Make Better Music 32: Losing your internal music player?

make better music. Trebuchet magazine
make better music. Trebuchet magazine

I recently experienced an event that would normally be considered a tragedy, but which instead brought unexpected enlightenment.

My nice headphones, the ones I listen to music on when I’m out and about, got squashed by a rogue chair leg, after the cable caught on my leg and they were catapulted at alarming speed onto the floor.

This terrible event caused me much consternation. However, the temporary, enforced, lack of music being pumped into my brain whilst travelling made me realise something, or more accurately: remember something.

I remembered when I didn’t have a portable music player. What did I do when I was walking, or on the bus/train/bike?  I either imagined new music, or used my imagination to “play” pieces that I liked. 

At that moment I put my imminent headphone shopping trip on hold. Some interesting memories came back; I used to plan and write songs in my head while out walking. Now I just pump tunes in. I used to work out the chords to songs while on the train. Now I just pump tunes in. I used to… etc.

You get the pattern here I’m sure.

What really came back to me was how much more I relied on imagination back then. I had to use it, whereas it’s easier not to these days.

I’ve decided to take away that little modern luxury and stop pumping in the music non-stop. In effect, letting my ears and mind rest, and like a paddle steamer slowing and going into reverse, let my mind recover and start pumping music the other way!


Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday. Catch up here.
Image: Francesco Marino /


About Dave Graham 70 Articles
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini's Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov's excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.

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