What is Your Musical Personality?

  What does one’s musical taste say about their personality? My son is a big fan of classic rockers Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Neil Young. The poignant lyrics of their ballads, civil rights or anti-war songs seem to touch his soul. He will be the first to stand up for something he believes is right. My daughter prefers the more cheery melodies and hopeful love songs of the Top 40 Chart. She works hard in school and looks forward to unwinding after a long day by singing her favorite songs in the privacy of her room.

I have always loved music and it continues to be an important part of my life; however it would be hard to pin me down as to any one type. I was trained to play classical music on the piano but also enjoy breaking out the “Great Songs of the   60’s” songbook. At Christmas time, I love to play my favorite carols and will sing along with my Messiah score to a DVD recording. Within the last two weeks, I have had the pleasure of three unrelated musical experiences. You may be puzzled at first, but I think that ultimately you will discover the link to my personality.

During the week I was in Jamaica, every tourist bus, boat or restaurant played Bob Marley. Being in Jamaica brought a whole new light to his lyrics-  not just from an American civil rights perspective. Seeing the poverty on the island and the deprived conditions, as well as the dependence on tourism, gave a truer meaning to his “Songs of Freedom.”  While riding the boat out to the reef for snorkelling, the captain invited us to sing along to “No Woman No Cry”. I love to sing and quickly jumped into the moody tune. My husband joined in, although somewhat more reservedly. My son shot me dagger eyes and elbowed me in the ribs- silently begging me to stop embarrassing him. I restrained myself out of respect for his feelings, although I did keep bopping my head.

When we returned from our trip, my husband and I were thrilled to attend the Springsteen Wrecking Ball Tour in Albany. We had bought the latest CD and been listening to the new music in preparation. The concert lived up to all expectations. The Boss rocked hard for three hours, pulling out old favorites along with the new ones. The emotions were raw and real and the energy of the crowd was radiant. Dancing and singing along to the music was amazing and we left the concert with a feeling of rejuvenation.

 Last night, we attended a completely different musical event. We saw the Albany Symphony Orchestra’s performance of “Carmina Burana”. There were two choral groups and an extensive orchestra, as well as three soloists. The house was packed, which is unusual. My husband and I were excited about the show. I had sung it many years ago (before kids) and he had listened to me rehearse and perform. Some of the songs are our favorites and we could hardly keep from tapping our feet. There was a man a few seats down who went so far as to wave his hands, conductor style. I felt badly for the “naive” sector of the audience who clapped after a movement or solist and were rudely reprimanded by their peers.

As much as I appreciate classical  music and understand the reason for the etiquette of silence, that reaction made me realize why I prefer rock and roll. I want music I can be a part of; music I can sing and dance to. Music is a way to engage myself- heart and soul. The examples of my son letting me know I was embarrassing him or the audience scolding members for clapping inappropriately illustrate the importance of interaction for me. Music should be about expression. In order to appreciate it I have to experience it, vocally and physically. As wonderful as the orchestra and chorus were, it would have been even  more enjoyable if I could have wiggled in my seat.

This observation also makes me realize why my kids think going to the orchestra is boring. They both love music, but sitting quietly is not their way of enjoying it. I can totally relate. I guess it is time to take out my CD and sing and wave my arms when no one else is home. “Oh Fortuna!”

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stmarco
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:51:41

    Music is meant to be felt, and us westerners lose so much (me included) with our stiffness. One of my favourite parts of living in Africa was the physicality and the power of emotion packed within. Here’s a related link that was posted today on one of the blogs I follow: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/04/is-music-innate.html

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    • stmarco
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 12:54:42

      I don’t know how to edit above – I meant the physicality of music, of course, and so moving to hear and see the songs and movement around some of life’s important events: weddings, funerals, going to church; as well as just the ways it infiltrated into mundane every day things, and transformed them.

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  2. themiddlegeneration
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 15:17:12

    Thanks for attaching the link. It was very interesting and almost make we want to write more on this topic. But to stick to today’s point after watching the video link, the boy played the piece with such feeling and flair. We know musicians have the right to express themselves in their pieces; but what about the audience? Just because they aren’t as musically talented doesn’t mean they aren’t moved by the piece. And -with all these reflections you still haven’t told me -what kind of music moves you?

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  3. Trackback: 5 second dance party. « ahimsamaven
    • themiddlegeneration
      Apr 23, 2012 @ 18:40:48

      Thanks for checking out my post. I read yours and see that your musical taste is even more diverse than mine. My kids don’t do well with me dancing around the house, but I do wear my headphones while mowing the lawn. Nothing like blasting Uncle Cracker while you’re walking the rows!

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  4. rheath40
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:20:58

    I too love music. Read my post I’m such a whore, for music that is. 🙂 My kids have a love for it too. They are both performers too. So music a big part of our lives. Love your post.

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  5. Carol
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:25:32

    Perhaps the reason I really prefer to enjoy my music in the privacy of my home is just because then I can burst into song, or a do a little jig, or just be lulled into a sense of total contentment without worrying about disturbing fellow listeners. I tend to lean to country/pop, occasionally some alternative music, a little bit of soft rock and there are times when nothing will do but a bit of Vivaldi. I tend toward voices with a bit of a rasp, although I have several non-raspy favorites too. I think the only music I really don’t like is heavy metal, or very loud rock. Oh, and there is little in the rap category that interests me. In vocals, I want to hear and understand the words being sung.

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  6. Looking Out The Window
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 22:09:15

    So timely, for me. I have an eclectic music collection of the great vocalist and classic rock (I am sure that is age relative.) Just recently I started using streaming radio to listen a favorite radio station in a town we lived in over 15 years ago that played music that does not fit in to either of those categories, and I am loving it.

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  7. themiddlegeneration
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 08:38:13

    In my opinion music is essential to life- whether for courting, soothing, relaxing or enjoying. Many species have their own “musical” voices for such purposes. One time when I was camping during rutting season the melodies of the elk became very apparent to me. Who would have thought they had such talent? It doesn’t matter what your musical tastes are, but that you have them and they serve a purpose in your lifestyle. For me it is usually stress relief or motivation related.

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