Part of what make it hard for me to quit drinking is that so many of my hobbies were tied up into the drinking environment. I thought I’d brainstorm ideas for alternative activities, and post any good ones I could think of. This one is called “The Music Buff”.
If you’re like me, you love music, but it is easy to get stuck in a rut listening to the same things time and time again. This is a simple way to expand your musical horizons, focus your energy on a productive hobby, and learn critical listening skills (and stay sober).
Once a week, find a completely new band or album. You can use some subscription service, a site like Bandcamp, or just grab CDs off the rack. Bandcamp is my preferred vehicle because it often will let you listen to some (or all) of an album before buying, and oftentimes albums are “Pay What You Want”. Be sure to be adventurous: try a new genre, or something that catches your fancy that you normally wouldn’t consider.
In a comfortable environment, listen to the album from start to finish. You can use computer speakers, a stereo system, headphones, etc. Really devote your attention to the music.
Make note of all of your feelings while listening. How did you feel? How did you respond? What did you like? What pushed you away? What would you change? When would you most likely listen to this kind of music in your regular life? How could this music change your mood or outlook? Can you relate to any of the lyrics? etc.
Listen to it once more later in the week, completely as if it were something you normally throw on. Shuffle through songs, pick favorites, play one on repeat, etc. As you listen in the way you usually would, ask yourself what you think the musicians intentions were? What were they trying to do or say? What mood did they want to create? Were they successful in your opinion?
If you like it, act on it. Share it with a friend. Learn more about the artist. Consider going to a concert for that style of music. If you don’t like it, no biggie! Get a new album and try it again.
Hope this is something some of you try! Let me know if you do!