5 Ways Music Can Change Your Life

Now more than ever we are surrounded by (some might say bombarded with) music every day. Rather than just letting it wash over you or soak your brain, how can you take all this wonderful music that is available and put it to good use? Here are 5 ways that music can better your life.

1. Play it
There is great satisfaction in playing a musical instrument. Whether you take it to virtuoso level, or just want to play to amuse your kids, (or annoy your parents) ANYONE can learn to play something! Want to learn to play guitar? A site like TrueFire has over 20,000 videos to teach you! You can stream them, download to your desktop, or play on your mobile device, allowing you to learn anywhere. YouTube is a great source for learning the basics of many instruments whether it is the Native American Flute, or just the good old Piano. Also buying an instrument is no longer a matter of having to find the right local shop that has it, but rather it can easily be delivered to your front door from Guitar Center.

2. Create it
Once you learn to play that instrument, it’s time to write some songs! There is no better way to express yourself than to put your creative hat on and put together your own tunes. Even if you decided not to learn an instrument you can still get in on the creative aspect of music with software like Sony Acid and apps for your phone like Figure that allow you to put loops and chord changes together without knowing anything about how to actually play. Even if you just throw down some beats and plunk out a simple melody you will be amazed at how liberating and therapeutic it is to send some of your own vibrations out into the Universe. We are not talking Beethoven’s 5th here – just some fun. As Gusteau said in Ratatouille – “Anyone can Cook”, likewise thanks to technology “Anyone can Jam”.

3. Move to it
There are two levels of engaging with music. Either you passively listen to it, or you actively interact with it. Interacting can come in many ways. You can dance to it, you can play it and groove while playing, you can listen while working out or running where you pace yourself to it, you can worship to it at church, you can sing along while riding in the car with friends, I do freestyle routines with my disc dogs to music. While there are times when just chillin’ out in your favorite chair as you listen to tunes is a great thing to do, I believe music is often enjoyed on a much deeper level when you interact with it. Don’t be afraid to partake in any of the above, many people refrain from letting themselves get into the music because they are concerned with what other people might think of them or they are afraid they won’t have rhythm and look foolish. Nonsense!! Never let someone else’s possible opinion stop you from being you! As the saying goes “Dance like nobody’s watching”. Amen.

4. Seek it
Finding new music is easier than ever thanks to our connected society. There are websites dedicated to exposing you to new music from unknown artists like Reverbnation or The Music Ninja. There are streaming sites that will suggest bands based on what you tell them you like to listen to like Pandora. If you want purchasing suggestions, iTunes or Amazon will give you more than you can digest. Even YouTube is a great source of finding new music and new artists. So don’t just sit around and wait for someone to tell you what you should listen to (although asking friends to recommend some new tunes is helpful as well) but go forth and actively search it out.

5. Share it
The greatest gifts are the ones you give away. That is certainly true for music. Since music can often move people on a deep soulful level, it really is a powerful gift. Take all those new bands that you have discovered and share them with friends by sending a link to their website. Spreading the word about new cool music to friends also has the added benefit of promoting the band or artists, which is a feel great, good deed in itself. Helping spread good art makes a serious deposit in your altruistic bank account of Karma!

So whether you play it or listen to it, engaging with all the music the world has to offer will definitely enrich your life! What are some ways YOU use music to brighten your day?

  • Nate Rogers

    I was a student of Jeff’s for years. He’s a great teacher,
    counselor, and friend. I’ll never forget the time and effort he invested in me.
    He will always be a welcome component of my life.

    That said, what is music to me?

    Honesty: Music is honesty.

    Listen to another’s music collection, or to the music they make, and it may be more clear who they are, and who they want to be.

    For example, one of our most popular genres, Rap – when created
    by those who have an understanding of the side of America that’s not taught in
    history books – reflects the tone created by the drug war, government-led covert
    social engineering via the drug war along with the justice and penal systems, and the divisions within the communities targeted which are created by these Machiavellian practices. It may not say as much in the lyrics of a single rap song. However, such a cumulative message may be derived by the listener observing multiple groups over years, and seeking something beyond a
    plastic, TV reality.

    Pop reflects another group altogether. The glamour and glitz catch gazes as do bug-zapping lights to nighttime moths. Such music creates paradigms within the minds of children which focus their attentions on what the artists and writers of such music identify with most: Money and fame.

    Rock and roll, and metal, target another demographic, as do country and classical.

    So, what is music to me? Music is what helps me know who I’m identifying with and why. My personal identity has changed a handful of times over the years, and music has always served as an accurate barometer of that change.

    Music helps me identify with myself and others. Thus, for me, music has been a critical component in teaching me how to be honest with the one with whom I should be most truthful: Myself.

    I never generated the money I’d hoped to earn with music. I wasn’t even able to sustain an original music group. That failure still stings years later. However, I honestly learned that music is far different than the music business – which should really be re-titled “business music.”

    No matter how much talent you have, you are guaranteed nothing from music – other than time and chance. Like it or not, there’s not a thing more honest than that.

    So if you are looking for honesty, look no further than music – it will make you wise if you let it. But remember what it says in Ecclesiastes: “The hearts of the wise are in the house of
    weeping; but the hearts of the foolish are in the house of joy.”

    I would rather be wise than foolish – but it comes with a price. Music taught me that brutally honest lesson.

  • I would say ‘Dance (or sing) like nobody’s watching and make sure you are doing it when nobody is watching. 🙂 Whether you are sitting at the coffee table banging out the drum parts to Iron Butterfly’s In a Gadda da Vida http://youtu.be/UIVe-rZBcm4 or cranking Al Jarreau’s ‘Could You Believe’ http://youtu.be/3WwrP8GgUFo and singing as loudly as your stereo can cover your voice up you are engaging and feeling the music in a way that leaves you happy and full of the music. On another note I had no idea that you could put videos in Disqus.

  • Dick Nicolay

    Share it! The one component I have with my closest long term friends, besides time, is music. It’s been incredibly rewarding to have shared an artist or song that touched me, then years later have that friend tell me that that artist has touched them as well. The other very rewarding experience has been as my three kids grew up, turns out the music I “shared” (force fed?) with them is now the basis for their interests in music.

    Oh, and thanks Jeff for renewing my interst in music, starting about 10 years ago and introducing me to so many artists, (your music included) that rejuvenated those long held chorus’ of my fiber and being!

  • barb500

    Although I haven’t played an instrument since flutophone in the 4th grade, it seems music has always been an important part of my life. My dad loved to listen to classical music, but enjoyed all genres…still have the reel to reel tapes he used to play on the Hi Fi in our den. I’m lucky to have two children who play instruments, guitar for my son (as you know) and clarinet for my daughter. What a gift it is to watch and listen to them perform!! Any chance I get to watch musicians perform live, it’s a great day! Tomorrow I get to see Amos Lee, who I’ve admired for several years. I can’t wait!! Maybe I will brave enough to pick up an instrument and try to play….not so sure about that but I know it will always accompany me when I paint. I get lost in thought and truly makes a difference in my work and how I approach a project.