Changing My Music

By Sarah K. Perry

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I didn’t know how much I was affected by the music I listened to, but my brother’s mission set me on a path to greater happiness.

I used to listen to music at every possible moment. It got me up for seminary and then on to school. I couldn’t drive unless I had a CD to play. The thing was, the music I used to listen to was not happy. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it didn’t make me feel good.

I listened to it because it was cool, and because I always listened to it, I never felt good. It changed my attitude about everything I did, the way I saw the world and the people in it. I didn’t know how to get out of this cycle of negative emotion. It was a part of my identity, and there seemed to be no way out.

When my brother left on his mission, I was impressed by his willingness to adhere to the strict lifestyle so readily. He wouldn’t be able to choose whatever he wanted to read or listen to for two years. I thought about my music, and how I could be doing so much better. I decided that if he could go two years only listening to hymns and Primary songs, then I could at least reconsider my own listening habits.

It was hard, but I immediately gave away some CDs and threw away others. The music that I was so attached to was part of my high school identity, but thinking about my brother’s example gave me courage and resolve to change.

For nine months straight I listened to nothing but classical, instrumental, and easy listening. I noticed very quickly that I was happier, I thought more clearly, and my days seemed to go smoother. I was more prepared to feel the Spirit and learn in seminary each morning. My entire outlook on life changed for the better.

After my brother returned, I gradually started listening to some popular music, but I gravitated to positive, upbeat, and clean songs. Going through that musical cleansing period made me more sensitive to how music affected the way I thought and felt. I chose music that made me feel good instead of what was considered popular or cool. I know that these choices brought the Spirit back into my life, and because I have the Spirit with me, I feel lighter, happier, and I am able to enjoy life more fully.

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