Note to Self

October 12, 2011
By Angela14 SILVER, North Smithfield, Rhode Island
Angela14 SILVER, North Smithfield, Rhode Island
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

What truly is music? Some people, when they are asked what music is, think of the beat of a drum, the toot of a horn, the shriek of a flute. These are the parts of music that people tend to recognize because they only observe the sound. What people don’t know is that there is another dimension to music, one that requires a trip deeper into the mind and soul. I believe playing music with an instrument is a relationship with the music itself. Music has many different aspects; most are unknown to the average person. There is the dynamic part, the melodical element, the acoustic component, the tone, and many more. All of these details add up to the final product: music.
A composition can portray emotion to the listener or the player. Sad music should make a person feel sadness, happy music should make a person experience happiness, and scary music should make whoever hears it get chills; if that doesn’t transpire then the music says nothing to whoever is hearing it. People who just hear music as sound don’t have a relationship with the music; hence, they don’t gain anything from the experience.
What music really is to me is not just sound. Music speaks to me. When the music speaks to me I know I have a relationship with it. The feeling I get always varies because each piece has an individual voice, just like no two people have an identical signature. Each “signature” a piece has is always different and expresses something new. Whatever that piece of music expresses is what is speaking to me. In music class in 7th grade, the band played a piece called Into the Storm, by Robert W. Smith. This piece was so expressive and anybody who heard it could tell from the first line of music. When playing the piece I could just feel the intensity, then the gentleness in the room. The piece had so many different dynamic changes, each sending out a different emotion! I don’t know about the rest of the class, but that piece really spoke to me. There was a certain part especially with a bass clarinet and piccolo duet that was just so dramatic. To this very day I can still play the very difficult (at least from my perspective), most intense part of Into the Storm without the music.

Part of my relationship with music is the ability to produce music myself with my clarinet. Just listening to music is not enough for me anymore. I always have to keep the beat, by tapping my fingers or humming a tune, or just having to get music and play it myself. Music is a very large category. So what do I mean by music? I’m not talking about rap or people talking fast or synthesized singing or background sounds like the music of today typically contains; I’m talking about real music with rhythms, notes, and beats. Before I began playing the clarinet, I had no idea what music really was. I was naïve to the fact that music can only be fully appreciated for it’s worth by actually performing it yourself. I never recognized the level of difficulty composing and playing music was until I was assigned to do so for band class. What an epic failure that was. I created this (what appeared to be magnificent) composition to play in band class, but when I settled down to learn it, I found it too hard and the piece had no emotion, no feeling, and no passion backing it up. All it resonated were my clarinet notes, played in an odd mash-up of sounds that didn’t want to go together even though it was written musically correct.

“I believe that playing music on an instrument creates a relationship with music.” I now know that this idea is embedded deep in my soul. This belief is certainly a part of me that I only discovered unknowingly through being able to play an instrument and compose music (or attempt to compose it) myself. Music is the thing that inspires me and it all comes back to the first piece I ever had a connection with, Into the Storm.

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