I don’t know if New Age music is still as popular as it once was a number of years ago, but it has certainly resurfaced in prominence in my life for several reasons.
About four years ago, I wrote a post about the different genres of Music I had listened to over my lifetime. The CD shown above is the one that introduced me to New Age music for the first-time, hearing it playing in a mall store many years ago when our children were young. Using it as my guide to many New Age artists, I began to expand my collection. My kids still have fond memories of me buying this Suzanne Ciani CD while we were on vacation in Atlanta and listening to it as they fell asleep in our hotel room.
The artists that I gravitated to early were Suzanne Ciani, Yanni, Enya, and David Lanz. I found the music to be very peaceful, relaxing and soothing.
As explained in that previous post, I moved on from New Age music to Jazz music which has now become my “go to” music form for long term listening.
As my music listening technology progressed from buying CDs to satellite radio to digital streaming sources, I began almost exclusively using Pandora and this service exposed me to many great jazz songs and musicians that I had never heard of before. It gave me an inexpensive opportunity to try new musicians at little cost (To avoid commercials, I opted for the $5 a month subscription; still I consider the best five bucks I’ve ever spent) and some of my favorite pieces today, I discovered through this route.
I don’t recall what prompted me to create a New Age radio station on Pandora since I mostly listened to Jazz at the time but in 2009, I began to revisit New Age music when I created a Suzanne Ciani radio station on Pandora. At first it played many of the same musicians I was familiar with as if it somehow was knowledgeable of my collection. But then I began to notice new remarkable musicians being played and with the “Thumbs up” feedback, began to hear even more new musicians.
Thanks to Pandora, I became exposed to and enjoyed Tim Janis, Jennifer Thomas and many others.
My list of favorites expanded significantly following that first exposure and in no time, had heard many new fine musicians.
But then I moved away from New Age again and returned to my jazz favorites.
Then this year, I learned that my oldest son’s daughter had become fond of New Age music and her favorite song that she plays over and over again is one from that original Suzanne Ciani CD that he heard many years ago in Atlanta.
And then, while driving my wife’s car, I heard a children’s radio station she had created on her Pandora feed that included almost exclusively New Age music. Our granddaughter that lives in town and rides a lot in my wife’s car has begun to listen to that and she and my wife have both enjoyed it, describing it as very peaceful sounding music.
And so, I began to play my Pandora Suzanne Ciani station for her whenever she rode in my car. It seemed to have a very calming influence, a highly desirable side-effect for a 4-year-old that doesn’t understand about traffic jams and delays getting home (you should try it if you have a four-year-old strapped in a car seat and have to deal with rush hour traffic).
On a recent trip this year with my oldest sister, this same station came on when I plugged in my phone and she enjoyed it so much we listened to it almost exclusively. In fact, on our 9-hour drive home, we listened to nothing else and when she got home, she created one on her Pandora feed as well.
So, it should not have come as a surprise to me recently when my oldest grandson was in town for a visit and after just a few minutes of listening to these New Age songs while riding in my car, he too proclaimed it absolutely beautiful sounding.
But returning to my original question about whether or not New Age music was still as popular as before, I have to say that for all three of my grandchildren who can talk, they have all described the music similarly. I suspect that it may definitely make a resurgence as ragged parents rediscover what a calming effect it can have on overly active and loud children.
And now that I am listening to that Pandora station frequently, I’m learning even more new musicians as well.
So, it will definitely be one of my frequented stations as long as I am carting around grandchildren—calming and relaxing music that we both can enjoy!