Loud is the Best Way to Enjoy Good Music

My dad was a connoisseur of music. Our second floor bathroom had a speaker that was wired to the record player in the living room, and his darkroom in the basement was fed from the stereo in the rec room next door. His joy of music went beyond the white noise of radio play. I remember the way he would give an album his full attention, as if taking it in by ritual. A glass of wine in hand, he’d park himself on the floor in the basement, propped up by the couch and listen to an album from start to finish, interrupted only to replace the needle on the B side. Pat Benatar, Blondie, Barbara Streisand. Sometimes through the speakers, sometimes feeding the sound directly into his body via those massive headphones of the 70s. 

After my dad died the music in our house got louder and angrier. My brothers listened to heavy metal at all hours, and at volumes that should be illegal. I confess, loud is the best way to enjoy good music, I come by that honestly.

As someone who has spent so many years tuning into the subtleties of the body I wonder about this. When I am turning up the volume am I attempting to hack my way into the nuance of sound without slowing down to let it in? Or am I trying to drown out something that’s been making it’s way to my emotional surface? I suppose it depends on my choice of music and mode of listening.

Embodiment through music is direct. When I feel the base thumping beneath my skin, I have to move. 

My playlist at work is softer. It’s there to fill the room so my clients don’t have to. The music—in tandem with touch—promotes an experience that is of the body, but far beyond.

I enjoy the best of music as my dad did: grounded on the floor, and I think he had it right with a glass of wine. My capacity to embody the experience expands by whetting my palate, awakening multiple senses at once. I make my album selection carefully, based on the complexion of what I am hoping to rouse. Music can be a mood modifier but it also has a way of locating the root of unrest that settles as soon as it has been seen. 

The vibration awakens memory and long discarded feeling, like sifting through old photos or smelling the rain. Resting the senses sharpens them. Employing the senses while resting? Even better.


* indicates required