What Is The Tone Of Your Life Right Now?

Don’t like the music being played? Jump in and make a change.

David Hewlett
6 min readAug 31, 2020


Photo by Janine Robinson.

One of the startling aspects of jazz music is how much it can change your view of the world if you let it.

I didn’t enjoy jazz when I was younger, mainly because the sounds of brass didn’t have the same pleasant ring to my ears as the strings or the woodwind instruments. Also because a lot of jazz music compels you to get up and move your feet to the groove, and if there’s one thing I’ll always be bad at it’s dancing.

But after a few years of listening to it with more regularity, it grew on me. Not long after it began to reshape how I saw, well, everything.

So…what changed?

After spending time soaking in jazz, and later on blues music, I noticed that unlike many other genres the tone drove everything else. The individual notes, the instruments chosen, the style, the composition, even the spoken words or the dance moves crafted after a song had been played were most often birthed from the tone of the piece.

When I say tone here I’m not talking about it in the strict sense of the word, or even the musical definition. Imagine tone as what is being conveyed in a piece or an album by the person or people who crafted it. A lot of music, especially modern compositions, go about it from the other end. They try to be catchy or to create a memorable chorus, or the lead singer had a twenty-second melody stuck in their head one morning in the shower which got fleshed out into a whole song.

A lot of jazz isn’t centered around the specific instrument used or an exact arrangement of sounds, but off an experience or a feeling one person is trying to hand off to another.

It caught me off guard.

I remember one evening several years ago I was feeling particularly restless after a rough breakup, so I drove into the night outside the city a bit and planted myself out in an empty field on an old blanket my grandmother had knitted so I could enjoy the Perseid meteor shower. It was one of those nights where my heart wanted to whiplash between a desire to weep uncontrollably and rage to the passing shards of light above until the end of time.



David Hewlett

Storyteller, adventurer, and trampoline enthusiast who loves to ask and discover answers to the question: How can I craft the best story possible with my life?