enjoying music and everything

Just Music for KTSW

By Margaret Gallagher
Music Journalist

Sometimes you’ve got to give yourself over to instrumentals.

It’s no secret that music affects most greatly, but the influences of music are highly variable. Either encouraging you to dance or to cry, it all is seemingly dependent on your association to the messages. These messages, specifically the catalytic effect they have on our neurons, could be born of the elements of vocals that resonate with our personal sense of self, or simply a beat dirty enough to bring out the rhythm in you. Nonetheless, this innate rhythm tickles the flow state in all of us and, as I would argue it, can enhance our creativity, introspection and tranquility.

This past week I’ve been exploring the depths of instrumentalism (especially the stirring stuff). A collaborative playlist with good friend and colleague, Haley Ray, has really brought to my attention the breadth of genres that hide some of their deepest tracks behind the less-examined veil of instrumentals.

Song from Spotify: “Riot!” By Earl Sweatshirt


You don’t have to give up your hip hop vibes when listening to instrumentals- in fact, they grow stronger in this chill track.

A perhaps expected outcome of this fixation is a surge in my ability to multitask while ‘under the influence’ of no-lyrics music. Flow state is a psychological term that translates more familiarly as “being in the zone,” a headspace you experience when engaging in activities that you both enjoy and completely engage with.

This is why, with no concrete scientific evidence, I encourage you to turn to the instrumentalism of your genre of choice for a spin on your regular listening. By listening to music that moves you without the aid of vocals, mentally and physically, the ebb and flow of the pleasant vibrations can put you in a more receptive place for focused problem solving.

Song from Spotify: “Dope Nerd” by Keifer


This song is always in my homework-time rotation because I always bop along with the funky synth.

Creativity and introspection are products of an inward presence in the moment – undeterred by the stimulus of vocal messages, the mind can fit itself around music in a more individualistic, introspective way. For me, it’s easier to identify that singular feeling of peace as I traverse tasks, academic or personal, when my introspection is turned on.

The point is, we all need a boost as midterms and finals roll around and our resolves are tested. I say put on your headphones and feel yourself engage as you listen to the beautiful simplicity of instrumental music and, subsequently, listen to yourself.

Song from Spotify: “Abusey Junction” by KOKOROKO


It may be long, but every second of this masterpiece is musically satisfying and mentally engaging. Give it a listen now to elevate your mood.

Featured image via Creative Commons.

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