I was hoping for a few suggestions on reddit when I asked the world what I should listen to with my newly enhanced hearing… I got over 14 thousand responses. It took a while to go through all of them and the various websites the story branched out to. I’ve copied some of my favorite responses below. (If there’s no name it was an anonymous comment.)
Make the effort to hear some music, especially “less produced” genres like folk & classical, live. It is a completely different experience. For example, I don’t care for bluegrass recordings much, but am enthralled by live performances.
I truly hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive, but wow I envy your position. To be able to listen to the past century of music (and of course what was written before that) for the first time at a place in my life where I was mature enough to appreciate everything I was hearing for the first time, I would consider that a great gift. To go through the history of rock and roll and discover the evolution with your own ears – wow. If you’re taking recommendations on rock music, I’d strongly suggest Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys.
This comment was most likely buried on reddit, so here you go:
listen to film scores during movies. The effect of music during intense scenes is one of the most amazing experiences. Ever. Then, you might have a bit more appreciation for the **lack** of music or sound during movies.
I personally couldn’t survive without music, I’m so happy (in lack of a more intense word) that you can now hear music.
How about you listen to Queen – Don’t stop me now, seems like your theme song now
“Dancing” by Elise. It’s haunting and beautiful. The first time I heard it my entire soul kind of moved (if that makes any sense) and when I saw the first piece of dance choreographed to it I cried…
Seconding (or thirding, fourthing, etc.) recommendations for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. It’s long, about an hour, but it is epic (in the original, non-slang use of the term) in its proportions. This is one of the “classics” for a reason.
And it’s topical: written by a deaf composer, who while conducting (several bars behind) at its premiere had to be turned around by one of the soloists at the end of the piece so he could see the rapturous response from the audience.
Look, everyone’s going to overwhelm you with sentimental pieces – leading you to believe that there’s some elitist echelon of music that you’ve missed out on over the years. I’ll be real with you: few people wake up every day to hear Lacrimosa or the Ninth Symphony. Call these bases. People are taking you around the block. Be grateful for that. I’m not going to coddle, you need some music to get behind and experience first hand. Live music. Yes, you can see Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by X from Y University, or from the Z pops or orchestra. People our age are known to do this. I really hope you have a chance to see a symphony soon! You know what though, there’s a hell of a better chance that you can connect with our generation in a way you never thought possible if you throw the sentimentality aside and jump right into what’s now. Ask yourself where you wish you were living and figure out what people are listening to there. Take chances. Overcome adversity. Most music is fleeting and esoteric, like a fall fashion. You can pick it up like an old coat and smell an old relationship, some barbeque sauce, maybe pick out some dead maple leaves. You’ll learn this soon. This is what I’m wearing this fall. I think you’ll realize it was great music for October in a few years too.
You are in a great position right now, sitting with an open mind waiting for people to come to you with great music. I would make a big thing of this, though it is very easy to fall in love with certain genres. It would be very interesting to read the thoughts of someone with an open mind who has heard how music has evolved through the ages.
Portishead, you can feel it, as well as hear it. Oh do I envy you. Sometimes I wonder how much of what I love is only because it’s what people have told me to love. Pandora what you like, it will help.
This is like introducing an Alien to the music of Earth. I wouldn’t know where to start. Once you’re through your kick on Classical, I might start with music from the 50′s and progress through each decade. You can really see the growth of modern music like that.
God bless the brilliant minds that could provide you the opportunity to embark on this new journey.
Btw: There’s a line in an Alanis Morissette song, where she sings, “Why are you so petrified of silence?”, followed by a second of “silence”… it’s rather disquieting. I can’t imagine silence being comforting… but I do hope that technology advances far enough for hearing people to experience it as a refuge the way you’ve said you do.
Beethoven was totally deaf at the time he wrote his 9th Symphony. He had to rely on his memory of sound to compose his last pieces. He was totally deaf by 1814, and the 9th wasn’t commissioned until 1817. How truly remarkable is the human mind!
