Music, soothing and snobbery

Jennifer Riley over at Psych Scamp recently shared some links to research about music therapy.  Until this final prompt, I never really considered the role that music plays in my life. When I wrote about Oceans soothing me, Paul responded that music gave him a similar feeling.  I didn’t really think about this at the time because I was so caught up in my feelings about the ocean, but I think I can understand a little more about what Paul was meaning now.

I know many people use music to soothe and to help tell their stories – Matthew (our American friend) often uses music to indicate how he is feeling and to try and take away the pain; Secret Shadows lists music that has a special meaning for her within her blog; and Sophie used music to help tell our story when creating the Little girl lost clip on YouTube.  But for me music has often been a noise in the background, it’s not something that I really thought about, but I feel fear when it isn’t there to break the silence.  I suppose in many ways, music is a form of protection for me.  But for others in the system, music has a totally different meaning… a few bars of heavy metal and R is fronting, ready to take on the world; One prefers the blues and Motown so he can lie back and restore energy; Sophie prefers Pink, Brooke Fraser and alternative music, while  Katie loves anything that will mean she can dance around.

Our taste in music has always been fairly eclectic, with classical being one of the few genres we don’t listen to.  I know that the main cause for the lack of classical music in my life is the influence of the father.  He would make fun of those who listened to classical music, saying that they were elitist snobs.  I have no memory of us listening to anything other than what he described as, the local “rubbish” radio station.  I have no idea what his idea of good music was, but it wasn’t anything that the family listened to.  A week ago, we were sent a link to some classical music and from that list we went straight to two pieces which were in the middle of the list.  This in itself is odd, we usually have to work through lists from top to bottom.  But these two pieces (Cantique de Jean Racine and Silouans Song) were picked and recognised by part of the system immediately.

As I write this, W is telling me that we got told off for listening to the Concert programme by the father.  I think listening to classical music was her rebellion against him.  While we listened to these two pieces, there was calm throughout the system.  It was a different calm to what we experience when near the ocean, but I think this is because more of the senses are involved with the ocean experience.  But still, there was a sense of peace.  We all listened with respect to something that held importance for a young one.  It was her quiet protest and we all admire her strength and courage.  But we also just loved the music, it held a fascination for the rest of us.  I know those of you who know classical music will be able to tell me why those two pieces are amazing, but for us it wasn’t about dissecting something to understand it.  Listening to that music was purely about being there and being surrounded by something soothing.  That is a special gift.

Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Shadowfeet
via FoxyTunes


8 Responses to “Music, soothing and snobbery”

  1. 1 Paul August 14, 2009 at 4:36 am

    What a great post. Yes, music is wonderful. I have, as you know, a huge collection of music that soothes different parts of me. Or helps validate emotions.

    But I’ve recently begun listening to guided relaxation CD’s (on the iPod) which have soothing background music. So nice. I’ll probably post about them soon.

    Glad you are finding music helpful, and thanks for the links.


  2. 2 castorgirl August 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you Paul :)

    It was a revelation to listen to those pieces of music and feel so calm. The internal silence was incredible, but it wasn’t the silence that accompanies hypervigilance, but rather and gentle paying of attention and respect.

    I’d be interested to hear about the guided relaxation CD’s. I’m starting to think that I have strong barriers up to relaxing, so would like to find new ways to try and ease my body and mind into the concept of safe relaxation.

    Take care,

  3. 3 MyBelovedAlter August 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    I’d like to call attention to the rebellion side of the experience described, because I feel it wouldn’t be right if this side were gone “missing” (correct my English, please, if you know what I am trying to say, ok?)…

    The rebellion is the part of the experience that I – the Bold Alter – can feel when listening to the classical music because of the similar reason to the reason Castor Girl had – our father disliked classical music. I want to say that I can understand that part of your experience, CG, very well.

    The Bold One

  4. 4 castorgirl August 14, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Hello The Bold One,

    You’re right for pointing out the rebellion to ensure that it wasn’t overlooked or missed. This was an important part of why we began listening to classical music. But it became a silent protest as we would listen to it when we knew no one would find out, it was the act of listening to it that was the protest. W used this as a form of defiance, yet was drawn to haunting rather than more dramatic music.

    I’m sorry you had a similar experience, but hope that you can listen to the music with a wider repertoire of experiences now :) If we can move beyond the pain and defiance to pure appreciation, we’ve healed so much.

    Your English is excellent… (as usual)

    Take care my friend
    B and Sophie :)

  5. 5 Kerro August 16, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I’m so pleased you are finding some music that is soothing. Sometimes music is just noise to me… other times it can calm my soul in a way nothing else can. I love it. Enjoy!

  6. 7 jumpinginpuddles August 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

    we ahve a serious aversion to classical music as dad used to hurt us to it, we also dont know exactly what happened but the magiciains apprentice music from fantasia we hear one particual sound of it and we pass out, really scary i can tell you, but on the other hand macho man by the village people rocks as does gflashdance footloose culture club and the wiggles LOL

    • 8 castorgirl August 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm

      I’m so sorry this happened to you JIP…

      But some of us agree with the Village People and Culture Club – and some of us are shaking their heads in shame that some of us listen to that sort of music :)

      Take care :)

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