Every summer, members of my immediate family, along with my uncle, a surgeon, go to a missionary hospital in Aba, Nigeria to perform surgeries. The people who live in Aba are in one of the poorest countries in the world and most do not have the money to purchase even the basic housing, clothing, and food. They do, however, have music. They play their music with simple, homemade instruments as entertainment. Drums, and other basic percussion instruments are used for entertainment and ceremonies in Aba. Music is always being played in and around the hospital. Whether it be the locals playing the drums to an up-tempo beat, or my brother, playing Dave Matthews Band from his iPod in the operating room, music always seems to lift the mood of both the workers and the patients.
On my mother’s last trip to Africa, she told me about a little boy who was clearly impacted by the music around him. When she showed me pictures of this boy, I realized how powerful music can be. There was a 3 year old boy awaiting an operation on a tumor in his neck. While waiting for his surgery, my uncle began to play “Revolution” by The Beatles, and the guitars, drums, bass and the words “We all want to change the world” rang through the room. Before long, the boy who was awaiting a serious procedure was dancing to the English music, while laughing and not worrying about the impending biopsy. The young boy’s carefree attitude encouraged everyone around him to start laughing while they watched this fanatical 3-year old dance. Music allowed him to forget about the world around him and escape from his environment. This helped to confirm my belief in the power of music.
Relating to the boy, I laughed as the pictures were shown to me because music helps me in the same ways it did the young boy. Imagining myself in the same situation, I also would use my music as an escape from my fears. When I am upset or stressed I seek refuge in my basement, surrounding myself with my drums. Listening to or playing music produces tranquility and helps to provide strength. Learning to use my drums to relieve stress, to find peace, and often times to distract me from my life has been a great benefit. It is a time that I can think about nothing else, even if for just a few moments, and I can play music without worrying about the world around me. Music can change the world and allow people to take a brief break from their troubles. I believe in the power of music.
Music is a harmonic connection between all people, regardless of ethnicity, culture, or language. Music connects me to people I don’t know and have never met. At a concert venue, Dave Simon’s Rock School, or a friend’s basement, it is a natural connection. When I play music with people I have never met, it allows us to share common feelings and to connect with one another more easily. We share a feeling of accomplishment that can not be created by anything else. While playing music with people, I have grown even closer to some of my best friends, and established a connection with new people by learning how they think, act, and how they express themselves. Since I first met one of my best friends, Matt, we have been playing music and building our repertoire, as well as our friendship. I believe in the power of music.
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