When I was in law school, I got into the habit of listening to Call Me The Breeze by Lynyrd Skynyrd the morning before every exam. The high-octane music, mixed in with some clumsy air guitar, got the blood pumping and charged me up for the challenge looming immediately ahead.
Thirty years later, music still sets my mood. I’ll thumb the iPod menu down to the Shuffle Songs setting for my morning walk, and the randomly selected songs I hear will stick in my head for hours, playing in a continuous loop during mental down time moments until a new song pushes them aside. And I can help that process by selecting songs to match my appointments for the day. If I’m going to be doing some careful analytical thinking, nothing can prime that high-end mental pump like the intricate melodies of J.S. Bach and his baroque music buddies. If I’ve got a deposition that might be contentious, I’ll try to soothe things in advance with some Coltrane. If I will be writing, I’ll look for something upbeat and flowing. And if I ever needed to storm the barricades, I’d play Rage Against The Machine’s The Battle Of Los Angeles.
Lately I’ve been playing waltzes and similar music from my Vienna Evening iPod playlist in the morning. As Stanley Kubrick recognized in 2001, waltz music goes well with motion and sunrises. The swirling sounds mesh perfectly with a whirl around the Yantis Loop and then some crack-of-dawn watering of the flower beds, as I move the fine spray of water back and forth to the rhythm.