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Where words fail, music speaks


Written by Jack Breith

Within everyone’s life comes a time or experience that pushes us beyond our own emotional capabilities. Whether it’s a feeling of extreme joy, pain, love or even confusion, it is often hard to find words that summarise or detail how we feel in that moment.

For me, this time unfortunately came in a moment of sadness when I had to attend a funeral.

As I sat in the silence of the church the room suddenly sprang to life via two  speakers placed either side of the crematorium. From these large speakers came the first lines of a song; ‘A Drop In The Ocean’ by Ron Pope. To this day, it is a song that will draw the rawest emotion from me and evoke a response that no other song could replicate.

I learnt that we are not invincible. Emotion is not a bad thing, yet it can be one of the hardest things to embrace in our darkest or most joyful moments. Music tells us stories, takes us away from our daily routine, and helps us access parts of our brain that we had forgotten even existed.

Here at Berkeley, music plays a key role in our day to day lives as one person will volunteer to play records old and new from a speaker that sits central within the workplace every day. Though the music tastes within the office are an eclectic mix of goldies, ‘old-school bangers’ and modern pop/rap music, everybody has a song or artist that will take them back or bring a specific emotion out of them.

For Chris Plant, the band is Blink 182. For Aaron Frank it is Paul Weller and for Bill Thomas, this is almost definitely someone Jamaican.

This wide range of music exemplifies the personal nature of music tastes, as each colleague mentioned could provide a story as to why this is their choice.

My point is that we often do not give music the credit it deserves. Music has a power to draw out stories that other art forms may lack, and as our key principle at the company is to embrace the power of story, I feel that it is key to capitalise on this power in order to improve our daily efforts with clients.

Imagine a world without a radio in your car, or without a playlist on your phone. These day to day niceties that we take for granted is an easy route towards achieving a sense of experience and levity that we all strive for.

My message is not to relentlessly listen to music that makes us sad or angry, but to appreciate every emotion that a song can bring out in us as we hear it. Begin your day with something that will make you feel positive about the shift you are approaching in the office. If you feel mournful, don’t shy away from it, or if you are angry at the countless other people all sitting in front of you in the morning rush hour, channel it by listening to a song that shows how you feel.

We are all guilty of taking music for granted (especially myself), purely due to the sheer amount of genres, artists and styles in the industry and this is something that is very easy to change. With a few simple techniques that help you embrace emotion and find stories within songs, we can all begin to change the way we view day to day situations.

This view can help you to become a better storyteller, as it connects you to your own emotion and allows your creative juices to flow more naturally.

To conclude, don’t shy away from emotion that is often difficult to put into words. If you don’t like talking about a subject, look for a song that details the way you feel inside. Listen to lyrics not for their artistic prowess, but to uncover the truly emotional message that the artist was aiming to convey.