Wise words from an amazing man, a percussionist with the Grateful Dead who travels around the world collecting indigenous music. I was lucky enough to meet Mickey Hart very briefly once. This quote is so meaningful to me. I have always tried to fill my life with sound - not necessarily music, but always some kind of sound, whether it's the sound of the wind in the maple tree outside my window as I write this post, or the sound of the birds. The last few days and nights, I've been aware of the beautiful sounds that the rain makes. When my daughter was 5 years old, we lived in Tillamook County on the coast of Oregon in a mobile home for a while. She liked to put various pots and pans or plastic bowls upside down in the yard outside her bedroom window so that she could listen to the symphony of sounds that the rain made. She even drew a picture of it with a caption about liking the rain because it makes music that, sadly, has been lost along the way. But, I can still see it in my mind, and I think of it everytime I listen to the rain.
Sound is so important. I often have insomnia. It's so frustrating to lay in bed, knowing that I have to wake early, wishing that I could just fall alsleep, and getting more and more stressed the more I think about it which doesn't help me fall asleep. I sometimes get up and read for a while then try again, but lately I've been remembering a tip that my former partner gave me. He told me to just listen intently to all the sounds. He said that if we focus on the sounds, it takes our minds off of other things and relaxes us. When I can remember to do that, it always works - unless I've had a lte cup of coffee. Then, all bets are off. :-)
Because I'm a songwriter, I often don't have music playing at home. It interferes with the music in my head. Also, I'm a very active listener. I find it difficult at times to hold a conversation when there's music playing. I have to dive into the music fully. The exception to this is music I am very familiar with. For that reason, I have a couple of go-to CDs for when company is over. They are CDs that are so ingrained in my psyche, I don't have to listen intently. I listen to music when I am looking for new songs to cover or learning something new. When I'm learning a new song, I immerse myself in it totally, listening to it over and over for hours at a time over the course of many days. I listen to it until I can hear it in my sleep. Then, when I go to play it, I already know it. It's just a matter of training my fingers. It drives others crazy, but it works for me. Thank goodness for headphones!
In my job, I am always trying to convince people that everyone can sing regardless of the quality of their voice or even whether or not they can sing in key. It's about the act of sharing the music within your family or with your community. It's the same with sound. All sound is music, at least to my ears. I've had friends whose music was "industrial noise". It was creative and innovative. I loved going to their shows and hearing how they turned "noise" what some might think of as cacaphony, into music. It wasn't for everyone, but I admired it. I encourage you to think about that the next time you are feeling bothered by some ambiant noise around you. Maybe you can find the music in it.