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Music: It's In My Soul
Music. To be able to hear or play music that is calming or pleasing to the soul is a special treasure to the player as much as the listener. I have a special passion for music which started long before I began to play the flute. When I was younger I still liked some of the new hits that had come out, but unlike most other kids, I also enjoyed finding quieter, more calming songs that would often have a lesson hidden in the lyrics, or that would simply bring a feeling of peace when listened to. Even now, when I find a song like this that I really like, I try to find the music, and then learn to play it on either the flute or the piano, even though I can only play the right hand. The joy one experiences when they bring the joy of music to another is a most wonderful feeling.
Before I started playing the flute, I would often see a flute in some illustration or hear it in a song and know that was the instrument I wanted to play. I joined the school band as soon as my age would allow it (4th grade), and I began to learn the art of playing the flute. At first I struggled with the lightheadedness that came from using so much air all the time. When 6th grade came around, I already knew what I wanted to do, join the band. I signed up for intermediate band along with my friend who started playing trumpet the same time I started playing my instrument. When we started to play, I soon found myself among flutists more skilled than I. when our teacher announced the chair tests, I began to worry. I didn’t want to be put in an awful chair and be ashamed of myself, so I determinedly put a good effort into learning the few short pieces that I would be judged on.
When the chair testing arrived, I nervously waited my turn to play. When the time came to me, my heart began to hammer in my chest. My palms began to sweat. I could feel the stare of every eye in the room on me as I brought the flute to my lips with trembling hands. I took a deep breath and played each note loud and clear, only faltering a few times. Relief pounded though my veins when I was finished.
I anxiously awaited the results, hoping against hope that I would get a good chair. When the results were finally posted, I set up my stuff and walked over to the list, peering over the top of some heads to get a better look. My heart dropped. 5th chair. I was number 5 out of seven. I felt my eyes begin to water, but I furiously pushed the tears back. No I wasn’t about to let a single tear fall. I bit my lip and set in my mind a new objective: next chair test I would be going up at least one chair.
Months passed. As chair testing loomed in the near future, I took to studying with a renewed vigor, working harder than I had before, studying what I didn’t know and perfecting it. Chair tests came and I raised that flute to my lips with sweaty palms and steady hands. I blew each note loud and clear, making the notes blend into each other for a sweet, continues sound.
Two days later our teacher announced the chairs. I held my breath as she began to read the names off. Heart pounding, I heard her read, “2nd chair is Emma…” I nearly gasped aloud. 2nd chair!! I had gone up way more than one chair! I had never felt more accomplished about my flute work, and it was a beautiful feeling.
Along with playing the flute, I also have a love for singing, but because I had joined band, I was unable to join choir, but that did nothing to hinder my passion. Even now I’ll start singing a song under my breath, and then unknowingly out loud. My friends all say that I have the voice of an angel, but hey, there’re my friends so they kind of have to be encouraging. I don’t really like singing in front of people, but sometimes I’ll be singing softly, realize someone is listening to me, and shush up. The conversation kind of goes like this:
“Hey Emma, was that you singing?”
“Yeah it was. I watched your lips move.”
“No it wasn’t.” (This would be where I would start blushing.)
“Yeah, sure, whatever.”
So for the most part I try to keep my singing to myself. Until last year anyway, when I really decided to face my fears and sing in the talent show. I convinced my best friend Ghonna to do it with me, and we both sang Fearless. At one point in the song I had a solo, and it was not easy. Before hand, we peeked on the other side of the curtain and saw all the people coming and being seated, and that’s when the butterflies really hit. We just looked at each other and started taking deep breaths. We were act number 7, so we had to wait a little bit, which just made it worse as the butterflies built up. When we finally stepped onto the stage, I chose one person to look at the entire time, maybe two, and I would just go back and forth between them. Afterwards, as act number eight was on, we gave each other huge hugs and grinned like a bunch of idiots I’ll bet. When we went back to class, we were greeted by screams and shouts, were crushed in hugs from the other girls, and were showered in compliments. I felt great, and ready to do it again.
Along with at school, I also have been asked to sing at my church, and everyone goes on and on about how I have my mother’s voice. If you really compare us though, my mom is way better than I am. She can hit the higher notes with more tone and volume than I can. She also has a more widespread note range than I do. Well, I guess you’ll just have to make your own opinion if you ever hear me sing.
Music has been a part of my family’s traditions for as long as I can remember. Every year a week before Christmas we all get bundled up in our warm duds and go to certain houses where we all sing and carol. Some of the houses give us a treat each year when we come. For example, one family gives us cookies, another oranges, another chips, and another trail mix. Although we’re not in it for the treats, they are a nice bonus. What really is worth while is listening to the harmony created by my parents, grandparents, and aunties, and the sweet, soft, meaningful notes that float from there lips to the ears of their listeners. It is truly a prize to behold.
Along with that, every year during the summer we have what we call Cousins Summer Camp Kindermusik, when my cousins come from Utah and Paradise to spend a couple weeks at my grandma’s house. Well, for three days of that stay, we all get together at this business that my aunt owns. It’s a preschool-like place where they have different music classes where they have fun learning to read and make music for a variety of ages. All the cousins gather there and we do all sorts of activities, learn new songs, use cool instruments, make awesome snacks, and every year we learn a play or we act out a book. On the third day all of the parents come and we all have cool snacks, sing and dance to all our new songs, plus a few favorites, and we perform the play or book that we practiced for the adults. It is a most wonderful experience, and it makes me feel like a little kid again. One of my cousins is 15 years old and in high school, and he still has a great time doing this year after year with all of his younger cousins. It gives my family an opportunity to spend quality time with some of the relatives that we don’t see that often. It is an amazing family experience.
One cool thing about my family is that if you say a certain word or phrase near them, they might burst into song right in the middle of your sentence. For example you say, “Gee, this rain is great,” and one of us might burst into a song called Rain is a Good Thing. Or maybe you’ll be singing a song and the lyrics remind us of another song that is completely different. Either way, we tend to burst into song randomly.
Another thing my family can do is make up songs on the spot. For instance, you could give my aunt Vicki a word and she could make up a tune and lyrics to go with it on the spot. It can get really funny, especially when you give her a word that hardly rhymes with anything, and then she has to make up her own words. Or me, I can make up songs too. Most of the time if the baby is screaming, I pick her up, adjust her so that she can see herself in the mirror, and make up a song using her name, Lily. Mama says that I have the same touch as my great-grandma, because when I start singing to the baby, she almost always calms down or even falls asleep! Not so helpful when it’s time for the baby to eat though. ?
Music flows through my veins like blood. It is as much a part of me as any organ in my body, and will always be that way. It is like medicine for the broken soul, or painkiller for a sick soul. It is a part of nature itself. It is a spirit lifter and a form or communication. It is a part of everyday life for every person big or small, no matter what culture. The music is in my soul: is it in yours?