Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Loud Music Interferes With Community Building

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

I’m frightened and also tired of being bombarded with loud music in restaurants, festivals, parties, and other places where people are gathered for more than just listening to music. Although even in concerts where everyone is there to hear great music, I usually whip out my ear plugs that I keep on my key chain. I’ve left plenty of events earlier than planned just because it is too hard to talk, I’m tired of yelling, or the loud music is just so uncomfortable. I also know that listening to any noise above 85 decibels for an extended period of time can cause permanent damage to my ears.
Amplified music has always been a part of your life if you are under under 60 or 70. The dangers of load noises has been known for decades, but we haven’t done nearly enough to make people aware of it or taken measures to protect our easily damaged ears. Almost 20% of middle aged Americans have some degree of hearing loss, and by age 75 the number is almost half. “Of the roughly 40 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, 10 million can be attributed to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).”

This is no small issue. This profound quote is attributed to Helen Keller:

“Blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people.”

Loud music in social settings cuts people off from being able to talk and interact comfortably. Too much noise makes it hard to be part of and support the building of community.

And then, exposure from noise and loud music (above 85 decibels) causes hearing loss, and even greater potential social isolation.

I recommend that everyone carry ear plugs at all times, and use them. Specialized versions are available that decrease sound, without distortion. They are inexpensive, under $15.

Get a decibel meter for your phone. I’ve been using dB Meter Pro for my Iphone and it works very well. There are also plenty of free apps.

Ask restaurants and other venues to turn down the music. Ask restaurant reviewers to give a rating for sound quality with their review. Use your smart phone meter, and if it’s too loud move or leave. And tell them why.

Consider buying stock in Costco (which has some of the best and cheapest hearing aids) or other hearing aid companies and those who make cochlear implants. Because this is an industry that is certain to grow as baby boomers raised on loud rock and roll grow older. I’m only guessing, but it seems like a reasonable projection.

I’m partially sensitive to this topic as I’ve watched my dad struggle with his profound level of hearing loss. It has caused him to be more isolated, and less willing to be with old friends and his family. His hearing loss makes communication more difficult when interacting with health care workers, law enforcement, and in other critical situations. He has recently published a short book to help others cope with hearing loss – “Adapting to Hearing Loss”. It is an inexpensive and practical guide from the perspective of someone directly affected. These are not the kind of tips an audiologist would give you.

Building community is important. Let’s turn down the volume so that it is easier and less stressful to connect. And so that we’ll be still able to share stories and words in the years to come.

Oh Wonderful Music

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I like Bobby McFerrin, and this is part of the reason why. He just thinks in wonderful ways. And helps us to get there too. Thanks to my facebook friend Michael who posted this!

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Community Events

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’ve been part of three very varied and pretty significant community events yesterday and today. Certainly worth noting, and also celebrating events that are intended to build community, acknowledge the importance of community, and to just have fun as a group.

The Annual Huron River Watershed Council Baseline Swim was Sunday morning. Over 40 people swam, and then there were kayakers, canoeists, and a few others in boats to keep us safe. I love it when the motor boats appear in the channel, rev up for a high speed launch into the lake, and the sheriff roars over and stops them dead in their tracks. Yeah!! Swimmers win for that one hour.

Some used the swim as a race, and some of us just enjoyed the perfect morning. I wasn’t the last this year. But I was the slowest. The last to finish got in the water well after me!

So I swam a mile, and loved it.

Today, I joined Mark Braun for his Joybox Express bike ride from Chelsea to Ann Arbor to the Townie Party before the Art Fairs. It was a great ride, straight down Jackson Road, all the way to Main Street. More than 25 people took part. We caused some back up going through the construction on Jackson, but that was also the point!

I dive my truck to the lake with some stuff and my bicycle. I left the truck there, and took off on my bike to Aberdeen Bike Store, where the group ride would begin. I was cruising down the wide shoulder of M-52 in my highest gear, and when I went to shift to an easier gear it wouldn’t shift. And it just wouldn’t. I got off and tried to do it manually, no luck. So I biked into and through town unable to shift.

