a slightly altered version of this routine. We were both disgusted that a person would claim to dislike music. We quized her only to find out she truly had no knowledge of pop culture, nor any well known classics that any music listener would posess. At this point I began to feel a strong sense of sadness. I wonder where my life would be if I had no music. As a youngster music provided me a way to feel connected to those older than me. I remember the New Kid’s On the Block buttons my sister owned and how cool I thought they were and I remember the feeling of sheer joy I experienced when I was allowed to attend a concert with her (and my dad…poor dad). Music allowed a sense of celebration, Christmas was never Christmas without the Raffi record on the record player and then later without my favorite Willy Nelson on the tape dec. And in harder times music provided a sense of sanctuary. I never truly connected with music until I discovered the Beatles in the 6th grade. Its no secret that at this point in my life I was basically a giant, new at school, and enormously socially awkward. Prior to now I was used to being the class genius, but after moving to a town of child prodigies, that indentity was already taken. I felt pretty much like a freakshow. But just as I was about to sign up for the circus I discovered Abbey Road. I remember the day well, it was after yet another horrifying day at Bedford Middle School ( I swear I am homeschooling my children so that they are not exposed to other Middle school Children… maybe they can do 5th grade, but that is it! ) I remember glancing at my father’s record player and then shuffling over. Looking at all the records was fun, they were so big and mysterious, they seemed to hold so much history. As “Come Together” began I was hooked. I had never experienced that feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me I was listening to something great. I am not a religious person, never had I felt something as powerful as this in all my sundays in Mass, but it almost seemed a higher spirit was telling me “Heyyy kid, everything is going to be fine”. Music is therapeutic, it helps those that are lonely and confused, it can be used to help people recover from physical ailments. Music allows for some to form a whole identity based on a specific genre. I for one was never willing to sign over the whole of who I am to music, but I do understand its amazing power. The feeling when hearing a song or perhaps a whole album, first of sheer intrigue, then bliss, then the insane jealousy that I myself did not create it, and the then the incredible contentment that I can listen to it on repeat for at least a week. Music makes everything better. Commuting was made bearable this summer by the addition of an ipod. A walk through midtown is no longer hectic for me, but soothing as I listen to Itzhak Perlman or Mozart. A party is no party without blasting tunes. Nothing says “aww remember that night at x location” like the song you were listening to at the time. I wonder where the music-less lost soul is that spurred my meditation on the topic. I hope she was inspired by our reaction to her situation to perhaps purchase a few tunes, maybe just turn on the radio once or twice. But hopefully in some form music has entered her life because I truly cannot imagine a life silenced by the lack of music.

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