I love music. Now, I should clarify, I am not good at playing music. Save for the few years of piano lessons in grade school (I can still find middle C), trying to teach myself to play the guitar in high school (nothing ever stuck), to picking up a pair of drum sticks for the first time this past summer (why I waited so long to learn drums, I may never know), I have shied away from instruments. Listening to music, on the other hand, is a whole new story.
I can keep a few simple beats on a drum kit. I can pick a road trip playlist that will make you nostalgic feels ten times over. I sing in my church band. Music is a part of my life, and has been for as long as I can remember, but never more so than when I started college. I learned very early on that I cannot study in silence. It is unnerving. The typing of the keyboard or the scratching of pencil against paper is amplified in that silence and I had to find a way to break it up.
My first year of college, I created a playlist on Spotify. “College – Year 1,” for lack of creativity, is what helped me survive a new and challenging world I had no idea how to navigate. Since I will listen to almost anything (it’s all subjective to my current mood), I worked on building that playlist as I solved math problems and learned the basics of English composition. Coldplay and Owl City were, by far, the most popular artists I listened to that year. “College – Year 5” is much of the same, though the reunited Jonas Brothers have snuck a song or two into the mix.
Nothing against a hit song like “Yellow”, but there are times when I just need a tune or a beat to get me through reading a hundred pages of a novel and responding to my peers work in a constructive and thoughtful way over the course of a week. For moments like that, I created a separate playlist for the deep studying moments. Yes, it’s called “Studying.” Inside are the likes of composers/pianists Alberto Giurioli and Ludovico Eniaudi, along with instrumentals of a few of my favorite songs by 2CELLOS and Lindsey Stirling. Nature sounds and film scores are pretty great for those intense study sessions.
In short, there is a constant rhythm to my life. Whether I’m singing along to the latest Skillet album or drumming my fingers on my desk, practicing rudiments as I edit my novel installment, I always have a tune in my head. It helps me.
Coldplay may not be your favorite band. Maybe Mozart is more your speed. Maybe silence is best. Whatever rhythm you live your life to, live it well.