I want you to try something. Do this. For real. Don't go "I just want to see where he's going with this" and not do it. Open up iTunes, Spotify, Windows Media Player, YouTube, a record player - whatever you have. Find a track that you always liked. Maybe a Top 40. Maybe a symphony. Something you haven't heard too much. (if you can't think of anything, this quartet is OK) Now, close all the other windows (including this one). Close your eyes and listen. JUST listen and let your mind wander to memories, hopes, hypothetical images, cadential I64 chords, whatever you want. Come back here when you're done.


I'm waiting. You better have actually listened to this thing, I'm counting on you.


Now we can get to it.

Did your other senses feel neglected? Your ears sure felt special.

I feel like we take so many experiences for granted and we miss out on a lot. I'm not talking about swimming with dolphins - I'm talking about the most rudimentary sensory inputs. We hear, taste, smell and touch so many things but so much of our behavior is automated. Maybe this is why we over-eat. We think about so many other things while we're eating, we don't even realize it's happening. Consciously eating one lone raisin is a more potent experience than scarfing down whole can of Pringles while focusing on something else.

If you're the typical internerd, you turn on some track in your iTunes and then you open up a web browser. If the music stops, it might be ten or twenty minutes before you even acknowledge the silence. Your focus is somewhere else and your brain is trained to ignore the sound.

This is why good music has become obsolete in some sense. In the classical heyday, people used to trek miles (either on foot or by horse) to hear a performance. That was your evening gone, right there, to hear a new Schubert quartet. That might've been your only hearing of that quartet. Better remember it.

Now we put our earbuds in our ears, hit the play button and go do something else. A lot of music produced today is perfectly adequate for this purpose. Background music has its uses. But let's not forget the value of music that stands on its own two feet.