We have heard about people giving up meat, sugar, even social media for Lent but music?
That is what one person did.
More of a social experiment that act of religious devotion, Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford chronicled his still unfinished journey of 40 days without music for BBC Radio 4.
Cox’s story — about 28 minutes long — is very interesting and will force you to define music and realize how prevalent it is in our society. For instance, how exactly do you block music from your life when music can be defined as anything from our ring tones to the tweeting of birds? How do you lead a normal life when music is so integrated into our culture including the places we eat, the television shows we watch and the stores we shop in?
So, what has Cox discovered thus far with his music fast? Here are some of his observations:
Not listening to music made Cox more tired. Victoria Williamson, an expert on music and the brain wasn’t surprised abut Cox’s weariness. “Music provides a lot of stimulation throughout the day … if you are completely withdrawn from one of your normal sources stimulation it would have a similar effect as if you withdrew from caffeine.”
His brain went into overdrive and created its own music. The first few days his brain was overwhelmed with earworms, those pesky tunes that originate from our brain and, try as we might, cannot stop humming or singing them. Williamson advised Cox that this was also a common occurrence. “When I removed music from my life, my brain compensated for this by creating excessive musical imagery,” Cox wrote.
It negatively affected Cox’s family life: Cox could not listen to his sons playing music and his wife lamented that that they could not watch their favorite television shows together because music was woven into the story lines and into commercials. “None of us can quite bring ourselves to watch our favorite programs with the sound off and subtitles on. I do miss that shared family time,” she said.
As music lovers, we look forward to April 2 when Cox can listen to music again! He’s already anticipating the first song he’ll play!
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