Wake Up Mr. West!

Growing up, music was always a huge part of our household. On the weekends, we would wake up to my dad whistling his favorite tunes and classics from WOW Gospel blaring from our sound system. We would sing and dance to the music, and I can attribute my love for music to those moments. Music is often described as a universal language, and I appreciate the power of music. The score that accompanies a movie scene can help make it scary, and the classical piano during a wedding party’s first dance can bring the attendees to tears. It is incredible how music affects our emotions and health. I came across an article the other day on the John Hopkins Medicine website, and there is research to corroborate that listening to music can “reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.” With all the information surrounding the positive benefits of music, there is wisdom in using music to create an atmosphere to start your day.  

It is easy for me to find a song to suit my mood. When I want to cry, dance, or even entertain guests, there is a song for that. I am learning that how I begin my day usually determines how the rest of my day plays out. If I oversleep, it is easy to become annoyed and feel behind as I try to make up for all the lost time. If I wake up to sad news or a sudden death, my day is filled with trips down memory lane, phone calls from family and friends, and an overall sense of sorrow. So, I began to ponder this question: What happens if I start my day with a song?  

I believe everyone should have a “wake-up song.” A wake-up song should be a song you play at the very beginning of your day. Having a wake-up song is much deeper than feeling good. It is starting your day and creating a powerful atmosphere in your space. When you pick the song, you should factor in the lyrics and overall composition of the music. It should be a song that not only sounds good to your ears, but is also a bit complex so that your brain must work to really understand what it is hearing. The lyrics should have meaning so that you feel empowered to start your day. Many people play music in the morning, but they are not sensitive to the kind of music that they introduce into their space. Play music that not only excites your body, but your mind and spirit.  

Currently, my wake-up song is Open Up by Dunsin Oyekan. I love starting my day with this song because the lyrics challenge me to be great all day. “Channels of my spirit, Open up!” “No boundaries, no limits, open up!” These are just a few of the lyrics, and when I sing along in the mornings, I find myself jumping up and down in my bathroom. The lyrics dare me to believe that I can do anything I set my mind on and that there is a huge calling upon my life. I appreciate everything about this song, including the instrumentation. Keep in mind that your wake-up song is for you. It does not have to be music that other people understand or enjoy, and if you are having trouble picking a wake-up song, I have created a brief list of things to consider:  

  1. What do you have your mind on during this season of your life? 
  • In life, there are seasons. Our goals change which means that the things we focus on will likely change as well. Your selection of music should highlight the theme of your day/season. For me, I am currently focusing on my “oneness with God.” All this means is that I want to think, talk, act, and look like God. I felt that the song Open Up embodies those feelings, and the lyrics emphasize the artist’s closeness with God and the lack of boundaries to reach him. Everyone’s needs are different, so carefully analyze where you are in life to help determine what song would best suit you. Some people are in a season of learning to let go of grudges. For them, I would suggest selecting a song that speaks on forgiveness and freedom. Others may be struggling with lack of gratitude, so I would say to focus on praise music or songs about being thankful.  
  1. What type of music excites you? 
  • Fortunately, the world is filled with unique artists that may talk about the exact same things but in completely diverse ways. This allows us to get our fulfillment from music in a way that sounds good to us individually. Not everyone enjoys classical music, rap, country, alternative, etc. Do not feel like you have to pick a mainstream song for it to be impactful. Personally, I like choirs and harmonies, so often I pick songs that feature this so that I can sing along with the various parts. You may love drums, acoustic guitars, or even violins. Whatever it is, look for music that excites your heart. I know hundreds of songs where the lyrics are awesome, but the composition is just not my cup of tea. Remember that this is a song you are going to listen to when you wake up, so you want to be sure that it puts you in a great mood and does not annoy you.  
  1. Do you value variety or consistency? 
  • What I have found with my wake-up song is that it has become a prayer or mantra that I recite daily. This happened naturally because I listen to it every day, so the lyrics became a part of my routine. In this case, I value consistency. However, you may be someone who cannot listen to the same song constantly because you may get bored or tired of it. In this case, I would suggest creating a playlist of a few songs that have the meaning you need and excite you so that you can shuffle them each morning. There is nothing wrong with this approach as it keeps the music fresh in your brain. I can attest that sometimes listening to the same song continuously can easily make it your most hated song, so definitely do not burn out on an amazing song if you are this type of person. A playlist can ensure that all your songs get a good bit of playtime.  

As always, I want to leave my readers with a challenge: Pick a wake-up song or create a wake-up playlist and try this out for the rest of the year. Please let me know how it goes and if you believe it has any impact on the course of your day. As a treat, here is a link to my short wake-up playlist for anyone needing suggestions on songs to use: Happy listening!