Music: The Influence of a Lifetime

September 23, 2010
When I was a toddler, my babysitter would put “Fantasia”, a Disney movie made of a blend of music and animated figures that could put anyone (including adults) to sleep instantly, in the VCR at naptime. I would never close my eyes for the entire 120 minutes of the film. By the end of the movie everyone around me would be sleeping peacefully and I would want to watch the movie again. This was just the beginning of my love of music.

My passion of music was nurtured and grew under the influence of Disney soundtracks, my brother playing piano, and the overall influence of Julie Andrews in some of my favorite musicals including Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. My brother, Andrew, played piano at least twice a week and I was inspired to try and play any type of instrument I could get my hands on. So consequentially my mother made me take piano lessons from the same guy that taught my brother. I held a strong dislike towards the teacher and begged my mother to let me quit taking piano lessons. (I never truly liked piano lessons but I adored music classes and vocal music.) After three years of this begging my mother finally let me quit going to piano lessons. Later I found a teacher that I liked and she taught vocal and piano lessons.

Julie Andrews was my true vocal inspiration and I researched her as much as I could. The first time that I heard her vast four octave voice was when I was watching Sound of Music. Then I heard her again in Mary Poppins and I thought that performance was “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

My instrumental inspiration came from two sources: Ludwig Von Beethoven and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The only piano song that I truly learned in my heart and could play with my soul in those dreaded piano lessons was “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in a very simple key. Of course, eventually, I did learn other songs but that one song gave me strength and form that I needed to stay with music in a time when I would have loved to quit. Through Beethoven, I learned about classical music and realized that it is the building block of all types and forms of music. On the other hand, Andrew Lloyd Webber showed me that there are more types of music than classical to give your life a variation in style and rhythm that is unique to you. His music also inspired me to begin to write my own music and blend together piano and vocal into a composition. Vocal alone can’t stand and piano alone is just boring without any variations.

Music helps me realize that I am not alone and others may have felt the despair that I have felt. These people wrote music to help them though the hard times and I listen to their music to realize that maybe I am only one of many in a whirlwind of constant troubles that will eventually run out of steam.

One of my favorite musical quotes is one that I believe is truly the essence of the meaning of music: “The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of constant thought.” - Sir Thomas Beecham





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