Sound is everywhere. Unlike most of our other senses, sound is something we cannot entirely turn off in our world, and we take it for granted that our ears will never be at rest.
Think about it:
If you want not to see something, you can close your eyes.
If you want not to smell something, you can hold your nose.
If you want not to taste something, you can keep your mouth closed (and keep hold of that nose, as well).
If you want not to touch something, well… there we run into a bit of a problem.
Touch, of course, is the only other sense besides sound that we really cannot “turn off” at any point. Just as we cannot not feel the chair upon which we sit, the clothes on our back, or the breeze caressing our skin, so, as Julian Treasure has repeatedly noted, “we do not have earlids.”
Ironically, with this in mind, it is interesting to note that our sense of sound is also the sense we most often tend to forget to remember. Because it takes some significant effort to trigger it specifically, we allow and accept our experience of sound to be directed by those around us. We trust – if we think about it at all – that the music our favorite local wine bar or the Peruvian restaurant around the corner plays is picked to enhance our experience of the space, the food, the drink, and the general ambiance and mood of the place.
But is this true? Other than picking a nicely curated Pandora station based upon a few artists the restaurant owner (or host(ess) that night) appreciates, is there any sense that our soundscape experience is customized for us based on anything other than random chance and personal preferences? And isn’t this question even more poignant when we’re talking about celebrating something really important?
We rarely ask whether the sounds we listen to are appropriate for the experience we are having because we are not taught how to do so, or rather that doing so is something we should even begin to consider.
As I’m sure is no news to anyone living in the United States today, music education is an ever shrinking part of our children’s schooling nowadays, and so we cannot be surprised that most people’s assessment of their sound environment is disengaged at best, nonexistent at worst.
But why does sound matter so much, and why have I created an entire business about the importance of finding the right sounds – and tastes and smells and sights and touches – to fit the special moments and experiences in life? Because I have seen time and time again how pairing the “right” music to the right wine, the right food, and the right sweet treat in the right moment creates a stunning sensory experience that lasts far beyond the few minutes of that actual experience.
Whether you’re creating a team building activity for your office, a corporate event for the top performers on your team, hosting a non-profit fundraiser, or putting together a personal celebration to honor a birthday, anniversary, or other occasion, we know that adding a sensory element to the experience will ensure you and your guests remember the event long after the last person has left. Whether they’re able to recreate the wine and cheese pairing the following weekend by visiting their local grocery store or whether they begin their own musical journey based off of one or two of the selections presented, giving your guests an opportunity to immerse their five senses in your story will increase their engagement with you, your company, or your brand, with each other, and most importantly perhaps, with their own sensory palate.
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