I’m posting an article I previously wrote for one of my other blogs, Whole Music Experience. Since 2005 when I came up with the idea for a music diary I have been preaching to the choir, metaphorically speaking. I believe that this is a healthy practice for all people, not just musicians or sound healers.
After years of feeling affects of different types of music listened to in different settings, I came up with the concept of tracking responses to music via a journal. The benefits of keeping a music journal include, developing music consciousness (how music affects your mind, body, and spirit), exploring musical genres you wouldn’t otherwise, and a journey into sound healing.
This exercise is more challenging for people with a short attention span or who live busier lifestyle. But the physical act of keeping a journal divided into columns with the headings Type of Music, Artist, time of day, emotional effects, and physical effects does the job. You don’t need to run out and buy a fancy leather bound journal, a cheap spiral notebook will do the job just as well. So how do you get started?
First you purchase the journal and create the columns. You can even keep an online journal using Access or Excel, if you spend more time in the typing mode. Then you need to carve out at least two music listening sessions each day where you listen to a specific time of music, and track your physical and emotional responses. Note the time of day makes a difference and so does the mood that you’re in when you start the journal process.
For instance, I had a conversation with a music store owner who mentioned that he felt exhausted one day when he returned home. His wife was listening to Cuban music at the time which irritated the nerves of the store owner. It’s not that he didn’t appreciate Cuban music, but it’s hardly the music you want to hear at the end of a long day when you just want to take a nap. I know I’ve been there myself, the wrong music at the wrong time. But that same music would prove useful during times when you need an extra boost of energy. You need to listen to your body when choosing music. Obviously this man is aware of how music affects him and has made conscious choices. He doesn’t need to keep a music journal.
People involved with music or sound healing are often conscious of how music affects them. These lovely folks still take my workshops and I learn just as much from them as they do from me. You can also keep a music journal (a small one in your bag or purse) to take notes for how ambient sounds and music you hear throughout your day affect you.
An example of this, one day I felt exhausted and I needed to drag myself to Best Buy. Once I arrived at the store, I felt overwhelmed with rock music playing over the store system, television sets and stereos blaring throughout the store, etc…I thought I was going to experience a meltdown. And you would think that going to an Aveda beauty school would provide a relaxing experience with sounds of nature and soothing music drifting through the background. Not! I once went to he Aveda school in Seattle where I was greeted by abrasive rock music which I sat through for the entire process of getting my hair cut. Not only that I was situated near a wall that shook because of the washers and dryers on the other side. You bet I took notes for how this sound experience affected me physically and emotionally.
I’ll give you one last example of how the journal works. You go to a bank and a piece by Ravel plays quietly in the background creating a relaxing atmosphere. You wait in line, but you don’t mind so much because the environment feels relaxing. You take note of your emotional and physical responses to the music, and any changes it brought to your mood. Later, you go to the library or a music shop and you check out a CD of Ravel. You add this to your collection.
Once you have kept the music journal for several months, you will have an idea of the music that enhances your well being and music that you need to toss out. We are all different so what works for one person won’t for another. Keeping a journal helps you to find what works for you as a unique individual. I urge you to try keeping a music journal and then get back to me in a few months. Let me know how it went.