Notes From Michael Masterson’s Journal: A Lesson in Music Appreciation

One thing a mentor will do for you is prepare you before they occur for things that will change your life. My father did a good job of this healthwise. He documented his physical tribulations so that I could see – 30 years ahead of time – what pains and aches life held for me.What he didn’t tell me about was the change that takes place in the area of your brain that controls your tastes – your appreciation of music, for example.

This morning, after weeks of tinkering with the idea, I set my satellite music channel to “Easy Listening.” I never thought this would happen to me. I have had a very sophisticated anti-elevator-music upbringing. I was listening to Chuck Berry and Duke Ellington before I had hair on my chin. I loved rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, etc. And, yes, there was some progression. I came to like, even prefer, “classical” music and then opera.

About five years ago, though, I had my first run-in with “the other side.” I found myself listening, every once in a while on the car radio, to country music. It was twangy and obvious, but the sentiments seemed true. And what’s wrong with that? Then, three years ago, TG got me to a Jimmy Buffet concert. K never forgave him for that.

On Sunday mornings now, if I get up before she does, we listen to Jimmy Buffett rather than jazz. And now this … Don’t get me wrong. I won’t do it again. Not, at least, for another five years. But I can feel it coming. Easy-listening music does seem to calm me down, smooth out the rough edges. And maybe I’m wrong about music anyway. Maybe this is the sum of all music, not the void. Maybe it’s like the color white, containing everything. I’ll find out soon enough.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]