My Crescendo This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 19, 2010
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Renowned author Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” As I have flown through my first 17 years, I have learned not only how true this is, but how much of an impact music has had on my life. Music doesn't allow you to hide your emotions; rather, it enables you to express them in any way you wish. Music is universal. If you really think about it, it is one of the few things that unite everyone on our little planet.

I was ten years old, standing in front of a microphone with a guitar strapped across my body. Although there were maybe 40 people there, it seemed like the whole world was watching from the seats in front of the stage. My face was bright red, my hands sweaty, and I was sure that the moment I opened my mouth, my lunch would wind up all over the stage. My heart had never seemed so loud, and its beat echoed the clock ticking on the wall as the audience impatiently waited for me to begin. Finally, I took a deep breath, positioned my fingers on the frets of my guitar, and began to sing John Denver's “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

Although I didn't realize it then, that song would forever be a part of me. I don't remember what possessed me to get up in front of all those people, but the moment was completely unforgettable. To this day whenever I hear that song, I go back to the day I performed in public for the first time. Even though it was absolutely terrifying, there was something about performing that made me fall in love.

I watched my mom the whole time, partly because I was too scared to look anywhere else, but mainly because the look on her face was so joyful and beautiful, and I loved being able to make her feel that way. She told me years later that I took her back to her childhood and the first song she sang in public: another John Denver song, “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”

When I got my first guitar, I remember staring at its golden body, which shone in the early morning light streaming through our living room window on Christmas. My mom and dad taught me a few simple chords and I was off. No matter how much I played, I couldn't get enough. I always wanted to teach myself a new song or learn a new chord. I was in love.

My next momentous performance was sophomore year, when I sang one of Taylor Swift's songs, “I'd Lie,” at the school talent show. Before the show I experienced symptoms like I had six years earlier, but once again, as soon as I began, I felt an amazing rush that reaffirmed my love for music and performance. That day, I received so much encouragement and positive feedback from everyone that I felt I must continue. So I wrote my first song, and now, two years later, I'm recording my first original CD.

Throughout my life, so many people have fostered my love of music, starting with my mom and dad. At a young age I was exposed to a variety of genres, from classical to oldies to country. My dad particularly enjoyed Frank Sinatra, and would make sure that Frankie was on the stereo at every holiday meal. To this day, it isn't Christmas without Ol' Blue Eyes. Although country has always been my favorite, I have learned to appreciate all types of music and see the beauty and talent of those involved. The other students at my school have also provided irreplaceable encouragement and inspiration for me. It has become a tradition for me to put on concerts in the student lounge during our rare free periods.

Music means different things to different people. For me, it's a chance to express myself in a way that I really cannot do easily otherwise. There are no limits on words, no restrictions on feeling – just honesty, plain and simple. Music is a beautiful celebration of life, an escape when I become overburdened with all the challenges we face. It is also a bridge between people. I love when I play a song for someone and she tells me that I captured the way she felt at a certain point in her life. To be able to translate emotions into words is an integral part of our human understanding.

For one English assignment, I wrote about the importance of protest music in bringing about social change. Although I was uncertain about this idea at the start, that paper turned out to be one of the most intriguing essays I have ever written. Songs are a way for individuals to keep their faith woven into the fabric of their lives, and provide a glimmer of hope in the abyss of bondage. Throughout the labor movement of the early 1900s, many workers wrote songs expressing their frustration with the unfair wages and working hours. In 20th century America, music was an irreplaceable medium for those who opposed the nation's wars, utilized by legendary musicians including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan. This assignment reinforced my belief that music has always been crucially important.

I love composing, not only because it allows me to ­express myself, but also because it is a language that everyone can understand. It doesn't matter if you can't fully comprehend the words or the circumstances that ­inspired the work. Melody transcends lyrics, simplifying life into a few notes and speaking to people's souls. I ­believe that I unite a small part of the world every time I step onstage. Through my passion for music, I have ­discovered that we humans do not belong to ourselves; we are all inherently united with an unbreakable bond. Music is the unique and beautiful way that we strengthen this bond. Without music, our world would be a very quiet place.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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SilverSnowflakes said...
Mar. 29, 2010 at 9:13 pm
beautiful. I wish I could sing well while playing violin. I know someone who can, but to me it's too confusing unless I'm playing what I'm singing. (I can't sing in harmony with what I'm playing, for example)
 
NadiaP said...
Jan. 24, 2010 at 11:04 am
"Melody transcends lyrics, simplifying life into a few notes and speaking to people's souls. I believe that I unite a small part of the world every time I step onstage. Through my passion for music, I have discovered that we humans do not belong to ourselves; we are all inherently united with an unbreakable bond. Music is the unique and beautiful way that we strengthen this bond. Without music, our world would be a very quiet place."
In love with this and completely agree, ... (more »)
 
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