Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Practice--Exploring Your Daily Soundscape

Photo: By Patricia Herlevi

I ask myself what are the chances that I will meet a didgeridoo player, enjoy exposure to crystal singing bowls at a spiritual shop, and encounter someone playing electric guitar on the sidewalk in one afternoon? Yet, one day last week, the sound universe revealed its diversity.  Along with that, I tracked my emotional and physical responses to the diverse encounters.  While I found the frequencies of the singing bowl and the didgeridoo relaxing and uplifting, the electric guitar (performing hard rock) did not appeal to my senses, and in fact, I experienced a fight or flight response.  I chose the flight.

On another day, the sun came out and as I walked through a quaint neighborhood, I heard guitar blues coming over someone speakers, the music poured onto the street and some how, this felt like the right music for the right time and environment.  I bring these scenarios up because the majority of humans walk by musical sounds everyday and experience music in the background with no consciousness or awareness of the effects of this music on their bodies.  They don't realize that music resonates with their cells and rhythms entrain them, sometimes beyond their conscious or in this case, unconscious will.

The person walks away with a migraine and nausea after visiting a large box store with music blaring through the sound system or sits through a movie with the soundtrack blasting out of the theater speakers, without making a connection.  Yet, when I give unsolicited observations and advice about music awareness, people shut their ears at that point.  They're not ready yet to protect their nervous system, brain, and ears for future use.  I hope this changes in the near future.

However, for advance students in music awareness, I encourage you to spend a day observing sounds and music you encounter.  How do these sounds/music affect your overall well being? Do you make a connection between a headache and exposure to sound or do you make a connection between sudden euphoria after exposure to music.  I'm not even talking intentional music, but incidental music that visits you throughout your day.  Pay close attention to these sounds, your exposure to the sounds, and your responses.  Then later, explore those sounds again, if possible, and see if you have the same responses.

Then ask yourself, why are you more vulnerable to sounds on some days, and not others? Does meditation help you clear your musical palette? What are the sounds in your daily environment? What would you like to filter out and what would you like to keep?

By doing this challenging exercise, you develop heightened awareness not only to sound, but to other sensory.  You learn more about your body, your likes and dislikes (since some of us allow others to decide our favorite music for us.  Heard of peer pressure?), and what your body enjoys.  Try this and get back to me with your results.  Leave a comment.

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