I feared I would miss the ride, but a sweet guy at the Aberdeen Bike shop immediately set to work, diagnosed the problem, put on a replacement shifter, and hardly charged me. And said if I didn’t have the money with me I could come back and pay for it. Fabulous service. And the shifter works better than ever! And what immense luck, to have it break on the way to a bike store. I’m very lucky.

The third event was the townie party. A much more massive thing — but similar idea and energy. I enjoy it until I got too tired to stay longer. But I was grinning like a mad woman from how good it felt to do the ride.

Inspiration, fun, connections made, and a very feel good experience from all three events. And it is so much fun to bike or swim or hike (or parade!) with a bunch of people. I really enjoyed these events. I feel tired and well used.

I do love Ann Arbor (and nearby as well…)

Ken King

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Rather than repeat myself here, it would be easiest just toread the tribute I wrote for him at The Ann Arbor Chronicle. I was hoping the Chronicle would write about his death, and Mary said they were swamped with other projects. Would I? A wonderful synchronicity of people places and timing then unfolded, and the article nearly wrote itself. Of course.

I hope this is just one of many tributes for this remarkable man who has really touched so many and made a wonderful difference in the world.

Birthday in May

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

I sort of skipped over this event, because the week just got away from me. But it was a much anticipated, planned, thought about and large event in my life. So it deserves some notice and a few comments.

My 50th birthday was in February. Not much to do with a winter birthday but sit around inside and eat cake. Although I now recall that the teacher mentioned in my earlier block post today was there for my 16th birthday at Farrels. They were in Briarwood mall at the time, and it is an ice cream and cake sort of place. If it si your birthday they come out and sing to you with lots of noise and attention, give you some great ice cream treat, and everyone gets to be silly.

That works even in winter.

But I wanted to be out with friends, I envisioned a sort of parade. So I decided to celebrate three months later – May 3. I arranged for music – and ended up with some really fine musicians. I bought 3 dozen bottles of bubbles. I made great food, including five kinds of cheesecake. And I invited a lot of people. And, I made it a fundraiser. For Growing Hope.

We walked to the park in front of the Co-op, although there was also one unicycle! Once there the music continued and I served cheesecake to everyone, even the innocent bystanders. That was fun.

I’m not sure many people knew totally what was going to go on, maybe just a few of my closest friends. But about 50 ended up being part of at least one part of it, and nearly half did it all.

There are some great photos on facebook. And The Ann Arbor Chronicle weaved it into a larger story.

I’m glad I risked being silly. I’m really glad to have found such great musicians willing to play. I’m really happy to be 50. And most of all, I’m really happy to live in this community and have so many extraordinary people in my life. Wow. It is great to take that moment to say yeah, this is something. I feel well celebrated, well loved, and really happy I did it. Money is still coming in for Growing Hope, I’ll post the total later. It isn’t inteh thousands as I originally hoped. But a nice contribution and many people heard about this organization who wouldn’t have otherwise!

And I have lots of left over soap bubbles for the summer. And there was a lot of left over cheesecake, a week later, one piece remains. And no, I didn’t eat it all myself.

Another Facebook Find for Passover

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

A facebook friend posted this video. A very catchy song, really, and the video is clever.
So for my Jewish friends who are celebrating – I may even indulge in a bit of whole wheat Matzah with some home made horseradish. That’s my favorite thing to do with Matzah.

drumming and home invasion

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A facebook friend had this video on his profile. Sure makes simple objects have a whole other meaning.

Singing You Tube videos

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

This first one is just so amazingly bad. I can’t imagine anyone being able to show less interest. I wish I knew where she is now. I couldn’t post it on Xmas, it seemed too cruel. But now – enjoy.

So there is the utter and complete lack of talent, followed by 6 minutes of real talent and a really fun performance. I was smiling with this one.

Even for my pop culture clueless brain I got most of it and loved it.

A song to end the year

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

From Monty Python. Providing that wonderful perspective.

It will put you in a better mood, certainly!

(Sorry – haven’t figured out how to embed music… )

Haunting music

Friday, December 12th, 2008

First, here is a link to a performer who uses ice as his instrument. It reminds me of the adventure on Long Lake last January when the ice was singing – like a thousand crystal glasses be played, of frogs in the spring.

And this video and music are deeply wonderful. Strange. Evocative.