When people look at MUSIC
They just see the notes. In Sam Smith’s hit single, his melody is repeated over and over again. It hasn’t become iconic yet, (and I’m not sure it will ever be) but if you sing it, anyone around you will know the tune. The tune is poignant, emotional, and has RESTS.
The rests are a major component of the song. I calculated, about 30% of the main melody is silence. Without the rests, the song would be a bunch of jumbled notes and a cacophonic jingle. RESTS moves the song, it makes the song touching, and above all (for Sam Smith), it made it popular.
Listening to a non-studio version of the song emphasizes the importance of REST in the song. There isn’t any music in the video, nor is there a drumbeat to overcrowd the song. Even without any other instruments, “Stay With Me” on piano proves just as great because of its effective use of silence. The melody is clearer and the points of rest lucid.
Now look at TALKING
It might seem like some people talk all the time, but they don’t. People need REST to hear. In daily conversation there’s REST everywhere, sometimes just for a few seconds, so folks can grasp what’s actually being said. Again, without REST, a dialogue is a jumble of words, an incoherent list of ideas exchanged between two people. No one follows anything without the REST between statements.
President Barack Obama is one of the greatest orators the world has seen.
Look at this picture of President Barack Obama pausing while he gives a speech.
President Barack Obama takes pauses while making any speech. He uses pauses the same way Sam Smith uses RESTS. They both get their points and emotions across. RESTS make them effective presenters. Pause in a speech gives time to people for thought and understanding. Also, a point that precedes a rest is immediately deemed more important because of how the speech was structured (ex: if Obama paused here, that probably means that he thought this point was important enough to be by itself for a few seconds).
Here’s a notable speech:
Here’s the basic gist: it’s important to note the way he was speaking. Many people have called this speech the best speech they have ever heard. I agree and it is because of President Obama’s exceptional use of phrasing and emphasis, something that pausing is necessary for. He makes you understand his points, and he gives enough space between each specific point he states to make sure you believe him.
The last example of the importance of rest is in exercise. It’s an obvious example, but it’s needed to drive the point home.
Without rest, tissues are harmed, you have less energy, you’re more likely to burnout, and you are at a higher risk for getting injured.
Now you may be thinking, all of these things are extremely obvious, so why am I telling you this? Good question (and thanks for the transition).
If we accept that rest is so important, why do we disregard it when it’s needed the most? Music, a complex art form, is incoherent without rest. Speech, a complex body function, is ineffective without rest. Exercise, a necessary physical activity, is wasted without rest. So WHY are people consistently losing essential sleep hours, inconveniencing an infinitely more complex object: The Human Brain?
On average people are losing three hours of sleep across the generational board. Teenagers who need to sleep nine to ten hours a day are just about getting six to seven hours. Adults need eight to nine hours but on an average are sleeping just under six hours. The human brain is the most complex structure in the entire universe so let’s do our best to treat it that way.