The year is 1980, I am living with my Grandparents on “M” st in Pensacola. Anyone that has ever lived with their Grandparents at 20 years old certainly understands the need for privacy. The front room was mine and my records were my best and closest friends. I spent so many late night hours listening and re listening to my favorite records of the time. I knew them inside and out, every song and every yell from the crowd on a “live” record. At the time I was working in a record store called the “Record Bar”. It was the musical education of a lifetime. My late nights took me through the likes of Michael Franks, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Willie Nelson and Tom Petty ! I played those records over and over. But the point is that I was sitting still when I was listening. Listening is what I was doing, not something else with music in the background. Big difference.
My friendd Walt Wlikins told me one time he and his wife would lay on their bed late at night, lights out and listened to Jackson Browne records. Just being in the moment.
Last night my wife and I sat on our couch for 2 hours, lights off and candles on, listening to our music. We didn’t hop up to change a song and we didn’t talk much. We listened. Every turn of the phrase, every beautiful bass inflection, every piano note. Perhaps music is meant to be listened to in the way we would watch a movie. The music is the entertainment, the focus, not something to have on when we are doing other things. Not that we can’t use it for that but the true and richest experience comes from the slow down, from the total immersion of yourself into each bar of music. Let it wash over you, it is wonderful.
It was one of the best nights we’ve had together in a long time. Just she and I, our music, mine and hers, memories, and the beauty of spending time together with an art form we love so much.
Maybe we have accumulated so much music and that added to our multi tasking lives really makes it harder to enjoy what we have. Last night we listened to twenty or thirty of our favorites out of the ten thousand songs on my ipod. but we listened quietly and found an even deeper connection with each other and the music we were sharing. For me the accumulation came at a price of appreciation, but the small movement of the scales last night was worth every drop. We can’t do this all the time but if and when you can with someone or by yourself I urge you to do so. It can be a very spiritual experience. Happy Listening !