“Music is a double edged sword,” said Shakespeare. “It hath power to do harm or good….”
I’m writing this as I listen to some music specifically composed to stimulate maximum productivity, and I’m listening on my IPOD. It makes the music so much fun to hear…like being in the middle of the musicians. (I used to play flute in a symphony orchestra – now that’s a high!) If I was listening to anything else it would have my total focus, but this music is assisting me to be creative, I hope!
I can’t hear anything else….the phone, my cat crying for me to get off its tail, my husband asking if I want some tea. I am in my own world. If I wasn’t writing this and only listening, I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone.
So Shakespeare, here’s what we have discovered may happen when we use IPODs (or any MP3 player):
~there is a potential for hearing loss if you listen through earbuds with the volume cranked up. No problem you might say, we can ask people around us to talk louder and maybe someday invest in a hearing aid.
~you don’t have to be social. I was riding the subway in Boston last year. People were in their own worlds talking on cell phones or into their headphones and earbuds. (For those of us that find people talking on cell phones in close public places to be annoying, there is a device that can disable the phones within a small radius!) Even when I got off the train and walked around, people were doing the same thing. No eye contact with one another, no kindly smiles to one another, no passing comments at the corner.
~you can store an amazing amount of data on one of these things! I don’t have to travel with a suitcase of CDs to demonstrate music in my Music Medicine classes and trainings. Never mind that I do have to travel with a compatible stereo system to play it on so participants can hear the selections.
~listening with headphones/earbuds can be a distraction while doing some other task that needs your full attention, like driving. What ambulance? I was going how fast? (as I listened to my favorite hip hop tune).
~more people are listening to music – YEY! There is so much music available these days and you can now take it with you wherever you go. More people are discovering that there is music that makes you feel good. Maybe this will help replace Prozac. By the way, there are music and frequencies specifically composed to do this, and lots more.
~people are exercising less efficiently because they get distracted by the music and either slow down their routine or stop. OR, they are using music that does not match their own exercise rhythm or tempo. Research within the field of physical therapy shows that if you listen to music that matches the beat of what you are doing and you enjoy it, you will exercise longer, and increase your productivity. The aerobics group really has made good use of this, except maybe the ones who use classical music put to a different beat. Good grief. That’s like taking fine wine and adding seltzer or 7-UP.
~you can take it anywhere! Have you seen the little 1 inch square IPODs that you clip to your lapel (do clothes still have lapels?); it holds something like 294 songs. This is just mind boggling to me. However, think of all the ways you can positively use this: gym, jogging, belly jiggling, studying in the library (use the RIGHT music, Einstein), bathtub, hot tub, wash tub, sick bed, hospital (clip it to the pillow speaker strip!) eating, sleeping, singing, raking, mowing, meditating, massage (you listen to your music, your therapist listens to hers), OR, ER, …….
~you don’t have to share a listening experience, i.e., you don’t have to hear your teenagers’ music, or they yours. You don’t have to talk about your reaction to a piece of music because no one else heard it, unless, of course you have the speaker system.
~ I have just learned that a specialist researcher in subtle energies and sound, Freddy Silva, has stated that binaural CDs will play beautifully in MP3 players, BUT the binaural effects will most likely be lost. This is due to the file compression technology that eliminates many of the frequencies. Even though our ears cannot tell the difference, our bodies won’t receive the full effect of the binaurals. This is most likely true for any of the technologies that use embedded frequencies. With that being said, I have found that when you import the programs as a WAV or AIF file, you will keep the full effect of the binaurals and frequency CDs.
~With your MP3 player you don’t have to listen to your body, mind, emotions, or spirit. “Just keep my buds plugged in, my pod turned on, and my tunes a playin’.”
As my husband has said: When there is constant music, you can’t hear yourself.
So, is IPOD a 4 Letter Word: I think Shakespeare had it right 400 years ago:
it is both HARM and GOOD.
To learn more about healthy usage of music, check out my book: Take Two CDs and Call Me in the Morning.