It occurs to me, as I drink my glass of wine and listen to good music, that they’re really very similar.
I got into wine just this year — that is, really got into the whole wine-tasting, nuance-appreciating, elitist snob kind of thing. I picked myself up a wine journal, read up on terminology and technique, even visited some Okanagan vinyards. Practiced my b.s.ing skills.
It came pretty easily to me, because I’d already refined some of those traits as a “Coffee Master” at Starbucks (where I work part-time). Starbucks sells over 20 kinds of coffee, and they all have their nuances. (When I talk about the differences between earthy coffees, nutty coffees, fruity coffees, coffees with hints of chocolate and a subtle spice, some people look at me like I’m crazy. But I get to wear a classy black apron at work, so I’ll live with it.)
They say you can appreciate wine more once you’ve trained your taste buds and can identify those complexities — rather than just drinking it as is and moving on with life. Which I do sometimes too.
And this, see, is where my connection to music comes in.
As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, one of the things I like about music is good parts for every instrument, a complexity that you may not get on the first listen, but which makes it more and more appreciable as you listen to it more and more.
And that’s just it. Both music and wine can be greatly appreciated on the first taste, on the casual consumption, with unthinking enjoyment. There’s nothing wrong with that. But then, when you really apply yourself, when you really pay attention to what it is you’re consuming (either auditorily or gustatorily), there’s so much more you can appreciate, so many different things going on that you can enjoy.
That hint of spice, that wandering bassline. That mouth-filling body, that powerful backing synth. That lingering aftertaste, that emotional impact.
And maybe that’s true for a whole lot of things. Poetry. A really good book. A landmark film. A myth. A gorgeous sunny day. A thunderstorm.
I enjoy all of these things. I enjoy them on their surface level, the first experience. And I enjoy them even more when I devote to them my full attention.
Life is full of complexity, and it’s a measure of the human capability that we can take the time and really experience it all if we so desire.