Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Remembering College Music

In college, new music was my constant entertainment. The experiences of those four years can be catalogued by the CDs being played at the moment.

Adam Duritz sang through my freshman year on the Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.” The opening line to my Art Appreciation final paper rang, “if I knew Picasso, I would buy myself a grey guitar and play.” My professor did not find the line nearly as clever as I did.

Dave Matthews’ Band and Hootie & the Blowfish blasted me through my Sophomore year by providing ballads for long car rides back to college. “Ants Marching” always found its way into the CD player somewhere around Knoxville on that trip. That song jolted us for the second half of the ride.

My junior year revolved around a little band out of Cincinnati known as Over the Rhine. The then current boyfriend took me to a concert and introduced me to what I referred to as “the music of my soul.” He has been gone for quite a while now, but I still pull out that CD when I need company.

U2 drove me through my senior year. Bono and his band have been my music companions for as long as I can remember. I found myself in the Georgia Dome, standing by my oldest friend, Jen, listening to “With or Without You.” That song played as Ross and Rachel fell in love that year on Friends, and I knew that music moments could not get better than that.

In a conversation recently, I confessed that my adoration for music has waned significantly these last few years. My last musical purchase was months ago, and the only bands that I saw live in the past year were U2 and Over the Rhine. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me at all.

A few days later, an email containing a link to the NPR show All Things Considered popped up in my inbox. The story told of a study led by neuroscientist, Robert Sapolsky, that tells of the psychological change we undergo as we grow older. My statement about music supported Sapolsky’s theory.

He tells of an assistant that constantly irritated him at the office. The assistant, who was 20, listened to a wide variety of music. Sapolsky realized that the assistant possessed an adventurous spirit, always desiring new experiences, while he felt drawn to the more familiar.

Sapolsky began to study this phenomenon. His research led to him to conclude that as individuals grow more successful, they lose their desire for adventure or novelty. The least likely people to try new music are those people who have achieved the most success at a job over a long amount of time. Those who are willing to risk the least are those with the most to lose. I am not sure if I agree with his findings, but I think those of us who have our college music on repeat should learn from those who still seek adventure.

People who embrace the new find life and bring change. At 22, I eagerly packed all of my belongings to move across the country simply because I wanted to help someone. Eight years later, would I still be so willing? I pray that I would.

As you find yourself seeing comfort in the familiar instead of seeking constant change, let us remember to embrace adventure. That sense of adventure pulled Peter out of the boat to walk on water. It motivated the disciples to follow Jesus. Adventure and surrender bring world change. Let us not be too comfortable to embrace it.


Blogger Kathryn said...

Really interesting...I found myself suddenly developing an interest in music beyond the strictly classical that had been my soundtrack through the first 40 years of life only when I began training for ministry. My children became teenagers and the whole experience of horizons widening seemed to be taking place right through the family...So new music has taken me on this new adventure (but I still have to work harder to appreciate it...it's not my "first language" as it were)

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