My brain on music

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Anyone whose driven with me knows I have music ADD. I’m going to flip through my Spotify playlists randomly and manically, I’m going to listen to thirty seconds of one song and appear to be enjoying it before changing it to the next. It’s not necessarily true that I can’t find something I like, because it’s my music and I like it all! I’m waiting for, and hoping for, something to stick to me… to make me feel differently than I had a moment before it stuck to me.

And that is why music gets my vote as the coolest thing ever invented.. ever. Because on some days when you feel like you can’t feel, when you’re on autopilot and you don’t remember the last time you felt that tightening in your stomach they call excitement… the right song can make you feel alive again; especially if you sing along, LOUD.

Is music actually making an imprint on us as human beings; Physically, emotionally, mentally?

The answer to that is a resounding YES.

Music is born in and speaks to the most primal part of our brains. We know the beats in songs, the rise and fall of tempo, the expected and unexpected turns a certain song will take because it’s within each and every one of us. The beating of our hearts, the nervous tapping of fingers, breath cycling through our lungs. When trying to calm a crying baby, we bounce him up and down or make humming noises knowing these motions will soothe the baby. Knowing this because it’s what soothes us.

I’ve never felt so bipolar as when I’m listening to music for an extended period of time. In my thirty years on this Earth, I’ve had a lot of experiences. These experiences are all tied to a song or two, and when I hear that song I can be transported back within an instant. Back to my parents house when it was still my parents house and not the house we lived in after my father left. Watching my Dad work on the deck or plant flowers in the yard and listen to Billy Joel. Back to my high school hallways where I held hands with my first boyfriend and DMB played through the headphones we shared. Back to my first pregnancy where I sang Alicia Keyes to my unborn daughter, back to my second pregnancy where my son heard Adele nonstop.

These songs are stepping stones in my life, and have the power to bring me to my knees or lift me above the clouds. Nothing else, no one else, has that power over me. But since music is not perceived as a threat by my welcoming brain, I allow it to happen. My brain sees each chord, each key, each beautiful note as an old friend.

They didn’t have it wrong when the psychological and medical community stated it would be beneficial for young children to listen to music from a very young age. We know now that melody and language are processed in nearly identical brain regions. On top of all the evidence out there, children are naturally drawn to music from birth. Babies love to be sang to, toddlers are entranced by watching people sing or play instruments. There is something in us all that is innately drawn to music.

These artists have our number, though. There’s a little feeling of being manipulated when you listen to a song and feel that it’s being sung about you. How does John Legend know so much about my past relationship? Is my ex helping him right his songs?!

Nope. Even though you feel the lyrics are speaking directly to you, they are directed at the human experience. The inevitable heartbreaks and happinesses we all go through.

For me, Deep Inside of You by Third Eye Blind gets me every time. I feel like crying and I feel like being loved and I feel like having someone kiss me. I don’t think of anyone in particular, I just feel like the writer of the song intensely knew something about the human experience and every time I hear it I FEEL. I love to feel. Even if it’s crushed.

So play on. Flip through songs until you find one that sticks to you.

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