Monica Tong, editor-in-chief at Music Press Asia shares her Tuesday listening rituals starting from an hour before dawn to midday and why Bossa Nova, and ultimately, birdsongs are her life-saving Tuesday must-haves.
FOR THOSE OF YOU with a nine to five and Monday to Friday kind of office patron, Tuesday mornings can be a bore if not downright uninteresting. Considerably, if Tuesday is fast becoming a second cruel Monday, what music should be the choice that bears the weight of the eardrums? And as crucial in wrapping up a seamless affair for a Tuesday? While deadlines can be a monotonous achievement, a relaxing playlist can provide energy and inspiration.
Is there a reason why Bossa Nova Jazz is the perfect music for Tuesday mornings?
Here’s the ultimate relaxing Tuesday playlist in three acts:
5:00 a.m. – Bird songs, Lite FM radio
As the buzzer hits five, the SONY ICF-C705 radio alarm turns to one of my easiest listening for the day. The Lite FM’s most Relaxing Favourites comes on. Asha and JD  wouldn’t be heard for another hour but it is still the ultimate mood enhancer. Always a snoozing hour, I stretch my ears beyond the radio for the first bird calls. Figuring out how I could cleverly distinguish the Little Egret from the Little Tern and confirming then on Ebird  before bed last night is what I think about in the wee hours of the morning.
6:00 a.m. – Fajar prayers, Asha and JD, BGMC Records
The Fajr prayers  in the distance arrives as the languid dawn approaches. Fajar, the Muslim’s third prayer of the day, is the mornings most peaceful moment before, in all fairness, my professional life begins. At this point, I have been at my work-from-home office desk reading for an hour while listening to a Tuesday music curation produced by Cafe Music BGM channel, a Singaporean music label .
I had reservations to what comes on in the morning. What music should be the temperament to how efficient your day can be is vital for what is expected of us on a work day. What I need is music that could assist with concentration.
At the quietest volume, the Bossa Nova plays a monotonous rhythm in the background, a therapeutic role for mornings at work. Its power to steer gently, moving away from the drowsy few minutes of being awake has proven time and time again a pragmatic option.
7:00 a.m. – Breakfast chatter of a Chinese dialect
As I head to the family’s breakfast table, I leave the cozy ambience of a room smelling slightly of old books, magazines and coffee to a more public space in the house. I left Jazz playing in my office and walked downstairs. With each step towards the mezzanine floor, I hear yet another clamour altogether distant but very much the dialect I’ve spoken my entire life.
On another speaker radio, egress the voice of Cantonese , the Chinese dialect, the mother tongue of the house. I couldn’t help but embrace the family chatter and kitchen hubbub of a household that has been the cubbyhole of the pandemic. I smile to the various kopi recipes, cereals and nasi lemak wrapped in banana leaves are being prepared. Peacefulness and calm being the adage of the day.
The rest of the morning – Jazz, A Rallying Cry For Tuesday’s Furor
I used to teach Jazz piano and violin for the examination board ABRSM . Assisting teenagers in their endeavour to master the skills and be tested on their musicianship is dauntingly an enjoyable experience. And as challenges with deadlines weave through the difficulty editing a paragraph composed by writers, the morning ends thinking about the syncopated rhythms and the pleasure holding a cup of coffee with a tummy-full of belacan-spiced nasi lemak.
Learning the rhythms of Bossa Novas may just be out of my comfort zone having been classically trained since eight. But mastering its base line will always be like a special key which has revealed some of life’s most gratifying snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug moment. Beer, O Beer.
At this point mid-day ensues. As the first seven hours of the day comes to an end, a perfect silence would be an initial antiphon to reflecting the morning ritual. Has it been a breeze or tense? Light or heavy?
As referenced above recommended for listening and research:
 Breakfast with Asha and JD on Radio Astro.
 Birds of Malaysia. Listen to 52 species of bird calls and songs compilation from the Peninsular Malaysia. Guided by bird enthusiasts Cheong Weng Chun.
 The Fajr prayer by Mishary Rashid Alafasy.
 Jazz Piano exams with Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM)
 Learn Chinese Cantonese here.
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Tuesdays’ as subject title to tell us about your Tuesday music preferences.