This I Believe

Katherine - San Antonio, Texas
Entered on March 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

“A Second Voice”

You can search for hours in the dictionary and not come up with a word that exactly describes the way you feel after you lose someone you love or witness a miracle. But you can put it to music.

My flute is my second voice, and when I play I like to think of myself as an actress. Emotions that I could never discuss with someone else, I can play instead. After fighting with my dad, I unleash the fury of Shostakovich 5; in public I wish I was more daring and adventurous, so instead I pretend like I am when I practice a Prokofiev sonata. When my grandfather, whom I was very close to, died this past October, I was unable to cry until I played a theme from a Dvo?ák symphony. My feelings are built up within the notes and sometimes the only way I can get to them is to play. There is a melody for every quality I want or need to possess.

I spent six weeks this past summer at an arts camp where people from all over the world come together to play music. One experience profoundly affected me while I was there. I met a phenomenal pianist from China who offered to play the accompaniment for a solo I was working on. He spoke extremely broken English, and I kept having to ask him to repeat what he was saying. The second we began playing the piece though, I understood him perfectly. Through the music, we were able to communicate joy and excitement and tragedy. We were liberated from our language barriers.

I believe that this sort of communication through music has the power to end conflict, because music has such basic, comprehensible appeal to the human emotions. There is a movie called “The Pianist”, in which a Jewish man is caught by a Nazi soldier. In the movie, there is a piano in the room, and the soldier commands him to play. The Jewish man plays so beautifully that he breaks the soldier’s heart, and he is freed.

There is a reason why musicians choose to be musicians. You can rest assured that it’s not for the pay. They do it because they can’t live without the music. It becomes a part of you; once you have access to such a broad range of ideas and feelings, you never want to let them go.