I find that it interesting that you describe music as “It was like seeing a color I’ve never seen before.” Classical musicians and listeners often talk of the “color” of the music. (I suspect jazz musicians do, too.) To color a piece, is to impart something to the music that goes beyond the notes that the sheet music indicates should be played. It refers to the tone, sound quality, sonority, or timbre of the notes as played. It’s part of interpreting a piece. And it’s what separates someone who plays something note-perfect and “nice sounding” from someone who can take the same piece and move your heart and mind.
Baraka is your favorite film and you’ve been watching it *silent?*
Holy cow. I’m color blind and it’s *my* favorite film.
Prepare to be blown away. I wish I could be there to share it with you.
not only about what to listen to, but where you listen to it.
if you have the luxury of being in a city with a great concert hall, one with great acoustics, I would suggest you go and see, hear, and feel the power of a symphony orchestra. it will be a world of a difference than just hearing it from computer speakers or headphones!
Karen R. S. says:
I guess every music suggestion you receive is like having all this strangers introducing themselves to yourself, cause that´s what music taste is about… it is so personal and it varies so many times through life´s contexts.
Go into the forest. Listen to the wind rustle the leaves; listen to the insects; listen to the silence. It’s wonderful. Go to the beach and listen to the waves. It’s a wonderful world. WallyO
My suggestion: Make your own music Austin. Then you’re appreciation of it will increase 1000 fold. Music from someone who has never heard music would be the most pure form of musical expression ever IMO. Enjoy it all Mr. Chapman…first instrument I would recommend trying is the Chapman Stick Seano,
I thank God for my hearing. But when I do get a silent moment, I thank him twice. Kevin B
As a singer, I can really appreciate this. Music is one of life’s greatest joys. I truly believe in the old quote “When words fail, music speaks.” Ebony Queen,
Listen to the people you love. If you had your hearing all your life and suddenly lost it, hearing their voices is what you would miss the most. Keith
I have a question.
But it can wait a minute.
Offering suggestions about what to listen to next is difficult. There are so many flavors of music and all of it is appetizing.
There’s nothing tastier than a perfectly grilled steak and glass of wine. Except, maybe, pepperoni pizza and a cold glass of beer. But, then again, the icy home-made vanilla ice cream my dad used to make just might be the most delicious food ever… aside from that one brand of chocolate chip mint that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Music is like that. Not only are there various genres of music to consume, but each artist adds their own personal genius to the batter. Who can choose between mom’s sweet and sour chicken dish and the Colonels extra crispy? Mozart is the best and so is Beethoven, and Billy Joel, and that one band that sings “Graffiti The World.”
All that said, if you enjoy “the sound of silence,” then you might rather like one of my favorite duo’s… Simon and Garfunkel who sing a song with a title by the same oxymoron. Seriously.
Which brings me to my question. For most of us (I’m assuming) who have always been able to hear, there is almost never really any silence, even when there is no noise. My mind is always filled with my voice as I think, saying the words in my head as I think them. Even doing math in my head, I might visualize the written numbers, but also “say” the number word I’m thinking of. When walking through the park on a warm, spring day you might think, as I would, that the flowers were lovely and that the weather was sunny and perfect. What goes on in your head as you think, “It’s such a pretty day!” Do you see the words as opposed to hearing them, or just think it without really putting words to it? Or, something else all together?
Please forgive my curiosity, but as somebody who can’t really comprehend silence, I can’t help asking.
I’m thrilled for you at being able to hear and enjoy music now. I can only imagine what it must have been like to experience it for the first time. We take so much for granted.
In response- That’s a great question. I actually use both thought processes, most times I’m visualizing the world in imagery but when I’m talking to people or writing my mind shifts to the english/grammatical thought process.
Silence helps both of these cognitive functions. My thoughts are more direct and responsive when I’m immersed in my world of silence. I encourage people to learn sign language because it helps the mind conceptize in new ways.
Again, thank you all for the responses, sharing the story or simply taking the time to read.