Mental Detox

There are few things in life that have the power to captivate, invigorate and set the mind at utter ease simutaneously? That’s legal, at least.  One of the few sources is the unwavering effects of music on our minds. Music helps me unplug from life. But not just any music. Unlike some people, the radio is the last place I find I this kind of respite, I need at the time - more currently than ever. Sorry, but listening to “Call Me Maybe” or Foster the People just doesn’t do it for me lately. Infact, some music makes me, as my Dad would say, “want to gently rip someones face off” more than actually unwind.  There are times when my brain needs a clean slate from all the nonsensical, love-stricken whining that seems to always be in demand. I need something more than to unplug, something maybe with a little more life-force. My mind needs to go on a detox.

While I love a variety of music, I do tend to be a bit picky about what I listen to. (Then again I tend to be a bit picky about a few other things like movies, clothes, food, coffee… we’ll just stop there.) Like many of my interests, I find myself caught in seasons of particularly enjoying or finding comfort in certain things. For some reason when Fall arrive an increase of jazz music is all I want. Harry Connick Jr, Diana Krall, Frank Sinatra, and the dynamic duo, Ella and Louise Armstrong do it for me when the leaves start falling (or should be at least.) Certain jazz albums not only mark the season for me, but mark moments of mental escapes, a mental “vacation from my problems,” if you will. But it wasn’t until I pulled up a piece on Spotify recently, and began listening to just the first moments that I remembered the power of particular of this genre.

I had forgotten the power of Classical music. The rejuvenating life it can carry. Instrumental music often gets the wrap for being boring, bland or tight-laced, but if that’s all you hear I think you’re a little deaf to whats really going on. Then again, I am the odd ball whose been in love with instrumental (aka - songs without words) ever since the my Dad bought me my first soundtrack: James Horner’s “Glory,” a score theme I had incesantly plucking out on the piano after first watching the epic war film. Since then it’s been a twenty-something love affair with instrumental music (more often in the form of scores.) So maybe I’m just a bias Music Major geek who will always relish the opportunity to listen to a Cello soloist in a large, empty room. That, or something truly transcendent takes place in certain instrumental pieces that doesn’t occur in other forms of music. 

It was Yo-Yo Ma’s version of Bach’s Cello Suite no. 1 that has been my recent rediscovery. I’m not sure if it’s the timeless quality of the piece or the tones and pitches that seem to arrest my mind. Whatever it is, it’s something I can’t really find words for. Classical music, while often hailed for it’s power of helping one experience a more successful time of study, improving one’s memory and focus, I would say also carries the ability to bring new life. Very much in the way a detox rids the body of toxins and restores, even heals the body in the process, classical and instrumental music have the capacity, for me at least, to detox the mind. But why do most of us not take the time to listen to it? Is it that a piece carries you without any words or lyrics is boring or unnerving? Is the often untraceable route of a suite unpleasant to our formulated-inclined ears or does following a lengthy unresolved bars of music feel like too many questions to handle in one song? Many struggle to listen to classical music, that or many struggle to surrender to it. Instrumental music isn’t in high demand these days, but after recalling a taste of Bach, my body is already craving more.