We all have a relationship with music. Whether we perform in a band or choir, learned piano as a child, or simply have a passion for a certain artist, music influences us all profoundly. You are The Music is a book written by music psychologist Victoria Williamson that explores how we relate to music and how it in turn influences us and helps us develop throughout every stage of our lives.
The book begins by looking at how we experience music in the womb and progresses through life, examining how we interact with it at different ages. We look at how music lessons can help children develop new skills, how music can help teenagers and young adults through times of emotional strife, and how it helps us as adults during work and play.
Victoria discusses musical memory and how these specific memories can survive even the most horrific brain injuries. She covers how music can help patients with all kinds of problems (including dyslexia, cancer, and depression) and how music is used in cinema to help us understand both emotions and events and even the current theories behind earworms.
Despite having an academic focus, the book maintains a light, conversational style that makes it easy to read and to dip in and out of. It avoids lumbering, dry prose and instead has the feel of listening to an enthusiastic friend talking about their passion over drinks; assuming of course that your friend remembers to constantly and accurately reference during their conversations. So many different studies are referred to that if my Kindle is to be believed, the final 20% of the book is taken up by the bibliography. Discussions of studies and their results are mixed together seamlessly with recollections from the author’s past; so when the book talks about studies on music as an adolescent coping mechanism, we learn about the song she cannot listen to any more without remembering her first great lost love. These stories help us connect with the ideas and results (who hasn’t got a song like that themselves?) and really makes the subject come alive.
I have no training in psychology and have never played music beyond weekly attempts in the classroom at high school. I simply have a long-lived and varied love of music from opera to metal and was interested in music as the soundtrack to my life. You Are The Music helped me understand music and my relationship to it in more depth.
I came away with an idea about why I love the incidental music of TV and film so much and an understanding of why I sometimes choose to torture myself by playing songs I know will make me cry. It also helped me understand why I choose to play certain songs during exercise, or when cleaning the house. This is not only a book about music, it is a book about you, and it might just be the best road-map to understanding myself that I have ever come across.
GeekMom received this item for review purposes.