I’ve had a number of readers ask me what happened with the 7 Days of no music. Well here’s a short update.
The original idea was to explore a few things, some of which I didn’t express in the original post:
Find new ways of coping with the build up of anxiety. - For me the anxiety process starts physically (due to some serious chronic health issues I’ll discuss in another post maybe). The rush, chest pain, cold sweats, trembling etc… makes it difficult for me to keep my mind from wandering to doomsday scenarios. I often drown this out with loud progressive metal.
Learn to enjoy music on a less technical level. - When I really pay attention to music, I’m trying to break down the technical processes and performance mechanics used to create it. I rarely, if ever, think about the song on a conceptual level. I believe this is the result of my using music as a way over-riding racing thoughts. There is no better way to drown out racing thoughts than to overwhelm them with intriguing technical musings.
Reduce stress level caused by ambient noise. - I live in a notoriously hot and wet place. Perhaps you think, “Just turn on your aircon you idiot!”, but alas… no. The chronic illness I mentioned before makes it difficult for me to endure temperatures below ~77°f/25°c. Instead when there’s no one else around I keep the house at around 85°f/25°c and I run fans. I hate the sound of fans or the sound of wooshing air (a bit ironic eh?). It drives me crazy and for whatever reason it constantly stresses me out. If there’s a fan on, I drown it out with music.
On this same note, I also get startled by the smallest noises. I rarely have a physical jump reaction to even the most egregious startling situations, but I do get an adrenaline rush even over the tiniest things. It happens so frequently that I’ve learned to suppress the physical ‘jump’, but the unpleasant rush still happens. How do I deal with this? Music.
Pay attention to involuntary sources of music. - We’re surrounded by music. In the stores, on the street, at the park(!), at home, in television shows, youtube videos, etc… Many of us don’t notice these sources of music, and the few times that we do; we don’t acknowledge it beyond its existence. I hoped to be able to spend more mental effort noticing and maybe enjoying these transient aural artworks.
Build up my own musical ideas. - It is difficult to develop a stash of your own musical ideas, concepts and technical feats when you are inundated with that of other’s doing. I thought that if I reduced the amount of time that I am forcibly exposing myself to other people’s ideas, then I would begin to fill my own mind with some novel or innovative ideas of my own.
Silence. - I hate silence, because it doesn’t exist. The creak of the floors, the tick of the clock, the chip of the birds, the woosh of the wind, the whizzing cars, the omnipresent whirring circular saws, the spouse and her incessant disney music, my own nervous ticks, the postman (ugh), the microwave, sizzling pans, email dings, and so many more things. The hope was that perhaps I would notice a slight tolerance developing to these everpresent silence-silencing noises.
Re-enter the musical world and find something new. - This was supposed to be the re-entrance phase. I opened up iTunes and picked some tracks that I would never listen to otherwise and tried to enjoy them. The thought was that by no longer immersing myself in specific genres of music, maybe I could tolerate some new styles of music.
Did any of it work?
No. It was a failure on every front.
I’ve spent time thinking about it. Did I try to do too much? Did I not do it long enough? Did I eliminate the wrong things? Did I have the wrong attitude? Did I miss a day? I don’t think so.
Pretty simply, I think I need music. It’s become more than an enjoyment for me or a technical curiosity. It’s a coping mechanism.
Some day I may cover the 2 major medical issues I deal with, and this post may make more sense, but for now I’ll leave you with what I’ve written.