December 2017

I used to ride a commuter bike to work to save on gas and avoid the hassle of finding parking. I would often be twenty minutes late looking for a good spot. No one wants to walk a mile to the end of the lot after a long day at work. But I am now selling the old faithful online as I don’t ride any more. How does one change habits just like that? I am now all about cycling. I made the decision not long ago because I was getting fed up with all the traffic and delays while watching people on their bikes riding past me in the traffic jams.

I now look forward to getting up and jumping on my commuter bike. I took the time to find the right model for my needs, and on my search I discovered The exercise on the way to work helps lift the fog of sleep. It gets me in the mood to be up and at it. It makes the whole process of going to work a lot more enjoyable. Now the car is now gone and has left a lot of space to use for other purposes. Who knew that it was that big! I have put some suitcases and duffels in the spot.

It is important to have a good selection of music on your phone or computer. A good library is essential so you can match the music to your mood. In the old days, people listened to the radio and put up with whatever was offered. I can do that if I am lazy and don’t want to even look at my phone. I am too busy checking early-morning emails and texts. I am not enamored with the local stations however as they all play the same songs. The powers that be who make these decisions must be the same people. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised. It is okay now and then. I might be in the mood for country, a genre that I do not have much of in storage.

In short, I live my life with music at all times. Some choices in the morning and some in the afternoon and night. It is like having a background to your own life movie. The score is written by you, an amalgamation of this and that that strikes your fancy. I get suggestions for new music and take changes all the time. It enriches my world with the magic of sound. I always wonder how other people operate. Are they as involved in music as much as I am? What do they choose and how long does it last? Fads come and go, but I have never been one to follow trends. I make my own without knowing it. I suppose I would be surprised if I looked at the list of artists I have listened to over the past month. What would it say about me? It’s a great psychological tool of self-awareness.

I am an outdoor buff and love to hike and bike. Rain or shine I am outside. There are scenic trails close by so that I can take a break from work as needed. I might swim in a neighbor’s pool or play basketball at the court in the park. One of the best times I’ve had in a long time was boating on the lake and riding in a towable tube. If you don’t know what I mean, then take a look here at some of them: It was a kick and we finished the day with loud music and beer on the shore. There is nothing like a full day out with friends having communal fun. Yes, we have music. I have made sure of it. I am in charge and I always come through. I live my live through music as many people do. It fits my mood or elevates in at the right time. Revved up or relaxed, it infuses me with happiness and energy. Thus it takes all kinds to satisfy my needs. I am by no means one dimensional. Call me an eclectic any time.

People often ask what kind of music I take because they know that I love it everywhere I go. In fact, I am known to ask people to recommend something new to listen to. The radio stations seem to play the same stuff. Maybe they are owned and managed by the same people with limited taste. If I want to control what comes in by ear, I resort to the Internet. It has taken over the old role of the radio in any case. If you watch podcasts and check out Internet radio and streaming music services, you will have a lot more from which to choose. The Internet is a music lover’s paradise with many accessible options. You can go back into the past as far as you like and rediscover old favorites. Imagine the freedom of creating your own stations. There is also the great benefit of previewing music at no cost before you commit. Streaming music is totally free. It’s a brave new world indeed. It takes me to foreign lands and totally new sounds. Bravo to the geniuses who invented Internet music sites.

You can take music with you wherever you go including in a towable tube. Ha! It was great to sit in the bouncy thing to the rhythm of cool jazz. It seemed to fit somehow. The beat is varied and creative. In a second you can be at one with hard rock and heavy metal. In a flash you are into classical music and bluegrass. Vocal music is at your beck and call. Even when you are without Internet connectivity, you can find a way to keep music going. A cell phone works well unless you are in a noisy place. The roar of a motor boat could be intrusive. You thus need waterproof Bluetooth speakers for days at the lake. Problem solved.

I used to waste a lot of money on CDs – I’d hear a song I liked on the radio and then, after shelling out a lot of money for the whole album, discover that there was only a few songs that I liked. So then I’d have to create my own CDs with the songs I liked burned on them. Once MP3s were invented, I could usually get the songs that I liked and just pay for those. However, I still had to listen to the radio and suffer through all those commercials before I heard new music that I might be interested in. Or I had to rely on friends will good musical taste to recommend something.

Music was a lot of work!

But now there’s streaming music! I pay for the service, but I get access to all kinds of music. If you’re new to the streaming music scene, here’s some options:

First, the big boys: Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, or Google Play. If you buy your music from one of these companies, you’re already familiar with their UI. It’s definitely worth the subscription. Amazon gives you lots of free songs to listen to, pre-designed playlists, and different radio stations. Plus my Alexa speaker works with it! On the other hand, Apple Music allows you to actually download the music and use Siri to control it. It also has stations curated by real musical artists and DJs. Google has YouTube and Google Home integration, and some good playlists and artist stations.

From a purely music service point of view, a name you likely know is Pandora. You select your favorite band or artist, and Pandora creates channels based on the stuff you like as well as new things that you might enjoy also. Spotify is another household name. Spotify has an amazing amount of songs available for the cost. I love being able to make playlists and share them with friends. There’s also Slacker radio, which has news and weather updates as well as live ESPN radio included with the service, so you get more than just music.

Speaking of more than just music, if you’ve got SiriusXM radio, you can pay a little extra and get the streaming service too (or you can pay separately for it.) You can listen to it in the car, through your Alexa, stream it over the internet, or listen on any device you can install the app on.

These streaming services give you a lot more freedom to listen to what you want, when you want, and where you want. No more paying for whole albums when you only like three songs. No more having to shell out tons of money to buy each individual MP3 you like and having to constantly upgrade your MP3 player to one with more space to hold all your music. Some of these offer a free version (with commercials) or a free trial, so you can give them a try to see what’s right for you before you pay for anything. For the price of a take-out meal or an overpriced latte, you can get all the music you want, curated just for your tastes!