Since our daughter is studying Psychology at university and has almost completed her master's degree, there are regular discussions about all kinds of topics that she encounters during her studies and that we encounter in daily life. She often has to write reports and there is always a chapter in which she has to apply a bit of self-reflection and review her own thoughts and behaviors. This can sometimes be quite confrontational and that is of course the intention.

But what does this have to do with music and with my music addiction?

We prog people are not known for our open-minded view on music in general and I am one of them. At least, that's what it turns out to be, but more on that further on. I'll never forget sitting in the car with the radio on and listening to two of the most famous Dutch DJs, Gerard Ekdom and Michiel Veenstra. They talked about various genres and eventually came up with progressive rock and both said they hate fans of 'our' music because they are always so pedantic and always dismiss regular pop music as simple and ill-conceived. I spontaneously disliked both of them and thought it was nonsense. I'm not like that, am I? Am I?

You get it, here comes the self-reflection part.

Am I not the one who was at a good friend's party the other day and spent the whole evening amazed by the unimaginably bad music. Did I say bad? Yes, that's what I said, but of course I have to say different music and apparently music that was very much to the taste of almost all fellow partygoers. There was dancing and the polonaise came by every few minutes, forcing me to defend myself and physically protest to avoid being dragged along. You understand, not for me. But of course it proves that I am apparently such a know-it-all man and didn't like the music played by a DJ of about seventy. But inferior? Admittedly, when the "Engelbewaarder" (for non Dutch readers, if you would like to hear it, try to find it on you tube but be warned) came along for the fifth time, I almost became unwell, but was that because I think it's simple and thoughtless music? (how could I think so)

At the moment I often read and hear how our national pride Joost Klein has been working for almost a year on his contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest and then I hear the song and think, how? If you can’t do better than "Europapa" in a year, I wonder if I'm crazy. The answer will not surprise you, I am indeed crazy because according to the bookies the song is one of the favourites to win this prestigious festival. During my volunteer work at a daycare for "special children" I can't avoid seeing the accompanying clip several times and each time I think this is the right target group for said clip. I am reminded of Bassie and Adriaan or more from my youth, Pipo the clown. Oooops, there I go again, what derogatory remarks are these again?

It's becoming more and more clear, I'm easily inclined to think of music as bad and simple and sometimes I can't resist expressing that. Fortunately, I have my wife and daughter to correct me harshly by indicating that I am getting old and that I have to be careful not to become such an old grump who disapproves of everything that is "modern". And as is so often the case, they are right.

But is it such a shame that I appreciate it when an artist or band takes the trouble to create compositions that contain the things I want to hear? Can I please enjoy tempo changes, unruly rhythms and drawn-out solos on guitar and keyboards? Of course I can, but that's not the problem, the problem lies in the fact that I have trouble with acceptance in general and in particular with the taste in music of others. Well, if that's not self-reflection, I don't know what is.

So what have you learned from this piece of applied psychology?

Tastes differ and I belong to an ever-shrinking minority of music lovers and have to accept and learn to deal with the fact that an increasing proportion of the music made comes from computers and has to hold the attention within three minutes. Sounds good, right?

In the meantime, there is still plenty of room within the genre I love so much to push my acceptance boundaries. An example; For years I didn't give the album Into the Electric Castle by Ayreon, or better yet Arjen Antony Lucassen, the appreciation it deserves because I thought it was too much metal. This may be true for the later albums, but let's be honest, there are only a few pieces of music on Into the Electric Castle that you could put away as metal. What's so bad about that, why didn't I play this great album over and over and enjoy homegrown music that gets a lot of international appreciation. Yes, I'm a box-thinker and that's not a choice, it's an aberration. But I don't need help, let me keep my own way of thinking and enjoy my way of experiencing music, but I promise that in the future I will be less quick to judge music from outside my borders. (sure dude)

You see what a bit of self-reflection can do for you.

Oh yes, one more thing. Do you also know those people who only listen to classical music and consider all other forms of music inferior? Arrogant bastards! Go home and work on yourself, start reflecting.