Songs For World Peace

Jack - San Clemente, California
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: community, peace

Ever since I was young I have felt a deep connection to music. My mother and father ran around and danced with us blasting “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M. at a volume that may have been detrimental to our fragile little ears, but it was just another day in the Adams household. When relaying stories like this one to my friends, I find that some of them have similar experiences while others do not. Although not all of us may have rocked out with our diapers on, there is one thing in that story that is common to everyone: Music. Most people feel a deep connection with music, which is why music is such a powerful force in human nature. I believe that music has the power to bring everyone together. Not only does it make a great icebreaker in an awkward situation, but we may also learn something and come away with an appreciation for something new and exciting.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I experienced something that cemented my beliefs on the importance of music. I went on a cultural exchange to Hermosillo, Mexico. While there, I lived with a host and his family, and a few months later, he lived with mine. Now, my Spanish was not horrible, but it certainly was not at a point where I was confident speaking it. I had to look for another outlet for communication, and for me, that was music. Luckily for me, my host was terrific at speaking English, so we got to talking about a large variety of musical groups we both liked, and my ears rejoiced when I got to hear about U2 and Green Day in my native tongue. One night after dinner, my host’s family asked if I would play piano for them because I apparently told them I played at one point. This would be the moment that I would remember forever. I communicated far better with this family with the song I played for them on piano than what my broken Spanish could have ever hoped to achieve. It allowed us the chance to simply be quiet and be able to actually look at the person as not a representation of a different culture, but as a human being simply enjoying a pretty melody.

I learned, in that home in Mexico, that a note on the guitar or piano isn’t in English or Spanish or even Chinese, it’s something that transcends language and culture. Although different areas of the world produce different types of music, that doesn’t mean that that music can only be enjoyed in those specific areas. Too often we hear about the injustice done to people on a regular basis, from acts of violence to simple acts of prejudice. If we all just spent a little more time talking to a person before judging them based on how little we know, then maybe the world might become a more harmonious place to live in.

I’m not suggesting that we all drive into violent areas and strike up conversations about music with those we meet. All I’m saying is that maybe instead of looking at someone as different, we could maybe talk to them and try to find some similarities. Music is an excellent way to do just that and it is something that I know that everyone can relate to. Who knows, we may even find that the people we believe to have the least in common with, we have the greatest opportunity to learn from.