Singing… my new iPod

The iPod is 10 years old. For some time, I was the only family member without one; rectified by a birthday present, despite my inept technology skills. I forced myself to take the time to learn how to download a few cds, mostly show tunes, and used the device when running.


Thing is, I rarely run alone; needing both the motivation and conversation friends provide. It sat in my desk drawer—the earphones never felt comfortable and I couldn’t be bothered taking it on airplanes.

Daniel J. Levitin, a McGill University neuroscientist, discussed the iPod’s impact in the New York Times. (

My reactions to some of his comments:

1. Listening to music through headphones affects hearing.

When I taught, I had students read newspaper articles about severe teenage hearing loss due to loud music, exacerbated by headphones.  Not sure anyone “listened.”

2.  Listening to music affects what we hear.

I love it when someone has headphones on and he/she has to shout to answer a question as if I’m standing on the other side of a canyon.

3. iPods change the way we “share” music.

Listening to music is social. Before everyone had iPods, we’d get into the van, slide in a favorite cassette tape, and enjoy songs and stories.  Many of the stories sung by folk singer Bill Harley became part of family lexicon; we still quote him to this day. (“You’re in Trouble”)

By the time our children were teenagers, they had their own music systems. We’d look in the back seat and see three kids either “plugged up” or asleep.

Other observations:  Wearing earphones is dangerous when crossing a street, driving, or riding a bike.  I can’t ask directions when people are in their own iPod world; I don’t want to interrupt. Babies and  toddlers are receiving less interaction from those pushing their strollers. Everyone is either talking on a phone or listening to music. Headphones, ear buds, and alien looking phone appendages prevent caregivers from commenting about animals, flowers, and bulldozers.

Recently I tried to use my iPod for a solo run. It didn’t work. My local computer shop confirmed its demise, and of course, it’s unfixable. Happy Birthday, iPod; I’m celebrating by not replacing mine. I’ll sing as a jog and listen to music provided by the birds.

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10 Responses to Singing… my new iPod

  1. I like the idea of singing while you jog. And what’s great is that the less musically inclined of us won’t bother other people because they’ll all be plugged in…


  2. Maggie L R says:

    I find I can\t listen to music while I am walking or running. My MP3 player (I am too cheap for an IPod) is reserved for some soft classical music while I lay in bed trying to drown out hubbys snoring.


  3. Well, I must admit I do not have an IPod. I have an MP3 player that has been quite soothing during my commute to and from Brooklyn. It really comes i handy on Saturday with the weekend riders. I have great music. Just downloaded Dinah Washington “Jazz Round Midnight” and “What a Difference A Day Makes.” Sweet music. Tina Turner’s The Best album gets me through 45 minutes on the elliptical. I am on my second one. Sorry, I can not give it up. My collection also includes Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Barbara Streisand and Luther Vandross. I am hooked.


  4. I haven’t got an Ipod, but I use my IPhone to listen to podcasts while I’m walking. So far I’ve got the History of the World in a Thousand Objects, World Book Club, The History of Mathematics (simple for duffers like me) and I love them. And the music? That’s for the treadmill, with the different rhythms keeping me going…


  5. madeline says:

    The only time I use my ipod is when I must use boring equipment at the gym. It’s too painful to be on the eliptical without something to motivate me (aside from promising myself a hot-fudge sundae at the end of the workout – which kinda defeats the purpose!). I even play games with myself; 10 songs more and then I’ll be done, or if I’ll listen to everything until I get ot Antigone’s “Michael” (wherever it may be on the i-pod) and then I’m done….
    I have oddly shaped ears and under NO circumstances can I wear earbuds. I have these doo-dads that are a smaller version of Princess Leia’s hair danishes; running with those is truly dangerous as not only can I not hear traffic, the things whip up and down as I run promising to break various cranial bones!
    It drives me crazy that i drive my daughter half-way across the universe for gymnastics meets, field hockey games, appointments and meet-ups with friends yet our only conversation during these endless car rides takes place during the time it takes to snap in her seat belt otherwise, she’s fully wired and tuned out to anything I have to say.
    We TOO still quote line from Bill Harley songs (You’re Not The Boss Of Me, Wacka Wacka Woo, Lunch with Mr. Olinick…) it seems the last relic of our days as a “family” unit before we were plugged in.
    During the riding portion of my triathlon last year, I found myself completely alone for a huge stretch of winding country road. For some reason, camp songs were running through my head – in order to get me throught the miles ahead, I sang at the top of my lungs! Who knew that singing about a dandelion or even the old “K-O-K-O-S-I-N-G’ refrain could ever be such motivators in the height of this digital era!


  6. Leah says:

    I have no iPod. But I’ve always enjoyed running and listening to music. Maybe I should get an iPod so I’d run more!


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