I think we’ve all heard the expression music soothes the Savage beast. Even Bugs Bunny knew it:
Music does a lot more than that though. A couple of years ago, I got an Alexa device. Now, I know the artificial intelligence devices have a lot of capabilities. I admit I don’t even explore most of those possibilities. On rare occasions I will use it to get information about something or check the time or temperature. I use it to set timers or alarms. I also use it to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit because we can’t figure out how to switch our thermometer out of Celsius mode.
I spend a lot of time working on my electronic devices for all different reasons. I need my cell phone to send text messages, post on Instagram and answer calls. I use a Microsoft Surface tablet to do my graduate schoolwork, my genealogical research, my contract research, write my blog posts, deal with things for my nonprofit, handle email and about 1000 other things. I usually have 2 browsers open and a total of about 12 tabs.
There are 3 social distancing teenagers in my house, and 3 loud dogs. Two aides visit me each day. After a 6-week hiatus at the height of the pandemic in our area, my personal assistant is back on the job. She is working abbreviated hours, trying diligently to help me get the chaos that is my life in hand again.
We snicker about how many people think that because I happen to have a disability, I don’t do anything all day. The fact that I’m trapped in the house definitely adds to that misconception and misperception. The difference between misconception and misperception is that misconception is a mistaken belief – a wrong idea – while misperception is an incorrect perception. When it comes to me, most people labor under one, the other, or both. The reality is that I am ridiculously busy most of the time. And since I do everything form home, I never step away from my responsibilities at all.
My workspace is my home space. Sometimes, I prefer it quiet in my workspace, but more often than not, music from my Alexa is what powers me through getting things done. You would think that with the decibel level in my house on a regular basis, you would think that the last thing that I want would be to add another layer of noise by throwing in music. But I found that my Alexa helped so much that I wanted to build even more upon that. So, I graduated from the Alexa to the Stereo Sub Pair, which is 2 speakers plus a Subwoofer. The Subwoofer gives a deeper baseline to the music. I have one speaker on each side of my area and the Subwoofer on the floor in a corner. The ceiling in my space is partially vaulted. All together it gives me a surround sound effect that helps me tune out the other chaos in the house. The Alexa is called an Echo device.
Music is such a huge part of our lives when we let it be that support for us. One of the great advantages we have over previous societies is that we can have our music whenever we choose. No longer do we need to have the skill to produce it ourselves, although playing a musical instrument is certainly a wonderful skill to have! We can enjoy music almost everywhere.
Even in the movies, music and sound is so important that it has its own critical categories at the Oscars and every other award show. I’m sure your lives are crazy busy too. Let me share how I plug music in to my day, and then how I want to help to get more music in your day!
I like energetic songs in the morning, things like ‘Mr. Brightside’ by The Killers, ‘Hell Yeah, Damn Right’ by Brett Young and ‘Rebel Yell’ by Billy Idol.
A lot of writing to do for grad school or my blog? Cue the Soundtrack from ‘Hamilton.’ The brilliant musical by Lin Manuel-Miranda is about 2 hours 45 minutes of musical genius that powers me through work painlessly.
Since I’m disabled, I don’t exactly have a workout mix of course. But when I am motivating my teenage son on our deck I will blast ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen or ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem.
Need quiet-ish background to help stay focused when I’m on the phone? I ask Alexa to shuffle songs by Beethoven or Mozart. Need powerful, invigorating classical? I request Verdi’s ‘Triumphal March’ from Aida, ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Stravinsky, or ‘Superman’ by John Williams. Yes, from the movie. Because nothing says ‘epic’ like a handsome superhero with tights and a cape, and a fantastically heroic theme played with French horns. It’s powerful, deceptively simple, remarkably effective, and hugely impactful.
As I described above, I find different kinds of music help during different parts of the day and let me pull up any song that enters my mind. It’s a far cry from when I used to try to create mix tapes in the 1980s, or juggle the iPod in the early 2000s. Being able to pull up any kind of music at any time is a luxury that my own kids can’t possibly appreciate. They enjoy it, but they don’t really grasp the enormity of being able to hear what they want, when they want it.
I cannot tell you how much I love the Alexa/Echo. In addition to the music, it lets the user check time and temperature, set alarms, get the news, find out sports information, check movie times, and a thousand other things that artificial intelligence lets us now access verbally within our own homes. For anybody that remembers the old cartoon “The Jetsons”, Rosie was kind of like the Alexa crossed with Roomba and Smart kitchen appliances.
I am currently running a giveaway to let somebody else enjoy a free Echo 3rd Generation device. To be entered into the giveaway you should follow me on Instagram @FromInHere and share one of the giveaway posts you find there. You can also follow the pop-up form on this webpage. All you need for the Echo device to work in your home is some kind of internet or Wi-Fi connection to link it to. As always, if you have any questions or want more information, send me an email @firstname.lastname@example.org, or direct message me on Instagram @FromInHere.