Monday, March 9, 2009

Music and Me

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I quit going to story time at the library a few years ago because while the librarian would be reading the story, and shushing noisy children, the parents WOULD NOT STOP TALKING! The would stand at the back of the room telling their tales of bargains on baby socks or everlasting ear infections and completely ignore the librarian telling their children, "If you are not quiet everyone won't be able to hear."

It always drives me nuts to try to listen to something when there is competing noise around me. If we are watching a movie or television show and someone needs to tell me something, I pause the movie or mute the show so I can listen to one thing at a time.

It is because of this preference that I rarely have music playing in our home or car. I like music. I really do, but I like to fully listen to it, not merely hear it as a background noise.

We have CDs of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, as well as poems of Robert Louis Stevenson set to music, and some others, but I only like to have them playing if no one is talking, and since that happens next to never, I just don't have them playing often at all.

There are times that I realize our family is missing out on something important, namely music appreciation, but I simply can not tolerate trying to listen to a beautiful piece by Mozart AND listen to my four year old tell me about the dream she had last night while the seven year old is waiting her turn to tell me what she wants for her next birthday and the three year old is singing her own special version of "Jesus Loves Me".


I guess I could play a CD every day at nap time, but the children like to read, and I feel like, once again, the music would be background noise, and it deserves to be so much more than that.

So, how do you handle music in your home? Are you the type that has it going all day long as you talk and laugh and work? If so, HOW DOES IT NOT DRIVE YOU CRAZY?! Or do you have a special time carved out for listening in silence? (This would be more my style, but I don't happen to have extra minutes of the day just lying around the house.)

Any suggestions?


Meliss said...

No advice, but commiseration. I have a relative that plays music non-stop. When I visit, I feel like curling up in a fetal position and rocking in the corner with my hands over my ears with the music AND the talking AND the noise of kids playing. We are a very musically oriented family as far as playing music, but not listening. I can't think about other things when music is playing! Someday when I have some time, I might do auditory processing therapy. :-)

rachel said...

I guess I pretty much tune out what I am not interested in. When in the world would I sit down and JUST listen to music?? :)
I put a tape or CD in , in the morning when I get up. Something upbeat to get us going and I enjoy singing along as I make breakfast. I figure its a nice way for the children to wake up!
Sorry I don't have any advice except maybe to wait till the children are grown. Which probably is not very helpful!

Homeschoolin' hot-rodders said...

sorry I am with rachel :( After I get up and have my time along with God, I turn on the radio in the living room and have it playing while I get the children up, get ready and make breakfast. We all love to sing to the tunes and they get us going while doing our chores. When we sit down to do school work I must turn it off though as it drives me nuts to try and concentrate on something else while the music/tv is on.

the momma said...

I hear ya!
you described how I feel about music to a 'T'!!! my children think I hate music, but I tell them what I hate, is NOISE!

I read of people playing lovely music throughout the day that just turns everyone's hearts to God.... I feel like a heathen, but I just can't listen to music & kids at the same time.

Christi said...

My first horrible awful thought is "duct tape fixes everything." But since that would get you thrown in jail where you would never get peace and quiet. . . .

I think that different people respond different ways. In college, I did better with background music as "something to ignore." I was much more distractable without it.

My daughter has to have quiet when she is trying to focus. Little brother breathing too loud annoys her so music is a no-no.

Because I respect her need for quiet, we don't listen to as much music as I would like.

abba12 said...

I simply cannot concerntrate in silence, I notice every little sound. I love the mood background music gives, it can cheer me up or keep me calm, and I can choose to turn up my favourite song too loud for people to talk to me, or settle it into the background so I listen to the rhythem and beat more than anything else. It relaxes and de-stresses me.

Having said this, I am legally blind and find I am able to listen and process much more at once than sighted people, so perhaps this is my secret. I can, if I choose to, listen to the music and still focus on someone speaking and my work, I've always been a multitasker.

But I also find that I don't have to listen directly to a song to appriciate it. Music plays on the sub-concious heavily.

Melissa said...

I can completely relate to the whole auditory overload thing. A few years ago I lost most of my hearing in one ear and since then, I can only "process" one sound at a time. I usually only have music playing in the car when I'm the only one in it. I don't play it at home often. I just find that I'm not as into music as I used to be as a teen and my early twenties. I'm sure as my oldest rapidly approaches the teen years I'll be getting plenty of music exposure again!!!

Noel said...

The best time for me to listen to music is in the car. The kids are usually doing other things, sleeping or watching a movie if it's a long car ride and I can just sit and listen to my mp3. They are wonderful things....

During school we play instrumental music from the computer, just background stuff, but I find they concentrate better on their schoolwork with music going in the background.

Amy said...

Oh my goodness... I am no help because I am just like you - I cannot stand competing noises. Drives me crazy! That said, we do amazingly manage to listen to music sometimes. It works best for me when I am cleaning. I like Mozart for that. The boys have a Bible songs tape (yes, a CASSETTE TAPE) I play for them in the van sometimes, but I usually adjust the speakers so the music is all in the back and not much up front.
Great topic!

Jennifer said...

I'm actually a little on both. I LOVE music and I used to be able to handle it as background noise. But now with 5 extremely-not-quite children, I can't do it anymore. But I wasn't willing to let go on music altogether.

My solution? When we are in the car, driving longer than it takes to go to the store, we listen to music. People are quite and they listen. If someone needs to talk, they raise their hand (for I can see the movement in the mirror), I turn off the music and they say what they need to say. If the same person continues to ask nonsense questions or non-important speech, they are not allowed to speak again until we reach our destination.

This not only allow us to get our music time in, it also teaches the children that there are times to be quite and they will not die if they can't talk. Not to mention that fact that I get about 30 minutes of not having to talk myself.

Hope this helps!
Jennifer D

Smockity Frocks said...

Jennifer, That sounds like a very workable solution for me. We live about 20 minutes from "town" so I think that would be a reasonable amount of time to be quiet and listen. THANK YOU!!!

Pat's Place said...

Oh boy! I am with you all the way on this one! I learned long ago that I could not split my attention and having "background noise" of music just drives me crazy! I must have a very sensitive auditory overload trigger because restaurants and businesses with intrusive music usually lose me as a customer! You are RIGHT ON with this idea! Thanks!

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

I do both. I need quiet time and I need time when the music is on in the background. Some type of music is always on in the car but my kids really enjoy listening to it.

It doesn't seem to bother me in the background if I keep it to a low level - like at dinner or while we are playing games as a family. It just seems to make life happier for me.

Note: we have a loud household. We are just a noisy bunch. :)

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