Happy New Year 2021

The start of a new year can often fuel our motivation to pursue new ventures, improve our skills, and aspire to achieve new personal goals. This year I want to try to encourage you to engage with music in a different way. 2020 has taught me and many musicians to think outside of the box and explore how we can use our skills to communicate with audiences differently. This led me to think of how leading exponents in a variety of fields turned to music for inspiration and stimulus to aid their creative thinking.

I wanted to start with a little food for thought. Research from the Nature Neuroscience Journal published in 2011, nearly ten years ago, reported that the anticipation or experience of Music stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain. Suggesting that listening to music is linked to our deepest reward systems. So, if you are like me and looking for a sustainable way to replace chocolate and crisps, Music may be a way to satisfy your craving and help shed a few seasonal pounds.


One of George’s favourite movies is Pulp Fiction and we often talk about how music influences Tarantino’s films. In the booklet that accompanies The Tarantino Connection, an album of soundtracks from his films, Tarantino describes how music affects his creative process:

“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song’,”Quentin Tarantino 


Rene Redzepi, a danish chef whose restaurant Noma has been ranked among the world’s top eateries, combines his love of music and food by playing Metallica in the kitchen. Redzepi said that he plays it to wake up his 40 chefs at the start of the week. This can be heard on his Desert Island Discs interview: Desert Island Discs – Rene Redzepi – BBC Sounds. You can tell that music is such a strong influence on his cooking, as even the foreword for his book “A Work in Progress: Journal, Recipes And Snapshots”, was written by Lars Ulrich, the drummer from Metallica.


Jane Austen found enjoyment from practising the piano, and within her novels she imbued several of her female characters with a similar skill and passion. Such as Anne Elliot (Persuasion), Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility) Mary Bennet, Elizabeth Bennet, the Bingley sisters and Georgiana Darcy (Pride and Prejudice).

“Jane owned a small piano at various times during her life and, when this was not an option, rented one. She played for her own enjoyment and would rise an hour before the rest of the family in order to get her practicing done.”Jane Austen’s Piano – JaneAusten.co.uk.

While that sounds very admirable and inspiring, I’m not sure if I have the stamina on a Sunday morning to allow George to follow suit so early.

In Emma (volume Two, Chapter 14), she wrote: “Without music, life would be a blank to me.”


Similarly, the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Without Music, Life would be a mistake” from his book ‘Twilight of the Idols’. Nietzsche is an interesting philosopher as his most famous work ‘Thus spoke Zarathustra’ was the source of inspiration for Strauss’s orchestral masterpiece of the same name. This musical work by Strauss is also the centerpiece for Stanley Kubrick’s iconic movie 2001 Space Odyssey.

The cycle of these events reminds me to look to music for inspiration in all aspects of my life, and it gives me hope that my own creative endeavours may in return spark other people’s creativity.

I hope that this blog post inspires you to think differently about music, whether that is participating in learning a new instrument, listening to different genres of music, or simply sharpening a knife to The Clash.

I would love to get a better understanding of how music has inspired you or those you look up to. Whether it encapsulates a special event in your life or inspired your own “eureka moment”, or that it just brings with it the sheer enjoyment of being alive.  Let me know in the comments below.

72 thoughts on “Happy New Year 2021

  1. Music has always been important to me! However, the best music – for me – is that which strikes a chord. Not necessary a maudlin one haha I also think that live performances can deliver an impact in you that listening to a CD does not. Hmm now I’m rambling, so, I’ll just … Ramble On 🙂
    Wishing you both a Happy New Year 🙂

    1. I absolutely agree about live performance. Keep rambling, anytime 😊.

      Best wishes

      1. Hehe yes, even after all these years, I still remember the thrill of my first live opera! So much “more” than the recording haha. Happy New Year 🙂

  2. Once a week, on my blog, as you know, i write about a song and what it means/how it affects me. The importance of music in this way can be summed up by the fact that I have over an entire year’s worth of posts – 2021 in fact – to appear before I even need to write another one. But they’ll always come.

    Happy New Year to both of you May it be kinder than this soon to be forgotten armpit of an experience.

    1. You are very organised, Martin, my blog posts are literally written on the weekend before I post.
      A very Happy New Year to you too Martin, good health and wishes for a kinder year sent your way too.

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you very much John and best wishes for a Happy New Year to you and yours.

      Best wishes

    1. Thank you, Annette. I’m waiting to hear if we are about to go into a more severe lockdown again today, if so my plans for this week will have to be cancelled. I am hoping we can travel for work with a negative covid test.

      Best wishes

  3. Wow, well done. Yes, music brings creativity in all areas. Logic.
    The human being is a musical instrument. The heart is at the same time a metronome and a percussion ensemble, the voice is a mixture of string and wind instrument. All the body works thanks to mio-electric currents which have a frequency, therefore a sound, even if it is inaudible. And the music, which is also a frequency, can resonate with one of the frequencies of the body and Tadam, eureka, this resonance induces hormonal secretions which boost creativity. Last 20 years.
    Personally, I listen to many styles of music. Listening is one way to start the system. Then, as I create, or perform a task, it is in my mind that it creates the “music” necessary to obtain the result. Is the system works both ways. Images create music, music creates images. So, yes, I can only encourage everyone to listen, see practice and at least know the mechanisms of music and singing in order to better understand themselves and to develop their creativity and their sense of anticipation. .

