I picked this book from the Trilogy Library section in Lower Parel just a few weeks ago. I finished reading it two days ago and I loved the book. I love the way it is presented, the way the author Victoria Williamson has really got into the soul of what it means to love music, and the way she made me understand why the music I listen to is so potent with meaning from my past experiences.
The subtitle of this wonderful book says it all: ‘How music reveals what it means to be human’ and that’s the message with well cited examples and experiments that proves it to us.
I am from a family that loves to sing. Everyone in my family sings very well and my Godmother even knows how to play the Yamaha keyboard. Naturally I too started my life, loving music, and even learnt to play the Yamaha keyboard and the guitar as an amateur player when I graduated from High School; but for the life of me I can’t sing at all. I can’t sing a single note of music to the pitch, tune, chord whatever; it’s like I’m tone deaf. So, when I saw this book, I was keen on reading it and finding out more about me and my music.
The book ‘You Are the Music’ is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It is self-revelatory and very well researched. However, there is no technical jargon at all in ‘You Are the Music’ that will put off potential readers. The book by Victoria Williamson is well presented in a systematic and intuitive way. It’s like the writer, who is a music psychologist herself, knows after every chapter what we as readers would like to read next concerning our music and our musical skills.
The book is awesome for everyone who loves music, to read. This book is not only meant for musicians but also those who listen to music at their work places, while working out at the gym, while typing on their laptops in a café, while going through a break-up during high-school, before the start of a race, et al. It’s also, of course, also meant for that vast majority of people who may not be musicians, amateur or professional, but who simply just love their music, and have made music a great part of their lives.
I found the book a captivating and fascinating read. It revealed to me a lot about the music that has made me the person I am today.
Victoria Williamson among many other subjects has focused on topics like:
- Playing soothing or classical music to babies in the womb
- The ‘music’ that a babe in the womb hears
- The teenage years of maximum commitment to hearing music
- The music of our past that makes us recall memories vividly
- Our ‘work’ music
- Our different types memories for music
- Music processing disorders, and so much else that you will be unable to put the book down.
I also found the answer to why I can play a musical instrument but can’t sing a note of music properly. It’s given in the book and since I’m not going to give any spoilers, I’m not going to mention – you’ve got to buy a copy of this book ‘You Are the Music’ by Victoria Williamson and find that out for yourself.
Ever felt that many times a song or many songs or musical jingles or tunes are stuck in your ears and you keep on hearing them till you get fed up? That question is answered in Victoria Williamson’s book. I am a person who has a tune of music playing in my ears and head for everything that I do. Meditation doesn’t work for me because of that; I just can’t stop the music being played 24/7 in my head and ears. This situation too is evaluated in this informative book and if you too are like me, you should check this book out and educate yourself about the music you love and live with.
I love the parts of the book where the author talks about musicians, because it reminds me of the music I used to strum on my guitar and play on my keyboard when I was in my teens and early twenties – it makes me feel blessed that I was able to do so because there are so many people out there who can’t.
I also love the way Victoria Williamson debunks many ‘myths’ we have about music learning and getting the musical ear, that I feel people who have these misconceptions should check out the book and get their misconceptions cleared out.
Those of you like me who are also animal lovers will love to read about animals who ‘keep to the beat’ in this book. It will make you smile and make you realize that we are almost like our ape brethren but also very much different and all this is especially true where our reaction to our favorite music is concerned. It’s our music that has made us human to a great extent. We have been working on it since pre-history and we’ve never stopped. Music is a part of who we are and who we will turn out to be in our lives. Music in a shopping mall or a bookshop influences our purchases and the rate at which we purchase our goods. Music is essential to drown out the tediousness of a boring job, the passage of time, and to vent out deep rooted feelings to become happier people.
There is no mention of any hocus-pocus in this book by Victoria Williamson. All her statements have been shown and proven by scientific experiments and facts which add a lot of substantial value to this amazing book about music. I love books that don’t focus on any hocus-pocus feelings or ideas which are not established by science and if you are of the same frame of mind then you will love ‘You Are the Music’. Some of the very interesting and knowledgeable themes that have been discussed in this book are:
- The prevalence of the ‘Mozart Effect’
- Music learning and the changes in our brain
- Specially-abled persons and the music that helps them in life
- Our motor actions and brain waves when we play our musical instruments
- Bi-musical brain, et al.
I was especially fascinated by the fact that indeed, I’m one of those lucky musicians and music listeners who have a bi-musical brain as the two different groups of music I listen to are Western music and Indian Music. I also actually listen to Persian, Iranian and Sufi music as well, but I’m not in a position to analyze how their music is played per se, but I know their tunes.
Victoria Williamson has mostly focused on Western classical music in this book so those of you reading this review who like western classical music will really love her personal examples in the book – the author being proficient in Western classical music. I prefer Western music more than anything. Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Pop, Acid Rock, Reggae, and Disco music are some of my favorite music types. I was constantly reminded about my choice of music while reflecting on this book which I’m sure you will too.
The ending of the book is beautifully done. I highly recommend the book to all music lovers out there, so that you get to know yourself better. It’s not a heavy read at all, though it’s packed with scientific experiments to prove certain points. But Victoria Williamson has done a brilliant job of it that can make even a non-science student interested in the book. This book is clean as it comes so can be read by pre-teens, teenagers and young adults as well without any worries. In fact, if you have a musical teen in your home you should gift this book to him or her and get them to know themselves and their music better. This book is meant for everyone to enjoy, reminiscence, and read as it is simply a work of pure perfection.
Kudos to Victoria Williamson on this interesting book. Hope to read more of her books and books about music in the near future.
Copyright© Fiza Pathan 2019