I vividly remember certain times of my life when memories are ignited by a particular song, piece of music, or soundtrack. When my sister and brother-in-law lived in Trim, in County Meath, Ireland, myself and Greg (then my boyfriend) went on a road trip from the North to visit them. The soundtrack of that entire journey was the Crash Test Dummies’ ‘God Shuffled His Feet’. Even though we were perfectly happy and content with each other’s company, this soundtrack added a new dimension to our Irish adventure down south. I remember the loud singing, the forgotten lyrics, the unreached pitches, the laughter, the love, the excitement, the freedom. Happiness. Security. Adventure. Craic. Even now and again, I hear a song from that album playing and I immediately stop. My entire being is transported to that car journey, to our adventure. To our courtship. I get goose bumps and smile.
Another vivid memory was when Greg had to move to London for a year to complete a teaching qualification. This was a very difficult and lonely time for me, but I suppose it was also a time of discovering that music was my comforting, reliable, and ever adapting friend. I really, properly began using music to lift me, to cheer me up, to relax and soothe me, to enthuse me, to focus me, and to reward me. Fast, slow, moderate tempos. Thin and thick textures. Dramatic dynamics. Orchestras. Rock ballads. Gregorian chants. Choral arrangements. Jazz improvisations. String quartets. The choice was never ending and I chose a lot! Without studying the effects of music on emotional status, I discovered for myself how music could be a reliable friend. That particular year, I spent a large sum of money on albums, singles, cassettes, and videos. I listened. I reacted. I listened some more. I reacted intensely. I gradually discovered that music was affecting me. My thoughts. My feelings. My physical being. My attitude. My day. My life. My world. This discovery was mind blowing. Today, I do not have the same collection of music. It is enormously reduced. I have particular favourites and top playlists that I call on depending on my mood. The playlists work, instantly. Music- I wholeheartedly thank you for being my reliable friend!