Listening to the soul of music

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Music has become one of the common building blocks of our daily lives. Just about everybody listens to music, and has a decided preference as to which type. Whether soft or loud, slow or fast, understandable or complete gibberish, we all prefer one type of music or another.

Personally, I prefer the soft and slow rock songs. Yes, there is such a thing. But what do we say about the music we listen to? "It's nice." "It's got a good beat." "It gets my blood flowing."

Here's a comment that you probably don't think of: "It makes me think."

A few years ago, I didn't really care about much of anything anybody else had to say. However, just last year, I found out there is a difference between hearing the music and actually listening to it. When someone hears music, it's just sound coming from speakers or headphones. But when somebody listens to music, they will find a deeper meaning to the song. Notice how I said that people will find a deeper meaning? There's no possibility; there is certainty.

For example, I listened to a band called Godsmack, namely their song called "Spiral." Before I opened my ears to listen, I just heard the sound, "I will fly away again ..." But when I listened to what the song had to say -- to the song's "soul," if you will -- I found something I didn't expect: the meaning. I discovered that "I will fly away again" is referring to the commonly used phrase "forgive and forget."

Of course, I didn't get all of that from just that fragment of the song. I had to listen to the whole thing to figure that out. After listening to several other songs, I realized that many other songs -- not all, but many -- had various other important lessons for us to learn.

So this is my challenge to you. Listen to the various songs in your collection instead of just hearing their sound. Before you do this, however, make sure you can understand the words. You can't get much from hearing run-on words and scrambled nonsense. Search for that deeper meaning, that soul, within all of the seemingly thrown-together notes and phrases.

I won't guarantee success the first time you sit down and listen, but eventually, your ears will be opened to hear the true meaning of music. When that happens, you will know why I say that music makes me think.

Mark Green is a student at Jackson High School.

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