As the noises from the street died away and the world around me fell asleep, I would lay in bed, often past my bedtime, with one or both earbuds, listening to good music with eyes closed.
Music has been a big part of my life since the time I was a middle schooler. It was around the age of 12 that I discovered the joys of listening to good music. Back then, I used portable FM radios. Eventually, I dug up my dad’s old Philips Walkman cassette player and recorded music from radio and TV onto blank cassettes. Some truly wonderful music I enjoy to this day, was something I discovered way back then. These methods were crude and had many issues like cassettes getting stuck or torn, difficulty in finding the best radio reception and AA batteries dying every few weeks.
Then dawned a new age and suddenly my friends and I were downloading songs on dial-up internet. It often took about half an hour for one or two songs. But once you had them, they were in your collection. Much better quality, no fiddling with cassettes, and easy for sharing with friends. A few friends had procured iPods and mp3 players while I stuck to my Walkman. Heck, I even recorded a few mp3s onto cassettes!
Later in high school, my dad gifted me an mp3 player from Transcend that held 2GB storage. I looked up top ten lists online and the billboard charts for songs to download onto my device. That little guy went with me everywhere, even after I got a basic text and call cellphone. Needless to say, I still listened to it at night.
Today, with all the streaming services available that can play any song ever composed, with expertly made playlists and cheap or even free plans, it should be a truly wonderful time for music lovers, right? Well, Yes and No. With the advantages, the internet’s disadvantages are more enticing. Many of my friends completely stopped listening to music. Heck, I did that too. Choosing instead to look at Facebook and YouTube.
A few years ago, I started listening to music regularly with streaming apps, but just as background noise – while walking, running, traveling somewhere, working out, while doing chores and so on. Just something in the background to replace silence and make boring tasks less boring. It was only a few months ago during this lock down that I decided to fully get back into it and I must say, I have fallen in love with music, again!
It all started when I decided to have a standalone device just for music. This may seem stupid (our smartphones can do pretty much everything, why not just listen on it?) but hear me out. Although that may work for you, it didn’t for me. Using one device for everything means I’m looking at my phone as a multipurpose knife with an assortment of tools, always ready to do anything. I just wanted my device to do one thing and cut out everything else.
I dug up my old Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It was resting in my drawer, replaced by my newer Blackberry Keyone because it had gotten too slow, the battery drained too fast and most importantly, calls didn’t work well on it. But it was perfect for streaming music, so it became my Android iPod! I loaded it up with music apps, podcast apps and language lessons. Just audio, nothing else. It was so good! It worked with my good quality headphones (Samson) and with average bluetooth headphones too. It was all going so well until a couple days ago it just died. Wouldn’t turn on, wouldn’t even charge. I guess it was time for it to rest after more than 5 years of use. Om Shanti.
Then I found my dad’s old Moto G5S+ and since no one was using it much, I decided to make it my new Android iPod. Loading up the same apps and using it, I was blown away by how much better than the Note it is. Shouldn’t be a surprise since it is so much newer : faster processor, newer android version, better screen and that peek display which shows me which song is playing before turning on the screen. Awesome!
Now I listen to music for an hour or so everyday – both deliberately as well as while doing something else. While working out, taking short walks around the house after a (particularly heavy) meal, sometimes in evenings and before going to bed. I have always enjoyed good upbeat pop and energizing rock but over the years I added to it metal, jazz and country and it’s all been great. I particularly prefer Apple music even after trying out Spotify for a few months.
I would definitely recommend you to try listening to music deliberately, not just as background noise. If you do have an older smartphone lying around, I would recommend you use it as a dedicated music player instead of just using your daily use smartphone. It makes your music listening experience so much better. Just remove everything else from it (social media, browser, video apps, games) so that there remains nothing to distract you from sweet sweet music.
Just sit down and listen to an album or playlist. Close your eyes, lie down and let the music wash over you.