The attention span required to compose, learn, play, and perform music is not a low bar entry. First, you need to concentrate for long enough to write a song. Then, depending on the genre, you might spend countless hours tweaking the production and mix. Then, if you’re like me, you’d want to learn how to play as many parts of the song as possible, and perform it with perfection and panache and some serious dance moves. Not to mention the attention needed to focus on an emotion and a feeling.
On the other hand, think about the attention span that is required of ingesting social media. Have you ever seen someone who stares at their phone and continuously swipes and likes, or even better, have you been that person? The amount of attention required of this activity is on quite the opposite spectrum as the type of prolonged, dedicated attention span it is required to make, play and perform music.
I read an interesting article a couple of years ago, about dopamine and instant gratification. Basically, whenever we are given an instant feedback to an action we take, the neurochemical dopamine gets released in our brain and causes us to want, desire, seek out, and search more of the same instant gratification so that more dopamine can get released and we feel good and makes us want, desire, week out, and search more of the same instant gratification and ….. you get the picture. With technology, this translates very well. A simple swipe or click on the smartphone leads to pretty pictures and gnarly sounds, instant gratification. Whenever I find my self being drawn to look at my phone when I’m making music, I’m reminded of this article.
I recommend taking note of the occasions when you find yourself opting for activities that require little attention span over creating music. Are your nerves too frayed from pressing the dopamine button without effort or discipline?
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