Monday, March 06, 2006
For many years, I surrounded myself with music. It was an active and constant part of my life. I had the radio on in my car, and a CD plaing in my bedroom, and my mother and I both carried little portable radios around the house with us as we walked. I had particular CDs that I used for studying, and others that I used for relaxation, and when I wasn't listening to music, I was making it. I hummed myself to sleep at night, and sang as I went about my more routine daily activities. I even caught myself humming during my matric English final. I sang constantly, and still do. I have, however, become much more sensitive to environmental sound in recent years, and can no longer tolerate constant background music. I struggle to study with music or the television on, something that was never a difficulty when I was in school, and I cannot concentrate on conversation if there is music in the background. Part of it is related to a creeping intollerance of loud volumes (I listen to the radio and television on a much lower volume than do my family), and part of it is that I am now so used to analysing the music I hear, and its socio-cultural significance, that I can no longer tune it out. I no it is a common problem for other students of music, and I wonder what it says about out careers. Are we still capable of understanding music in its real-world uses when we can no longer use it in these ways?