The Language of Unification

Thomas - Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Entered on April 12, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I began to truly understand the power of music last year when I heard of a huge breakthrough: The New York Philharmonic Orchestra was invited to perform in North Korea, a security tight country that doesn’t allow foreigners to enter. I thought of how significant and surprising this action of the North Koreans was. I then realized music was the key to peace and unification, and began to understand how in music, differences in culture, ethnicity, or language do not matter. Only one universal language exists in music, and it consists of volume, tempo, and pitch. I mean, they chose a specific group of people to enter their isolated country: an orchestra, nothing else. When the Philharmonic played for the North Koreans, no miscommunications or conflicts existed. The orchestra was even welcomed with a performance of traditional music, the North Koreans willing to share their culture with the visitors through the worldwide language. I became so mesmerized that I watched all the videos of their performances.

Ever since I was in fourth grade, I was fortunate enough to start playing both the piano and the violin. The moment I played my first note on the violin, I was amazed by the ringing vibrations emanating from the small wooden instrument. As soon as I acquired enough skill to play complicated compositions, I began to learn how much emotion was put into each measure of each page. The tangibility of every sound resonating from my violin took my breath away. I enjoyed this sensation so greatly that I made the music world a place to express my feelings and get through difficult situations whenever I felt encumbered. I played my instruments every chance I got so I could pour all my emotions into a song meant for that specific mood, and I listened to my iPod to hear other artists who felt the same way I did. I went into a completely separate realm where people expressed themselves in any form they like, with nothing standing in their way. No matter what was happening, whether my hamster died or I was betrayed by my best friend, I felt better after hearing song after song.

Because of my revelation of the strength of music, I now become deeply moved by almost any tune I start listening to. I began listening to the melodies of countries all over the world, from Indian music to Japanese, by asking my friends to share their songs with me. The language the song is in does not even make a difference because I now listen closely enough to notice the true meaning of the song just by the music.

I believe music can unify the world. I believe the language of music can cure any hatred that exists. Through music, people can communicate and understand each other by telling stories through melodies, and nothing can stand in its way as it unites people everywhere. Two unfriendly countries, the United States and North Korea, have already connected, so what’s stopping the rest of the world from doing the same?