I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by music, much less influenced by it. I remember watching all of the Superman, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones movies as a small child and really being drawn to the great music content, especially to the brass section. From the first moments of those movies, I was captivated and impressed. I knew I wanted to play trumpet professionally. I can’t even remember how old I was when I learned the word trumpet, but I knew what it sounded like and I knew I wanted to play one.
My curiosity and infatuation of the orchestra grew when I was introduced to the sound of the recorded symphony orchestra. The sound of the orchestra in every recording enthralled me. Many of the recordings I heard are the definitive recordings of our era. I remember my first recording of Mahler Symphony No. V and wearing out my CD. I knew from then on I wanted to be a professional trumpeter and what I was hearing was much more powerful and important than I could grasp at the time.
The desire has only grown since I started my undergraduate degree. I have since been able to see to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and been fortunate enough to play with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. I could not think of a stronger desire than to be a part of that high quality of music making. I want to play professionally with an orchestra.
Everytime I hear music, I want to learn more about it. In the case of an orchestral or chamber piece, I want to learn what was going on in that composer’s life, what it was like in the town that he or she lived, how long it took him or her to write this piece, what it must have sounded like the first time it was played. What was happening in other parts of the world? I think about the form and the structure of the piece and its tonality. I wonder how the first audience perceived this work when it was brand new. Also, what orchestra first played it, and who was the conductor. I also wonder who recorded it, and sometimes I try to guess. How was it recorded and who was on the podium, I sometimes ask myself. Sometimes, I’m right.
This is why I believe in music. It provides a base for curiosity, a means for passion, a way for people to come together for many reasons. We can celebrate it, study it, perform it, discuss it, and learn from it; we can even thrive from it, as the entertainment and technological industries do. I believe in classical music, for someone else it may be something immensely more popular, but for whatever reason, music offers a unique opportunity to us all.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.