Tag: music

Better Late

(Writing from September 22, 2011.)

So I do this thing where I discover new (to me) music in a weird way.

I played guitar and sang in rock bands for 12 years, and spent the last couple of years before I got knocked up playing in a band in Los Angeles with an amazingly talented filmmaker/guitarist/singer/songwriter who also happened to be a really cool, funny, smart human.

He always wanted us to learn new cover songs, and would give me a new CD he’d burned every week, loaded with potential cover songs, plus songs he’d written, songs we needed to learn for band practice, etc. When everybody in a band works 40+ hours a week, it’s hard to get together for practices as often as you need to in order to not suck at your live shows.

So he’d drop them by the grocery store at which I worked, and my managers would tell me, “Hey. Your band-mate brought this CD by for you.” And I would take the latest CD home and ignore it. Or give the songs we were going to play at practice a fast pre-practice skim. I’m a quick study with music, so I managed to get through practices and shows this way.

But of course now I wish I’d really listened to them and applied myself in the way that we all do later in life when we realize we were only doing ourselves a disservice by half-assing through the important things. I feel like a complete dipshit now for not giving the CDs and the band the attention I should have.

Cut to years later: I have a child, I’ve moved to the Midwest, and the only music time I get, aside from occasionally grabbing my guitar and locking myself in the bathroom to bash and sing, is during my exercise walks. So I have an iPod. And headphones, because I can barely say the word “earbuds,” let alone wear them. And I put every CD I have on my iPod, including the ones my band-mate once made for me.

Now, during my walks, I have the curious phenomenon of having these utterly fabulous songs constantly pop up as unknown artists, the songs my band-mate wanted us to potentially cover that I never really listened to, and I fucking love them. And I have no idea who they are because they were loaded onto my iPod from CDs burned by my band-mate. It’s really weird. It keeps happening.

When it happens, I come home and immediately Google some of the lyrics, trying to find the artist. Some of them are a bit obscure. Tonight I got only one hit on my search, and it was just the name of one of the band members. And the only reason it popped up was because the blogger had quoted the one line of the song I put in, even though it isn’t the title. I had to figure out the band (now defunct) and then the song name to find them.

I obsessively listened to this song over and over again for nearly 3 miles tonight, because when I discover a new song, I do that. I play it over and over again and pick it apart and try to hear all the different melody lines and instruments and parts and words and harmonies and try to figure out exactly what is making me love it.

I found the song on YouTube, so I’m sharing it below. Check it out if you feel like hearing a cool song.

“Calling on Columbia Pike” by Speedwell:


Aural Relaxation: Stop the Stress with Music Therapy



Research has proven that music therapy can be an effective anxiety-reliever, making it a commonly utilized treatment by healthcare and psychiatric professionals. Music has the power to soothe the stressed-out by lowering blood pressure, regulating breathing and heart rate, and can even slow down or speed up brain waves.

Read below about 6 ways music therapy can uplift or calm a worried mind, relax a tense body and bring peace to anyone in need of some serenity throughout the day.


1. Reduce Road Rage—

Many people commute to and from work, which can be a constant source of stress and anger, thanks to congested traffic and distracted drivers.

Playing music during a drive can distract us from the drudgery of travel and turn it into a source of pleasure.

Music helps by psychologically reframing the commute, turning a necessary-but-unpleasant daily event into what feels more like a fun activity, keeping the listener calm and less frustrated.


2. Increase Productivity—

Once you step out of your music therapy vehicle and head into the job, consider continuing to use this valuable method of relaxation once you reach your workspace.

If your employer allows music to be played at desks, cubicles, in kitchens, factories, retail establishments, or wherever you are employed, this has been shown to dramatically increase employee morale—and happy employees work harder.

Remember: A fast tempo will speed up brain waves to increase concentration, while a slow tempo promotes a tranquil state of mind.


3. Have a Musical Lunch—

Another way to use music therapy throughout your day is to play music during your lunch break. If you’ve had a rough morning, playing upbeat music with positive lyrics can get you back into a determined, go-getter mindset.

If you’re feeling anxious, mellow classical music or folksy acoustic tunes can calm you down enough to refocus and stay on-task for the rest of the day.

If your work’s break room doesn’t allow music, get into the habit of having lunch in your car where you can control the melodies and play exactly what you need to keep your mental state solid.


4. Play an Instrument—

In addition to listening to songs, playing music can be one of the most effective stress-relievers available.

Playing percussive instruments such as drums or bongos can be a great way to work out aggression or tension after a tough day.

Strumming a guitar or expressing emotions through songwriting can also be tremendously cathartic.

Harmonicas have proven helpful for music therapy because they are conducive to deep breathing, which naturally alleviates anxiety.

But don’t forget about the instrument everyone can play; the voice. Singing along to music can be wonderfully therapeutic, whether you consider yourself a good singer or not. If you’re self-conscious, sit somewhere secluded in the car, or wait until the house is empty, and sing the stress away.


5. Dinner Time Tunes—

Listening to music while preparing food can turn a nightly chore into a positively purifying process.

Sometimes after a long day, cooking dinner is the last thing in the world we feel like doing, but music can lift our spirits and revitalize this task.

Light, calming background music played during the meal can also soothe everyone at the table—just make sure it’s not loud enough to compete with conversation.


6. Musical Meditation—

Meditating to music can be done while sitting in a classic meditation pose with a visual focal point, lying comfortably on the floor with closed eyes, in a warm bath, or anywhere you feel the most relaxed.

Slow your breathing, and allow yourself to unwind until you are thinking about nothing but the music, clearing the mind and body of all anxiety and negativity.


Our hectic world, jobs and personal lives can often create chaos and inner turmoil, but living in a constant state of fear and worry can damage our physical and psychological health. Try to incorporate some of the music therapy techniques above into your day to release tension so you can stay healthy, happy and stress-free.