There is something incredible about the audible.  I know of no past or present experience that has not been alleviated through my ears being immersed by the instruments and voices of genial musicians, both historic and modern.  And the acquisition of musical understanding is as complex as tuning our taste buds and adding new flavours to our palate.  No wonder music is the food of love, so much of my own passions are deeply combined by the two.  I am as excitable by a plate of fresh, exciting morsels of food as I am by the sounds constructed by a talented, passionate artist on a new album.  Giddy with excitement in fact.  My eyes grow wide with lust and my mouth spreads widely into a smile as I become heightened with anticipation for the new element about to enter and influence my life.

Food is an easy subject to coo over as it is essential to our being.  It nourishes us and how we interact with it most certainly says something about our personality.  We seem more likely to stick to our opinions though when it concerns our stomachs than when it comes to our ears.  You might be in the mood for a fried breakfast one day but then the next more inclined to a fruit salad, however, it is not often this can be said for musical sustenance.  Perhaps this is the more predictably tribal aspect of our nature; our inclinations labeling us ‘Pop’ fans, Rock loyalists or Classical amorists.  We connect on a base level with popular culture as that is what the Media feeds us and we ‘must’ therefore comply, otherwise fear expulsion from a group.  However, why so?  Why do we not openly share our adoration of Verdi, our inclinations to Zappa and our leanings to Cypress Hill?  What makes us shy from admittance of the diversity of our natures, embedding ourselves in segregated groups which ultimately ostracise us from potential counterparts?  Its that damn ‘judgement’ again, that simple noun that debilitates us from embracing our true selves, only for liberation to come at our funerals when guests share stories to spark the inevitable ‘Who would have thought!’ statement.

Music is my journey, my one true constant companion throughout life that has shifted and shaped my character as much as my surroundings.  And it is a diverse beast in my book, so diverse that I simply cannot utter my ‘favourite’ band or ‘favourite’ genre as there are too many and I simply dislike to label such things (that would suggest preference and I never like to judge).  The dedication and ability that is brought with being a ‘practicing’ musician is commendable.  Aggrieved mutterings can often be heard about the price-tag of a concert ticket or the fuss over prolonged sound checks (although I can possibly concur when it is in regards to a polished succubus, bouncing around a high profile venue as they stare out with soulless eyes onto the audience they treat as their looking glass).  Shame on you if that is how you feel.   Money is the necessary means to acquire such culture and the musicians that perform before you need to eat too.  Would you create a new spread-sheet for nothing, only for the benefit of your Boss to utter a fleeting ‘Thanks’?  Exactly.

So a gear shift is needed when it comes to musical appreciation, at least amongst some of us.  I am lucky, nay, positively inspired by the friends that surround me.  My own pocket of humanity is thankfully graced with an unusually high level of talent in both playing and appreciating music.  Week after week I take great pleasure in exploring the many corners of London (although I admit perhaps more East side than any other) to step into a dimly lit venue, large or small, to find myself absorbing a continually turning cog of amazing sounds.  I found myself recently at a Jazz concert at the Barbican and whilst the view was perfectly acceptable for the bass-playing genius on stage, I gained another level of enjoyment by closing my eyes to the visual distractions and identifying the cymbal clashes alongside the plucked strings and stroked ivories.  It is a euphoric state for me to listen to music.  I am transported to a higher plain of thinking and feeling that cannot be compared to any other sensory experience.

I have a truth to share though, which offered me a perhaps more privileged introduction to the world of sound.  I speak of it loosely as it is an area of my life (unfortunately) less explored as I deplorably did not pursue it further, however I will no doubt apply myself in future, time-permitting.  Being the sole product of encouraging parents, I was set to task in learning pianoforte from a young age which enabled me to consume classical music vigorously when my peers were keenly watching Top of the Pops (I did occasionally partake in this too though, one does need to indulge in a spot of mainstream in order to form personal opinion).  Joan Sutherland’s soprano on ‘Un de Felice’ moved me to tears, sensuality was discovered on an outing at the ENO for Bizet’s Carmen and I took great pleasure waltzing imagination along to Strauss.  I managed to tinkle my way to Grade 7 through Trinity College, however the heavyweight 8 is yet to come, but again, hope to be achieved ‘one day’.

My horizons grew through my friendship groups and I entered into the realms of everything from ‘Gangsta’ rap to House music.  No cassette tape went unheard and I submerged myself contentedly within my headphones.  CDs simply reduced the prospects of deck-chew (such a relief) however my paltry handling of the materials did sometimes hinder repeated listens.  My own family, particularly in Hungary, were also enamoured with instruments and I spent many a family visit watching my cousins hone their talents on drums, guitar and piano as well as sharing our own tastes through YouTube searches and vinyl collections.  Further friendships developed over the years, which has introduced me to a further plethora of soul food, only increased by change of geographical location.  Through my continual (other) addiction to film I also absorbed every accompanying soundtrack I could, ever widening my appreciation through to Swing and Jazz.  Boundaries were blurred and my moods were always able to be paired with a suitable song from my ever increasing digital playlists.  With adulthood comes a salary too and my exhilaration is now limitless from the prospect of live music.  This is possibly where I derive most of my pleasure.  To be seated or standing and be able to witness the master or mistress of their talents perform physically takes me beyond my mortal presence.  I am in rapture from the melody and emotion of their words, liberating the daily woes that might riddle my mind to be freed resplendently for the duration of their set.

And this is what I implore you to do as I consider it as important as eating or drinking: to consume music just as intensely from each sound-bite.  To limit yourself to radio or TV is sloth-like, no, like anything worth gaining in life, you have to go forth and GET IT.  Seek out listings in locals papers, trawl online information from Time Out or Spoon-Fed for example or even simpler, take a stroll past your local music venue to see the poster at the portal.  Through little effort you will reap almighty rewards and I promise you, the gift you will receive from the experience will transcend the price of any ticket.