Vail Valley: Music is more than just bubble gum for the ears |

Vail Valley: Music is more than just bubble gum for the ears

Consistent with the theme of my past two columns about listening, I thought I would discuss more of what we listen to – in this case, music.

In the world of motivational speaking, training, education, and development there are some authors and experts who say if we really want to grow personally and professionally we should only listen to motivational, educational, and inspirational material. They say anything else is just bubble gum for the ears.

With no disrespect to my mentors, I say motivation, inspiration, and education are in the eyes – or in this case, ears – of the beholder.

Music for me is extremely motivating and inspiring. My musical tastes are a bit eclectic as I enjoy many different genres, artists, and sounds covering the past couple of centuries. Thank God for Sirius XM Satellite Radio and my iPod. And as those close to me will testify, I am a bit stuck in the 1970’s. So be it.

Because I am in the training and speaking industry, I do take time to listen to learning programs while I drive, but then there are times when I just need to get into the music, crank up the volume, have some fun, and sing along (which could be painful for anyone within earshot).

Classic rock tocClassical, reggae to country, christian rock to christmas, New Age to folk, it’s all good, and my mood or the activity will dictate the tunes that get turned on. This week I was all over the Sirius XM Satellite Radio map, catching Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland,” Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You, I Don’t Want Nobody Baby,” Alan Jackson’s “That’d Be Alright,” Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitudes,” Leeland’s “Follow You” with Brandon Heath, Pink’s “Sober,” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.”

As I listened to Alan Jackson’s “That’d Be Alright” the lyrics struck me as incredibly fun, motivational and inspirational: “If everybody everywhere had a lighter load to bear and a little bigger piece of the pie, we’d be livin’ us a pretty good life, and that’d be alright. They’d go heavy on the good and light on the bad a hair more happy and a shade less sad, turn all the negative down just a tad, that’d be alright.”

Not long ago my kids cut out a cute cartoon and hung it on my computer. The cartoon has a man staring at his IPod and his computer, with his children standing next to him. Then one of the children says “There is nothing wrong with your IPod dad, it’s just too embarrassed to play the music you have loaded on it.”

I admit I am still struggling with some – maybe most – rap music – I just can’t seem to get past the profanity. I will say that my kids have turned me on to some really cool music and soundtracks from some of the fre style skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking videos and movies. If you haven’t checked these out, give it a shot; I think you might enjoy them too.

I look forward to adding to my diverse music library, so whether it’s Bob Marley, Yanni, Keb Mo, Beethoven, Jimmy Buffet, Lady Gaga or your church choir, I would love to hear what types of music you listen to, what gets you fired up, motivated, and inspired at and let’s make it a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of His weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily usually appears on Mondays.

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