I was sitting at home alone on a Wednesday night when I decided to spend the rest of my night watching a movie on Netflix. I had never heard of it prior to choosing it, but something intrigued me about the film ‘Liberal Arts.’ It most likely was the decent rating and 97 minute runtime that primarily drew me to it, but I also like to think me and the film had some form of an agreement to be watched.
For the most part the film is a relatively simple love and friendship story, but there is one part to the film that inspired me to challenge myself in my own life. Within the film, one of the characters introduces the other to the idea of listening to classical music in replacement of whatever they were normally accustomed to listening to. The character then began to listen to the suggested playlist when driving, traveling to work, while walking in the park, etc. Through this process the character becomes amazed by both the experiential process he is going through, and the impact the music is having on his life. The overall impact this segment has within the entirety of the film is minimal, but it still managed to inspire me to try it out in my own life.
For the past two weeks, aside from when at public places where I could not control the music or when watching a film or playing a game that had other music within it, I listened to nothing but classical music. I listened to it while driving, writing, working out, walking, you name it! And I have to say I really enjoyed the experience. Here are some of the highlights I’d like to share in regards to what I noticed:
- Unlike other music (and I am sure there are exceptions), classical music promotes creativity rather then disempowering it by drawing all of your attention. It is easily fades into the background and allowed me to stay focused on whatever it was that I was doing at the same time.
- It helped to keep me in the moment. It was as if it took the place of the mind chatter I had gotten so accustomed to, allowing me to more easily focus and fully experience everything that I did.
- The world seemed like a truly beautiful creation. It seemed like every person, animal and experience I came across was that much easier to appreciate rather then judge or just passively dismiss.
- The music always sounds new. I only downloaded four 15-minute songs before starting this process and I can tell you now despite hearing each one numerous times I never knew what was coming. It always seemed like a completely new experience, which is the polar opposite to what I am used to, as even the songs I have no interest or intention of becoming familiar with I somehow find myself singing along to as they play on the radio.
- I never found myself irritated by or tired of what I was listening to. The same 4 songs somehow always stayed fresh and interesting, or as I like to look at it: they stayed as the perfect soundtrack to those two weeks of life.
So do I plan to listen to only classical music for the rest of my life? No, certainly not, but I definitely have a greater appreciation for it and will always be open to listening to it whenever I feel pulled to. Whether you are already familiar with classical music or not, I’d suggest trying this out even just for a day. I can’t promise the same results or experiences that I had/ found, but it definitely is worth trying.
For those that are interested the four songs I listened to were all non-vocal classical music written by one of the great composers but performed and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Did I choose these on purpose? No, they just were the first to come up in my ITunes search.