This I Believe

Katie - Cohasset, Massachusetts
Entered on May 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
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If I believe in anything at all, I believe in music. Music is used as a theraputic tool, everywhere from church services to weddings, funerals, parties, or when you’re alone in the car, or even in the shower. Music comes in all forms specifically for the purpose of evoking different emotions. Jazz is swingy and fun, and blues is soulful. Some New Age music initially comes across as being sort of weird, which can actually evoke emotions of confusion or discomfort. Various forms of classical music can be anything from regal to playful to sorrowful. Maya Angelou best states the power of music in her poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “The caged bird sings with fearful trill / of things unknown but longed for still / and the tune is heard on the distant hill / for the caged bird sings of freedom.” I love this poem because it is an example of how music can be an inspiration.

Almost everyone in my family is musically inclined in some way or another. My mom is currently a piano teacher and the music director at a local church, and my dad can play several instruments and is in two or three local choruses. Growing up, I was encouraged from a very early age to play the piano or participate in music somehow. In high school I discovered I liked singing better than the piano because it came more naturally to me, and my parents encouraged me to join my school chorus. Growing up in this musical household was a lot of fun, especially at Christmas when we would gather around the piano and sing carols. It has always been music that has brought my family together.

Despite my unconditional love of music and my appreciation for the impact it has on my life, I still have yet to decide on a major. What is it exacly that prevents me from choosing music? Maybe it has something to do with this musical family of mine. Maybe I don’t want to follow exactly in my mother’s footsteps. I don’t want to feel like I can’t come up with something original to major in. Maybe I’m resisting turning to music because I feel like I’d be my mom’s flawed clone. My mom, in her prime, was an excellent coloratura soprano, and almost as talented on the piano. I have heard many people say that you succeed as long as you do better than your parents, and I feel like I will inevitably fail in this goal.

To get over this, I need to realize that my mother and I are not the same person. I cannot continue to compare myself to her, or I will never be able to accomplish anything of real value. And even though this depressing comparison to my mother would seem to make me choose a different direction than music so that I could get out from under her shadow, it still does not change the way I feel about music. I believe that music is very important for our well-being, and music can express ranges of emotion that words simply can’t. It helps us experience and deal with all sorts of emotions that would normally remain under the surface. I believe that listening and participating in music is necessary for my own happiness and sanity. Maybe majoring in music wouldn’t be so bad after all.