Posted by: balladofyoko | May 22, 2008

Why Yoko Doesn’t Listen to Music

In thinking about writing this post, I was going to originally say, “see ‘Why Yoko Can’t Read’ and apply it to music.” But it’s more complicated than that.

Let’s start from the present and work backwards. I have an iTunes account, but I don’t have an iPod. I don’t like listening to music as I’m walking down the street, because I get distracted and I need to pay attention to walking because I’m a klutz. I also don’t listen to music on headphones at work because it’s distracting to me. I share an office with a co-worker, who has vastly different tastes in music, but as a rule, we usually don’t have music playing during work anyway. At home, I share an office with Lipby, and although we share more similar tastes in music, we don’t listen to things the same way. I often like to listen to an album from beginning to end, or listen to random tracks with a common theme. Lipby likes to listen to the same set of songs over and over again. I also don’t listen to music while I’m on the computer anyway (distraction again). The only time I really listen to music nowadays is when I’m in the car, which is 2-3 times a week. And even then, sometimes I’ll listen to NPR instead.

I haven’t bought new music in any form since, gosh, I don’t remember. Late 90s? I’ve been to orchestra/chamber music concerts sporadically, but I haven’t been in a bar listening to a band in about 10 years, I haven’t been to a stadium-sized concert since post-college, I think.

So, why don’t I listen to music? Because I haven’t been moved by any new music put out there in the past ten years? Because silence seems more comforting to me than putting on a CD? Because “background music” is often foreground music to my mind in certain situations because I focus on it to the point that I can’t do anything else? Yeah, maybe all of that.

I’m sure this all sounds weird, coming from someone who calls herself a musician. But since last week, when I discovered that I still derive great pleasure listening to music, it made me think that there is a part of me that does still find music to be nourishing to my soul, and that maybe sometimes it would be good to sit down and listen again– dust off those CDs and see which ones still move me. Maybe it would inspire to me to look for new music again too. And of course, it could only help with creating my own.


  1. Me too. I don’t listen to music, even though I have… 6 years of post-secondary music education. Why? Because to me it’s ‘work’ — I spent my formative years playing and listening to music not for pleasure but for studying. Now, when I listen to music I find myself analyzing it, and then I can’t concentrate on other things.

    I have an iPod and have started to listen to music on my walk to work — mostly Glenn Gould playing the WTC or Goldberg Variations. It’s amazing, but EVERY time I listen to the music I find something new in it. Then I seek silence for the remainder of the day.

  2. “Because I haven’t been moved by any new music put out there in the past ten years?”

    I used to think this is one of the reasons I rarely listen to music anymore but then I realized that if I wasn’t listening to music (particularly new and unfamiliar music) then I’d never find something that would move me. I’ve tried to make an effort in the past year or 2 to listen to online radio in genres that I like. I have found a few artists that I enjoy but I haven’t collected enough energy to buy anything by them. Actually the genre that has interested me most in the last few years has been mash-ups.

  3. Katia: it used to be work for me too. You know when it’s bad when you say to someone “that didn’t resolve back to the tonic! argh!” or when you can solfege to a tune you hear at Wal-Mart. Oh yes, geekery right here.

    Zanti: I’ve really been into mashups too. Can you suggest a place where I can listen to/download them?



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