    Happy New Year my friend, best wishes for you, george and your families.
    And we look forward to meeting again to discover together new development paths for our respective artistic activities.

    the best for you, always , xx

    1. Best wishes for you in your Lavender year. Wishing you lots of energy and creativity, stay safe and well mon ami.

      Best wishes

    1. Happy New Year, do you have a preference when doing different things such as exercising or painting, designing etc.?

      Best wishes

  4. My six books have all been written to music. The first three exclusively to Queen. Nothing fancy either. Just insert the CD into the computer and go to town. I believe in Music. Happy New Year to you and George.

    1. My Dad loves Queen his favourite album is ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ but he likes their early stuff too. I believe in music too. Happy New Year to you and all your family John.

      Best wishes and thank you,

  5. My life has to have a soundtrack 😉 I have enjoyed many genre and might sharpen my knife to Webern (or maybe, if I’m doing Second Viennese School and want an opera reference in this comment, Berg’s Lulu) and save The Clash for when I need a dose of politics in my music 😉 I hope you have great new year and best wishes for 2021!

    1. Thank you, Trent, the two composers you mentioned both studied with Schoenberg. I’m not familiar with Berg’s Lulu a quick google search connected me to a Guardian Newspaper article when it was on at the Royal Opera House London in 2009, she sounds quite murderous but as in all good operas comes to a sticky end.

      Best wishes to you

      1. Yes, The Second Viennese School was Schoenberg and his students, usually referring to Alban Berg and Anton Webern. I’m sure you could see why I’d choose Lulu when sharpening my knife,,, lol Though I do really like the Clash as well.

  6. Wishing you and George a bright and beautiful New Year! That is a lovely photo of you!

    I always hear music, whether it is playing or not, and it gives a sense of grounding and peace. I took piano lessons for about 6 months when I was 7 years old. Then my teacher moved away. My knowledge of music theory is rudimentary, and I play guitar entirely by ear. I never really learned guitar tabulature. Songs roll around and end up in one tuning or another, on one guitar or another where I like the sound of it. If it is a keeper, eventually it finds a groove, and wears nicely like an old shoe. Sometimes I put one aside for a while, and it presents itself later on and I wonder why I didn’t see it that way before. I put up a couple of new videos during these dark winter days.

    1. Thank you, George took the photo on his phone. I know what you mean about always hearing music. I took piano lessons from the age of around 10 to 18, just 30 minutes to 60 minutes per week and I was bad at studying between lessons except for when examinations were due. George would not be happy with me as a pupil at all! I did get up to grade 6 and accompany my own practice so it’s a good thing that I kept at it after all.

      I really admire you being able to play guitar by ear it’s not a skill I have and I would like to learn. I will pop along and take a listen to your new videos at the weekend.

      Best wishes and Happy New Year 2021.

  7. Happy New Year. Super post, Charlotte. Music is so important in movies to set the mood, anticipation, and feeling. Have you seen Bollywood movies? They are strange in that one scene a couple will be singing and dancing happily together and in the next scene, the guy throws the woman off the roof, killing her. It’s like whoa! Where did that come from? We watched one Bollywood film about the war with Kashmire. Laurie said I hope they are not going to sing and dance on the tank. They sang and danced on the tank. My mom took me with her to see “2001 a Space Odyssey” when it came out. I was 10 years old. While it was cool it made no sense to me. I watched it a few years ago, and it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. But the music is great. “Pulp Fiction” is a really fun film. Of course, their dance has become iconic.

    Here’s to a much better 2021 for everyone!

    1. I have seen a Bollywood movie and I used to have some lessons in Bollywood dancing which I loved. I like the whole premise of Bollywood and wished we had more song and dance films now.
      Film music is so important I know a couple of composers for movies. I wish you a Happy 2021 also.

      Best wishes

      1. I think a lot of movie composers are taken for granted. The music is just simply a part of the movies. BTW I posted a new song on Saturday, one on Sunday and I’m posting 5 short songs tonight.

      2. I will come and take a proper listen to them all at the weekend. I’m just having a half hour break from memorising new songs 🤯.

  8. What a post! You’ve just mentioned all the activities I’ve enjoyed, and that have helped my brain to keep the dopamine coming. Books and movies, and the philosophical pondering generated by them is the raison d’être for Ripple Effects. 🙂 One thing you’ve pointed out which has never crossed my mind is… I’ve never equate Tarantino’s movies with good music. I’ll have to pay more attention from now on. For me, while pop music accompanied me while growing up, I’d developed a love for classical music while in high school, and that’s been my lifelong companion. My Best Wishes to you, Charlotte, for a bright and happy 2021!

    1. Thank you Arti, I love your blog as you know and have watched many of your film recommendations. I also grew up with pop music listening to people like Kate Bush; Madonna; Brittany Spears; Christina Aguilera; Steps and The Spice Girls. Like you I developed a love for classical music in High School it has given me much happiness to have my horizons expanded.

