I picked my violin up, as I do every day, to muddle through, what have become throughout the years, the body of repertoire that are my standard daily regimen. I approach this special time of the day with sacred reverence, because I bring all of myself, without reservation, my total being, surrendering myself to the moment I begin to play. I mostly play popular pieces that I’ve come by, here and there, and I love scores to movies and musicals. I play Josh Groban melodies, ballades from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera, and the theme to the modern version of Pride and Prejudice. When I’m feeling especially daring and energetic, or maybe when I’m feeling a strong need to be in control, I’ll pull out the score to Michael Flatley’s Riverdance, though I save this for special moments, and admit that I don’t have hopes of ever playing it at the speed required to accompany and actual Irish clogger. I always end my sessions with John William’s theme written for Schindler’s List, and a great sensation of satisfaction wells up inside of me as I, like many an aspiring violinist before me, imagine myself on stage playing alongside Izaak Perlman as a crowd mesmerized before me sits in a dimly lit concert hall hanging on to every nuance, every stroke of my bow…
As an American teenager, I am coming to understand my susceptibility to emotional, psychological and spiritual fatigue in a unique way. My generation has been branded, generation “Me” or “I”, because it seems we live from moment to moment, seeking, with an alarming degree of ferocity, only self-indulgences. And it seems that opportunists, from all generations, are willing to provide both the stimulus and the outlets to keep perpetuating those indulgences. It doesn’t take a genius or statistician to recognize the battery of influences that my generation has had to sift through and sort out that previous generations didn’t have to. Quite frankly, I’m tired. I am tired of trying to keep up with the size 0 jeans, the latest release of Cosmopolitan, the new and improved iPod Nano, and the must-get Grey’s Anatomy season on DVD.
But as for me, there is always an undercurrent tugging beneath the surface. It’s my conscience searching for purpose and morality. It’s my deep desire for more peace and happiness and less suffering both for me and the whole world. It’s my leaning toward the complexities and complications of social justice. It’s my ever present concern for our beautiful earth and its impending demise if we don’t make fundamental changes in our lives. My music is the outlet for my expression of desire to fill all the cavities in my soul left by the empty promises of American society. It’s the way I pray. It works for me and my family, because often when one of us begins, the others will abandon what they were doing to join in the ensemble until we’ve been sufficiently replenished. Adults do not have a monopoly on introspection. Often the ones giving us direction are often, themselves, mislead by lack of understanding of what motivates their actions. I am designed to be able to look at where I am, and make choices that are meaningful to me, regardless of how society deems me. And because the world I’m growing up in is so hostile to the conscience, it is that much more critical that I, and my generation, realizes this sooner rather than later. This I believe.
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