We closed up shop and I drove the 30 minutes back to Venice. As I pulled up to a four-way stop close to my house, my best friend and roommate pulled up to the intersection at the same exact time. We sat there, in the intersection, in our own cars, staring at each other in disbelief for many, many long moments. A song from Radiohead’s Kid A album was playing, all somber and ethereal, expansive and hypnotic. It matched my mood perfectly. Now, almost 20 years later, whenever I hear that song I am instantly transported to that intersection, staring at my friend - him in his old, white Toyota pickup, and me in my mulberry VW GTI.
That car. My beloved lowered GTI with black leather interior, tinted windows, dual tip exhaust, and premium, full surround sound with a subwoofer that could rattle the windows. That car took me on many countless journeys to raves, house parties, clubs, festivals, and concerts. That car was a music machine. When you sat in that car, it was like you were wrapped in a musical cocoon and you could elevate to any genre.
Have you ever noticed that music can do that? Can change your mood in an instant? That's because music has a vibrational energy that can elevate you to your highest high and make the non-dancer bust a move - just as easily as it can transport you to some of your saddest memories or put you in the most calm state of mind.
I’ve been working with my daughter to develop a set of tools that she can call on when she is stressed or overwhelmed or wants to shift her attitude. On her list are things like take a shower, read, pet the dogs, etc. But do you know what is number one on her list? Music. Her favorite songs by The Offspring, Queens of the Stone Age, Led Zeppelin and Weezer. (Yup, I’m definitely a proud mom!) She listens to them in headphones and within minutes, the high energy music helps her become a happier person. Why? Because she has tapped into the vibrations that help raise her to another level. Because she shifts her mood and perspective to match the frequency of the music she is listening too. Its like she can’t be in a bad mood after she hears her songs.
The point is…music heals. Straight up.
This will depend on what kind of music listener you are so just jump in where it makes sense to you:
1.) Start to pay attention how music makes you feel.
2.) And then, more specifically, to the type music that impacts your mood. What genre helps you relax? What genre gets you pumped?
3.) Find a power song for 2019. This song will be there to help you kick it into gear, motivate you, lift your spirits and reconnect you to your energy. Like an anthem, it makes you stomp your feet and feel invincible. Name it as your power song.
4.) Listen to this song when you are feeling blah, stuck in a rut, unmotivated, down in the dumps, sorry for yourself, or just generally lazy. Match your vibration to it and allow yourself to dream big!
In one of my first years teaching, a fight broke out outside my classroom between two best friends. Do you know what they were fighting about? Music. One of them loved a band that the other hated. Somehow that led to punching. I swore in that moment that I would be the DJ and use every opportunity to build empathy and develop cultural competency via my speakers. During silent reading, we listened to Indian flute music, classical, new agey-type stuff. During transitions, it was funk, salsa, hip hop, soul, rock n roll. During lunch and after school, they could plug in their own devices and be the turntables. I used music to cue them up for a movement, transition between activities, foster cognitive shifts, develop community, and, well, to just have fun. Music bonded us. It also made us laugh, have fun, mellow out, relax, stay focused, and be connected. What can you do to turn up the tunes in your classroom?
Honestly, game changers for me in this hack are simple: music and anything that plays it. My speakers, my Technics 1200 turntable, my amazing record collection, my ancient iPod, and the thousands of songs in my iTunes.
Another great resource here is my friends and the people around me. I love hearing what they love to hear. It might not be my jam, but it helps me understand them better, and that’s always a win in my eyes.