My Musical Journey (Part 1)
In our first blog post, I tried to answer the question, ‘When Did Music Begin?’ I argued that it has been around since the dawn of humanity. To me, music helps define the human experience. It got me thinking, when did music begin on a micro level? I believe that everybody’s musical journey starts in the womb. So, in My Musical Journey Part 1 I asked myself, what was my earliest memory of music?
How did my love for music develop in to what it is today? I thought it would be an interesting exercise to trace it back to its origin as a part of MY life. Typically, my memory isn’t the greatest; I’m trying to improve it. That said, with music, I hoped that the emotional connections to my memories would make remembering easier.
I thought long and hard. The earliest memory for me is my mother singing me lullabies – one stands out. As I was falling asleep, she would sing, “train whistle blowing” until I was “all bound to Morningtown.” That was around 20 years ago. I can’t remember all the lyrics but I remember it working. As a young boy, 3 or 4 years old, her singing calmed me. There’s something about your mother’s voice. My first memory was a positive one.
My next memory involves my Papa. Every year, my Christmas present revolved around what I wanted to be when I grew up. In some order, I wanted to be a construction man, a baker, a cowboy and finally, after watching my Papa sing and play his old steel guitar, I wanted to be just like him, a musician. I asked for a guitar and a microphone stand.
Recently, an old photo of us was dug up: it was the two of us singing, without a care in the world, while my Papa played his guitar. We both were wearing cowboy hats. The song we were singing was “Honky Tonk Man.”
At this point, I’m 6 or 7 years old. It was still a while before I would develop a musical taste of my own. I wasn’t aware of what separated one genre from another. I just knew that music made me feel good.
My next memorable experience with music was through the car stereo. My dad had a huge collection of CDs – I thought he had a thousand or more. They were neatly stacked and fit perfectly on shelving units. I was convinced they were organized but, looking back, I don’t think they were. A few years would pass before they were of no use – fitting in to my pocket and taking up something like 20% of my 80 GB iPod.
I’m getting ahead of myself – back to the car stereo. Even if he did have that massive collection, I remember maybe 6 of them. Coincidentally, that’s how many fit in to his car’s disc changer. I knew every word to most Gordon Lightfoot and Johnny Cash songs, OMC’s “How Bizarre,” INXS’ “Devil Inside” and a few more. Radio played occasionally but those CDs dominated my eardrums.
In my mom’s car the songs were a bit different but the memories are just as fond. We would sing along to Macy Gray, Remy Shand and Carlos Santana. I was starting to develop a taste for music but it was pretty limited to what those around me were listening to.
Then I discovered MuchMusic, and for a while, it was all I watched. Every day I would tune in to their top 30 MuchMusic Countdown show or MuchOnDemand at 5. At the time, a lot of my favourite music could be found on the Big Shiny Tunes compilations. The few that stand out are Big Shiny Tunes 4, 5 and 6. My favourite band was Blink 182. I’ve gone back and listened to their songs – it isn’t the same. My appreciation for them is strictly nostalgic. If they were a new band, I’d see a post about them and likely last 30 seconds before moving on to the next post.
It was different then. I would listen to songs all the way through and back to back for the whole countdown show. I eagerly anticipated what would play after the commercial break. Once I got to the top 10, my eyes were glued to the TV. I was 10 years old, I couldn’t have liked every song but I really enjoyed the experience. My love for music was growing stronger by the day – it was finally turning in to what I wanted to hear. I needed a way to listen it whenever and wherever. I asked for a Sony CD Walkman for my birthday. Now my musical listening wasn’t limited to things I couldn’t move around with: the car, the TV and the home stereo. I bought my first few CDs then I bought my last few CDs.
For a couple of years, I was loading my Walkman with burned CDs. It’s hard for me to remember the exact track lists of these mixes. If you ever find an old mix CD while cleaning out a room, don’t throw it out! You’ll regret it. It’s like a time capsule of your musical tastes.
It was 2003; my mom got a new computer and gave me her old one. It was more than capable for me to do my ‘homework.’ Not a lot of assignments got done. Napster had just been shut down. So, logically, I downloaded LimeWire. I had more access to music discovery than ever before. It was not long before everything in my musical world was flipped upside down. I got an iPod…
How has your love for music changed over the years?
Who or what changed the course of your musical journey?
What was the first album you bought a physical copy of?
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