Music and Earphones: An Essay on Listening for Leisure


As gadgets shrink from bulky to glass-like lightness, memory and bit-sizes sporadically bloomed.  Thank goodness for competition, everyone now has a wide variety of music-gadgets and genres to choose from.

It is no longer unusually hip for people to wear blaring headphones, colored in neon hues.  Nor is it uncanny to trace wee-thin wires (for the earphone set) that connect one’s ear to the accursed sonata.  Folks can listen in privacy: they can bash their heads lightly or go for an all-out concert within the confines of their kitchen.

And with this gift of discretion, one need not explain their fanatic interest for global pop or underground dub-step.  In fact, it might even sound a crime to actually criticize for “poor judgement or lack of taste” – because, really there is no such thing as ‘poor.’

Everyone has a choice; music is just one form or manifestation of that exercised choice.  At this rate, it’s up to you to join the budding bathroom-singer in his or her jam, or not.

Too much becomes routine

But what if this same mobility, this same compressed privacy comes unchecked?  We all know what this means or looks like.  See that guy who listens to his playlist non-stop?

Or, how about the gal whose obsession in a particular album or artist?  The gal is ready to engage in any battle of wits to prove that her favorite group is the best!  She’ll make fan-videos, post it on social media outlets and beg everyone for the thumbs-up.

But the worse (in my rather silly opinion) is listening for the sake of listening.  What if you’re just plugging your earphones to release music that will only feed the void of boredom or overbearance?  Chances are… you wouldn’t even enjoy it.

Sometimes, we look at music as a grandiose scheme for distraction.  Not that that’s bad because really, our world is full of unsavory things which are too hard to endure without music.  Music has wings and it does lift us up.  I think, what I’m saying is, let us not reduce these songs, its lyrics, or its beat to something that is passively consumed by our ears.

Music is clearly not that.  Yes, there are songs that were created just for that purpose; but really, it isn’t the only point.  Music attempts and achieves transcendence.  It did before and still does now.

So, how do I listen to music?

It is not entirely clear when or how the impulse to put the earphone on comes.  Though I could tell specific conditions that entail satisfying this need for notes, the nature of listening to music will probably remain a mystery to me.

There are times when I do fight the urge to put it on.  I have recognized specific times on a day where it’s best not to listen to music – because the world has its own musical offering to me.  Take for instance my Saturday mornings.

The travel-time that ensues, between my home and university, bombards me with different delights – most of which are matched for my senses.  I tend to see clean-shaven males and dolled-up females on their way to work, school, or somewhere.  I tend to smell fresh goodies from the nearby bakeshop or the sizzling sound of something being fried under extreme pan-heat.

And I do hear interesting sounds.  The shuffling of feet, as well as, the lazy dragging sound coming from those who aren’t exactly fond of early mornings – is one.  Then, there’s the honking of patient cars, and the buzzing zoom from motorcycling folks.

Put all of these sounds and I don’t just feel like I’m listening to one harmonious song.  I feel like I’m experiencing it, too.

Imagine the enormity of that?!  And how easy I would have missed it if I were to stubbornly put on my perky earphones?

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4 thoughts on “Music and Earphones: An Essay on Listening for Leisure

    • Thank you sonmicloud! How about you? Does the world’s music (or noise) reach your ears? Or does the nearby outer space create better hymns?

      • Music, if not my first love, which is words, can certainly be said to fall into second place. And I too enjoy the music of the world, though lean towards those of nature, the pleasing cacophony of a waterfall, the melody of Geese flying south, rather than that of the city. The city is a little too smelly for me. I’m not keen on cats that scream like babies all night mind you ;P sonmicloud

      • Cats are a different kind of siren. They’re lauded for their amusing range of ‘meows.’ But, indeed, their songs can be too… much (bordering to annoying). 🙂

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