why I listen to ABC Classic FM

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to my favourite radio station, ABC Classic FM. Yes, classical music. Who would’ve thought?

There’s some lively piece of music playing at the moment – something that energises and awakens – so fitting for this time of the morning (late Sunday morning, although I’ll publish this later in the week). I didn’t pay attention to the introduction, so I can’t tell you what the piece is called or who composed it or who is playing it, but it’s delightful and feels like the perfect thing to be listening to as I write. 

I started listening to ABC Classic last year, around the time when I moved out to live on my own. I’m not sure exactly what put me onto it at the time, but one contributing factor was that I found I could not stand listening to “normal” radio anymore. By this I mean the stations that play pop music – or, more accurately, the stations that play lots of ads, some talk-back, and some pop music.

I could not stand ads. And they’re always the same ads.

ABC Classic FM still has ads, and they’re often the same ads from the last ad break, but they seem fewer and further between. The ads are also often just for the station itself, or related things like their Listen app. In these cases, the ads feature the station’s usual presenters and perhaps snippets of music, so, if I’m not paying close attention, I hardly even notice that we’re in an ad break.

And the best part is that all their voices – the voices of the various presenters they have throughout each day – are so soothing, so even if they talk for a long time, it’s not disruptive. Their presenters all have what I call “story-telling voices”. This is the kind of voice that a lot of teachers, school librarians and documentary commentators have – the kind of voice that speaks gently and at a measured pace. They could be talking about something absurd, but because they’re using a pleasant storytelling voice, you don’t care, and you sit and listen.

And for those who might be thinking of that playlist I’ve mentioned somewhere previously – the one that I’ve been listening to for about two years now, with the same songs, never getting sick of them – let me add that I do still listen to that playlist. It’s just that I like to conserve my phone battery, and it feels excessive to turn on my laptop just to play music, so I listen to the radio instead.

I’ve been trying to encourage others to try listening to classical music more often, but I know it’s not for everyone. Some people find it dull and boring (I used to be one of those people). Perhaps it just has to be the right time for it. Sometimes I wonder if there’d be less road rage if everyone just listened to classical music when they commuted.

Occasionally, though, I try listening to “normal” radio again because I wonder what new music I might be missing out on, or I just crave pop music. But that doesn’t usually last long. Once the second round of ads come on (sometimes even the first round), I tend to switch back to ABC.

Another part of the problem is that a lot of music played on “normal” radio these days isn’t really about anything important, or it just makes me cringe at how crude it is (perhaps a sign of my progressing age?) And, yes, sometimes the songs seemed to be digging up emotions that I didn’t have the energy to deal with. It’s like the emotional equivalent of setting out on a ten-mile hike knowing that your leg is about to fall off.

Too extreme? Apologies for the imagery.

And let’s not even start on the songs that stay in my head for days even though I’ve just heard a snippet of the song. Those kind of songs get worse with every repetition. Classical music, however, doesn’t tend to linger (not yet, anyway… probably because I don’t have a lot of training/knowledge in that regard).

Another reason I listen to ABC Classic FM is that classical music is supposed to be good for studying. I don’t know if there’s some science behind this, or if I just read this somewhere by someone who made it up, but, if nothing else, I have the placebo effect. I think it helps that the music has no lyrics, so it is less distracting. This is particularly helpful when I’m studying language (still learning Persian) or doing Pharmacy CPD (sometimes like another language too).

And when I write, it’s great not having external words infiltrating into my own words. Yes, they play operas on ABC Classic FM now and then, but half the time it’s in a language I don’t understand, and the rest of the time I still hardly understand it anyway, so it doesn’t really detract from my attention and focus much.

Still, I find that I cannot write in silence. A bit of outside noise is good, but a bit of music is better.


6 thoughts on “why I listen to ABC Classic FM

  1. These are the exact reasons why I listen to ABC Classic too! I never listen to other radio stations anymore. The other day when I was driving my teammates and I down for a game, I said to them here is the speaker because 1) my AUX connection doesn’t work; and 2) the only radio I listen to is ABC Classic and I don’t think you guys are into that type of music. I especially like the voice of the lady that used to host on Saturday mornings. Glad you found the channel!

    (Also, you might be onto something about the road rage.)

    • Hahaha maybe you should get your teammates onto ABC Classic too!

      If the Saturday morning host you’re talking about is who I think it is, then I do like her too, but I reckon Russell is my favourite (he’s usually on weekday mornings, has a slight accent)

  2. My favorite time to listen to classical music is when I’m playing games on my smart phone. I turn off the game sounds, turn on the radio, and wait for the moment when I explode something in the game in time to the music. It happens often enough to keep me entertained. 😊

  3. Pingback: mirrors | pistachio conspiracy #63

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