Off Key Grammy Commercial

Like many of you I watched the Grammys this week. I enjoyed it to varying degrees. I love music of many kinds. I have to admit that I increasingly have to ask my teenage daughter “Who’s that now?” In general I prefer listening to watching and listening, but that’s another topic.

So here’s my issue for today. One of the commercials dissed one of my favorite things and it made me mad! I know I’m not exactly the target audience, and I know this is a music (re sound focused) event, but dissing silence? What gives? Sonos and Apple Music aired an admittedly well done ad that vilified silence in the name of promoting music. I don’t think that’s cool.

“Silence doesn’t feel like a creative place for me.” “I don’t like silence in the home. It just feels dead.” Really? How about a balance? What would music be without the silence in between the notes? What would art be with negative space? Conversation without pausing to listen? I think this commercial is a sad reflection on where we are today sonically. Music is an elemental, fundamental part of human existence. It feeds our collective and individual souls. But so is silence. So often we live in environments drenched in sound created by other people (or machines) without the counterpoint of silence, the pauses that allow us to connect with our own creativity, thoughts and feelings.

Silence is fertile. If we teach our children that silence “feels dead,” as Killer Mike says on the spot, we teach them that it’s not valuable to make time to pause and listen to the spaces in between things that already exist. Yes, encourage them to make their own music, sound, art, articulated thought, (and also to appreciate what others have created), but please also model for them that time for peaceful reflection and stillness has inherent value. Time honored traditions (see any world religion) and research (recent NYT article about how meditation changes the brain and body for example) consistently show us that they do.

I started to warm a little watching the images in the ad of families dancing around while they made dinner or did random stuff. I do that sometimes, that looks like fun, right? Then Killer Mike is back with a voice over saying, “Silence is the enemy of a happy home.” Um. No. Music is awesome. Silence is golden.

Thank you for listening. I’ll be quiet now, and I’d love to hear what you think.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Wishing you a peaceful heart,

Mara

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