This I Believe

McKenna - 22204, Virginia
Entered on October 10, 2007

This I Believe:

My earliest childhood memory is of music. When I couldn’t sleep (which was often) my mom would come into my room, snuggle up to me and chase away the nightmares with her soft voice. I still remember the exact lullaby she sang to me, the one that soothed me during the dark nights. From that moment, music became a dominant part of my life.

However over the years, I believe music has lost its true meaning in our society. Advertisements use catchy jingles to capture a potential buyer’s attention. The three note phrase that accompanies “I’m Lovin’ it” will always be connected to McDonalds. The art of creating music for the sake of expression is seldom seen now. Every new piece of music has a hidden purpose telling you to buy this, eat that or behave in a certain way. Our popular pop artists recreate old hits with new electronic beats, opposed to delivering a new message through their own original compositions. They are afraid that without the raging base line of a “remix” their listeners might obtain a glimpse of who the artist really is. And that is terrifying.

A few years ago, I attended a summer camp and on the last evening there was a very informal talent show. My friend and I had a common love for singing, and decided to perform an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace”. When we stepped onto the stage that evening, the audience became silent and that was my first experience of absolute vulnerability. Singing exposes your inner self to the world. There is nothing left to hide from anyone, because your soul is poured into your melody. The first notes of “Amazing Grace” echoed in the hall, small and nervous. If my friend had not been there, coming in on the next verse and holding my hand, I doubt I would have been able to complete the performance. Music is on this earth to be a form of expression that reveals someone’s individuality, which our society has begun to neglect.

The little girl who performed in that small talent show has grown up into a young woman. I see the way music is used and abused in our society and fear for its future. In my local school system, music classes are being removed from course request forms. The elementary schools will soon stop offering music classes all together, and then where will children discover if they have a passion for music? All students are expected to take a science, math and language arts classes. Why is music any different? The meaning of music has been lost in translation. Music has been taken for granted, and people assume that it will continue to be part of our lives without much care.

I am afraid that once music is lost completely the world will become cold and empty. It will lack the freedom of expression that is released when listening to a moving composition or performing on stage. It will not take much to keep music alive and full of meaning. Weather you are humming a lullaby to your child or holding the hand of some nervous performer, you can support the captivating form of self expression. So, the next time you have the opportunity to incorporate music into your daily life; do not let that chance pass by. I believe that music is here for a reason; sometimes we just need to let it into our lives so we can see it.