This I Believe

Dongwoon - Washington, District of Columbia
Entered on September 15, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
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Walking on the street, I see many people strolling around with their headphones in their ears. It made me ask myself, “Why do people enjoy music so much?” People all have different tastes in music, and everyone listens to the music that fits them. Contemplating on the matter led me to my belief: music is a powerful medium through which people can communicate and experience almost anything.

Being young, I dreaded playing the violin. I hated to practice, I hated to play scales, and I hated having to lie to my teacher about having practiced. When it came to music, I had a negative approach to it. I didn’t listen to the radio, I didn’t listen to CD’s, and I didn’t enjoy listening to myself play either.

As I grew older, I began playing the guitar. I wasn’t playing individual notes anymore. Entire chords now rang through harmoniously, and these simple combinations of notes softened my cold indifference to music. I heard and realized that there was a lot more to music than I had suspected. It sparked my interest, and I plunged myself into learning more about music. I continued playing the guitar, started taking violin lessons again after a 5 year break, and began taking piano lessons at the end of my senior year of high school. I took a music theory course that showed me the inner workings of classical music.

I began to understand that music is not all about matching the music on the sheet. As I started putting my heart into singing and playing guitar, I saw that playing the right notes without any feeling was meaningless. When I listened to classical music like Vivaldi, I tried to not only listen to the technical skill of the violinist, but to the little birds chirping through a blossoming spring as the bow flew across the strings. When I listened to Beethoven, I was captivated by the dark and tormented symphonies, and delighted by Mozart’s youthful and bouncy concertos. I felt like a triumphant king while listening to the majestic Grand March by Verdi. The music raised and lowered my mood at the composer’s whim.

As I continued my quest to understand music, I went to Mexico on a mission trip with my church. I couldn’t speak any Spanish, so I thought that it would be frustrating and unbearable trying to communicate with the people there. Instead, I quickly found out that the Mexicans listened to and played a lot of the same songs that I listened to. Being unable to talk to each other, we just grabbed our guitars and drumsticks and started jamming to our favorite music. We all couldn’t stop flashing smiles as we realized how easily we had overcome that difficult barrier of language.

As I continue to explore all types of music, I realize that there is so much out there, and that I have barely chipped the tip of the iceberg. I am working to expand my horizons in the type of music I listen to. I believe that all the different genres, each with its own unique style, can invoke a vast spectrum of emotions.