I solemnly believe that without music, my world would cease to exist.
If I had to endure a life without music, I would go deaf from the bitter silence of it. In fact, I could hum even before I knew how to speak. If it were possible to get a look inside my head, the place where my brain should lie would probably house a record player instead.
Most youth do not really decide the direction in which they want their life to turn until well into high school or even college. They try out new activities like I try on shoes: tossing them aside until I find a pair that fits. So I dabbled in softball and gymnastics when I was smaller, but nothing could fulfill me like music could. I was seven when I first resolved that I was going to make music my life. I started collecting all the recordings of musicals and classical composers, jazz, instrumental, swing, R&B, and vocalists that I could possibly obtain. I instantly fell deeply in love with the harmonies of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Music like this became my undeniable obsession: I memorized the entire Libretto within a week.
Throughout the next years of my life, I began to listen to the great composers of classical and modern repertoire, such as Mozart, Vivaldi, Schwartz, Barber, Sondheim, Quilter, Bernstein, and so many others. When listening did not satisfy me enough, I ventured into a new realm by taking lessons in voice, flute, and piano. My teachers gave me courage to step out of my comfort zone, and I began to take on more challenges like teaching myself all the theory that was possible to learn, competing in state-wide competitions, performing with national choirs, and booking paying gigs. My schedule has been jam-packed with daily music-related events ever since I hit middle school. No matter how much I do, my ravenous thirst for music never subsides. Even though I was soaking up all the information that I could, I still felt something was missing. I began to teach voice and flute lessons to aspiring young musicians as my way of sharing everything I had learned. The more I did, the more I yearned—
I could never get enough.
Can never get enough.
Will never get enough.
Finally my senior year of high school came. There was no question in my heart that I wanted to be a music major. I auditioned at Oklahoma City University, one of the top music conservatories in the nation, and was accepted as a double music major in Vocal Performance and Musical Theatre with full tuition. When I tell people this, they usually say, “Well, that’s great, but the field of music is a shaky one. What are you going to do if it doesn’t work out?” I know that this is an incredibly risky and complicated business, but I let those that question my goals know that music is my greatest passion, and that failure is not an option.
As Shakespeare so eloquently wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.” I believe, with my whole heart, that music will stand the test of time. I believe that whatever wretched, horrific things occur from the effects of war, no matter how ugly and disdainful the world becomes through hatred of our fellow man, music will always be there to set us straight, and to endure all obstacles.
As long as there is music, there is a glimmer of truth, strong enough to help HOPE crawl out of Pandora’s Box.
The glorious dénouement of music will set us free.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.