The Exercise Analogy
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
There’s this weird idea some people have about music. That it’s something that some people have, and others don’t. That some people are born to be tall and some are born with blonde hair, that others are lucky enough to be born with music in them and others just aren’t. But that’s simply not true. Music is in everyone. It’s all around us in everything we do, see and feel in our entire lives. We use it to teach our kids the alphabet and to lull them to sleep. It’s in our celebrations and our mourning. It is in the rhythm of our beating hearts. Music is for everyone and anyone can do it. It also really doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it for the effects to kick in but the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more hidden benefits you’ll reap.
When someone tells you, they play 5’s on a Tuesday night with the lads from the
office, you understand right away that it really doesn’t matter if they’re any good at football. You get that they are doing it for several reasons that all relate to health in some way.
When I talk about health, I’m talking about the five dimensions of health;
Now, I’m no football fan, but even I can recognise how all five of those categories are impacted on by the beautiful game. The comradery, teamwork and banter. The raising of heart rates and burning of fuel. The anguish of a loss and elation of a win. The focus to trace the ball, predict what other players will do next and the physics to calculate angles, velocity and pressure at speed. And being part of more…a network of supporters…a family…a people.
You know that sport and exercise are good for you.
So why don’t we think of music in this way?
Some people look at music as this thing that is unattainable. They say, “oh no, I’m not musically gifted” and insist that they can’t sing. But if you can speak, then you can sing. That is essentially all that singing is… speaking in rhythm and key. It’s moving a muscle in a certain way, just like running is. Playing guitar is moving particular muscles in a particular way, just like swimming is. Those who are talented are those who have invested hours upon hours of devoted training. You might think there is no point in learning guitar because the amount of time and effort you would have to invest to play like Jimi Hendrix is unrealistic so, you think wasting your time. But that shouldn’t matter. Few of the athletes at Soccerworld on Tuesday night are aiming for global stardom, and you’re not expecting them to. When they started out, they weren’t great but after a few weeks they were able to breathe a little better and push themselves a little further. After a year or so of persistent attendance they realise they’re getting pretty good and the more time and effort they invest, the better still they become.
There is a tremendous pressure on people to be instantly spectacular from the minute they pick up a musical instrument. As a result, half of the non-musicians say they wished they’d learned an instrument and the other half wished they’d never given up? And we just accept that? But if I told you I was feeling a bit out of shape and that I’m concerned about my weight and the future of my health, you might invite me along to 5’s or suggest I get out and do some sport…so why do you think music is any different.
Get out and do some music. Reap the rewards. Engage yourself in a diversion. Start off light and hey, if you find that you’re getting pretty good, maybe you could invest more time and effort. You might argue that running and kicking a ball into a net, is far simpler a task than performing Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor and I’m inclined to agree with you. Start with singing. Practice. If you’re voice sounds a bit rusty, seek advice from singers you know or YouTube tutorials. I can assure you; you will benefit from it. Socially, physically, emotionally, cognitively, and culturally.
Come and play.
“engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion” Vocabulary.com
“engage in without proper seriousness or understanding” Google Dictionary