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Empathy - Music Reflecting Your Mood

A Minute with Miles

Have you ever wondered why, when we’re feeling sad, or lonely, or downright miserable, we usually prefer to listen to music that somehow reflects our mood, rather than music that might jar us out of it? Personally, I think it’s because in our darker moods we’re not, in fact, looking to be told that everything’s really just fine in this bright and shiny world and that we’re wrong to be feeling the way we do. We try not to tell our children that their feelings are “wrong,” so why should we tell ourselves such things? What we’re rather hoping to find is understanding of our feelings, and empathy as we face the inevitable trials and tribulations of life. It is a question of life, after all, not just our lives, and the music of the great composers can remind us, far more clearly and more beautifully than mere words, that although life holds love and loss and longing for all of us, life can also bring us hope and comfort.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.