The Other I

January 14, 2009

“It’s good for you”

I grew up with the default setting that if something is good for me, I won’t like it.  And vice versa.  Dessert could be “earned” only by eating my vegetables first.  Forty days of Lent were required before Easter and four weeks of Advent before Christmas.  “Why do I have to?” was inevitably answered with “Because it’s good for you.”

And so it was with great delight that I read research which has been carried out in both America and Britain finding that listening to music for 30 minutes a day lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Even better, it improves mental capacities and helps in the process of physical training.

There is just one marvellous caveat.  The results are found only if a person is listening to music they like.  Not should like.  Or that the next generation up or down likes.  Or that ones partner or friends like.  In fact, listening to music I personally don’t like tends to cause stress, and has exactly the opposite effect of listening to music I do like.

Musical taste is intensely personal.  Even highly accomplished and educated musicians don’t all like the same kind of music.  So we shouldn’t be bullied by somebody else’s standards of excellence.

If you like it, it’s good for you.

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