      Best wishes to you too,
      Charlotte 😊

  9. A happy 2021 to you & George! My musical connections: My father met Paderewski at a home in Cleveland about 1920. I still have my grandfather’s violin (circa 1890) and my mother’s 1955 Sohmer baby grand. Her sister Gertrude was a talented musician. My sister studied both piano and violin. I am the least musical, an engineer and playwright, though I’ve copyrighted one piece, “The Call of a Distant Song,” (my lyrics, melody by my friend Judy Sanger). I’ll send you a copy if you’re curious.

    1. Yes please send you piece to me, how wonderful to be surrounded from a young age by so many musical influences. George would love a baby grand at home. I hope you have a super New Year.
      Best wishes

      1. The song DOC file is on its way to your ‘queries address. If the DOC is not legible, please let me know and I’ll send a PDF.

      2. Thank you Jeff I have received your PDF as soon as I’ve got a recording project finished its in my schedule to listen to it properly.
        Best wishes Charlotte

  10. “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: We will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.” – Göran Persson

    Wishing you 12 months of success, 52 weeks of laughter, 365 days of fun, 8,760 hours of joy, 525,600 minutes of good luck, and 31,536,000 seconds of happiness.

    1. Thank you Derrick, Wishing you a lovely, safe and healthy 2021.

      Best wishes

  11. Happy New Year to you and George! ✨🥂🎄🎶
    So interesting what you write about music and how we engage with it. I cannot play any instruments, but I do love music and listen to music a lot. I’m after the cheering and stimulating effect; cleaning goes quicker and is less boring with some good songs to sing along with and when I want to concentrate on writing, I often listen to classical music.
    The Pulp Fiction soundtrack is fantastic!

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Elizabeth. I always put music on to clean with, something to dance along to. George plays for many hours each day I have a growing appreciation of piano music, although there does come a time where I make him put his earphones on while he bashes out repetitive practice.

      Best wishes,

  12. Dear Charlotte,
    I thank the Lord that You and George made it to see 2021 and I pray the Lord will bless your marriage real good. Music is indeed a tonic to the soul and I sleep to it every night. Let us pray that the vaccines will bring this deadly virus to an end and we can return to our normal way of living. God Bless!

    1. With this latest lockdown, we may have to postpone the wedding plans again so I appreciate your prayers. I thought we’d be out of this by April 2021 after a full year. We are very cautious, we wear our masks and use hand gel and stay off public transport unless absolutely necessary.
      Our vaccinations have started now and I believe over one million people have had the first vaccines lets hope that provides them the suitable protection so they can see their families and friends again.

      Best wishes Rev Tim,

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  14. Happy New Year and a timely reminder to me to get my music groove back. I went to the cinema once with a girlfriend and at one point, dug in my handbag to give her tissues. She later asked me, “how did you know I was about to cry?”. I said, “they queued the crying music”. In the film “The Piano” I became so engrossed in the music that when I came out of the cinema into the food court, I was momentarily confused about what century I was in. And how I loved to scrub the bath to the 1812 overture! (I’ve gotten over that – scrubbing the bath I mean).

    1. Happy New Year to you, I don’t think it can be any worse than 2020 can it?! I’ve read you’re nearly back to normal in Australia so lets hope we can achieve that here.
      I know what you mean about music in films you can always tell a jumpy bit is going to start because the music ends and a period of eerie silence starts.

      Best wishes to you

    1. Thank you, Christine 😊. I hope that you David, Riley and all the family have a great year ahead.

      My very best wishes

  15. When I thought about opening a Studio for my creative work, I was inspired by several types of music from movie soundtracks to piano music. I have created a Playlist on Spotify to collect music that inspires my creative process entitled, “Studio.” My favorite track is entitled, “Sleep Away” by Bob Acri. Somehow it immediately changes whatever environment I’m in to my Studio space. I also have a Playlist entitled, “Film,” which really helps put me in the right mindset when writing screenplays. Composers include John Williams, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. Of course, this also led me to you and George as I’m always listening for new songs. Thank you for sharing.

  16. It took me years to start listening to music. During high school and college I actually prided myself on not giving into “mainstream” discussions of “what type of music do you listen to?”. It was a really annoying question for me on any first date.

    It took me until the age of 23 or 24 to actually start listening to music. It is much easier now, with things like Pandora, to find the type of music that suits your mood at the moment.

    I love ballet and opera, but listening to music for too long during everyday life tires me out a bit. I guess I am odd…

    1. I have quite a wide music taste and like to listen to different genres depending on what I’m doing. I like nice energetic dance music to clean the house to for example. I like to create playlists. I don’t think its odd at all, if you are listening intently it is very tiring especially if the song is in a different language. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me Yana. Have a super weekend.
      Best wishes

  17. Happy New Year 2020!
    Lol…yet another post I missed.
    In my defence, most were before I knew you. lol

    This is a fab year’s end post. Norman & I love Pulp Fiction!
    How much do I love music, how important is it to me?
    I married a musician. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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