How Music Opened My Mind

Jeremy - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity
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From a young age I was always passionate about music: discovering new artists, reading and deciphering lyrics, attending concerts and playing my own. At first, I started taking piano and drum lessons, innocently learning the basics of melody and rhythm. Encouraged by my parents, I originally viewed practice as a chore. As time passed, however, I began to appreciate these instruments and enjoyed playing a lot more. The problem was, however, that I could only learn so much on my own. Soon, I developed a desire to collaborate with other musicians in order to hone my skill while having the opportunity to write original songs and play shows. Little did I know, the group I would end up playing with would completely affect my outlook on life.

As a band, we were a single unit but as individuals, we were unique. You’d think that this would provide an obstacle for a band to function but although we came from different cultural backgrounds and possessed a wide variety of musical influences, our lack of similarity was what accounted for the music we were able to create. Metal, jazz, pop, rock, dance … we never allowed genre to inhibit our writing process and therefore developed a progressive attitude about music. We strived to blend an assortment of styles, taking inspiration from bands as calming as Sigur Ros to bands as aggressive as Meshuggah. This forward thinking mindset has undoubtedly made me a more creative person. I believe that continuing to write music with no boundaries will allow me to forever embrace my individuality and I have come to realize how limiting it is to place restrictions on the music one intends to play.

In addition to composing music, live performance was a vital part of my experience in a band. I’ll never forget the first show I played; as I sat down behind the drum kit, my hands started to shake and I wondered if I would be able to perform that night. However, as soon as the lights dimmed and we kicked into the first song, I experienced an adrenaline rush like no other; I was never more focused on my craft and soon discovered that playing in front of a crowd would not only help me become a better musician, it would allow me to become a more determined person. As I looked into the crowd and saw concert attendees connecting with our music, relating to it, it was obvious to me that we were not alone up on stage; there existed a group of people that understand and appreciated our approach to writing.

It might seem cliché to say that I believe in the power of music, but it is absolutely true; I don’t know of something more worthy to have faith in. I believe that writing and performing music in a band has made me a more confident individual with the ability to maintain tolerance and respect. On a broader scale, music was the catalyst that helped me realize we should all appreciate our differences because we can truly learn so much from one another. In addition, it is worthy to compromise and keep an open mind about accomplishing tasks; the end result will often be a lot more interesting. Lastly, if we push ourselves to think outside the box a little more, we will surely gain invaluable knowledge.