Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Part of Your World: Week 1

One thing I suppose you all will find out about me, sooner or later, is that I am a huge Disney fan. This started before I can even remember, with a movie you all should know: The Little Mermaid. According to my parents, I was so in love with this movie, I would ask my parents to let me watch it over and over and OVER again ad nauseum. As a result, I learned the song "Part Of Your World" by heart. As they tell it, they remember me coming down the stairs of our old house many a time and singing the entire song to them, in my cute (and not terribly out of tune) two-year-old voice.

That was just the beginning of my long music history. In third grade, along with most everyone in my class, I was asked to pick out an instrument I wanted to play. I chose the flute. With this choice came private lessons and band, as well as a small discovery that, in retrospect, was an epiphany. There were times when everyone was playing together, and I could feel the music - more than the richness of the low brass, the sweetness of the woodwinds, and the pulse of the percussion. To hear all of us making music as an ensemble, working together to communicate in a universal language - that's when something clicked, and somewhere I thought, "This is it." I was moved.

Halfway through fifth grade, my dad's job took us overseas to Windsor, England, and then, halfway through sixth, to Copenhagen, Denmark. As wonderful as my experiences there were, it was hard for me to find and keep a steady private flute teacher, what with the stress of moving, settling in, switching schools, and finding friends. But these weren't musically dead years at all. In seventh grade in Denmark, two things changed me as a musician. The first was my discovery of the musical Les Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. I had recently become involved in the Drama Club at school, and at the request of a friend, saw a medley from Les Mis performed at their concert. I became obsessed with the haunting and inspiring music, bought the CD, and promptly memorized the entire show. The marriage of the deep, tragic story and the appropriately heartbreaking music thrilled me. At about the same time, I took a music class in school where we got to dabble in various instruments, composed little melodies, and performed songs for each other. It was because of this class, along with my newfound love of theatrical vocal music, which convinced me to start choir in 8th grade, after moving back to our house in Illinois the summer before.

It was tricky to juggle choir and band at my school, not to mention the stresses of another move. But as the year went on, I became more and more frustrated in band, and looked forward to choir more and more. I hated practicing for flute lessons, but sang my choir music all the time. By the end of the year, I decided to drop the flute and devote myself solely to choir in high school. My mom agreed, on the condition that I would take voice lessons. Little did I know then how lucky I was to study with Linda, a vocal professor at a local liberal arts college. Because of four years of her wonderful training, singing became more than just a favorite pastime – it became my passion.

Also because of my teacher, I was able to spend last summer at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, in the Advanced Choral program. Those six amazing weeks would not only reaffirm music as my focus, but expand my musical interests beyond performing to include conducting, composing and teaching.

Now I’m standing on the brink of the rest of my life, an ocean of musical possibilities crashing in waves at my feet. Getting into DePauw was such a relief, because it means that someone else believes in me, my talent and my passion, and is willing to welcome me into a community of people with the same passion as I have. And now, although I’m a lot older, I can sing Part of Your World just as I did at two years old, with a new meaning for myself and my future:

…Ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions
And get some answers
I’m finally a Part of Your World. It’s good to be here.

6 Comments:

At 8/26/2006 7:19 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

It's really cool that you've gotten the chance to travel the weird and have experienced other musical worlds.

 
At 8/26/2006 9:43 PM, Blogger Dennis Fuller said...

i love les mis. it is one of my favorite plays to listen to and perform. rock on.

 
At 8/27/2006 6:52 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

les mis changed my life too!...I've always wanted to be a lead in it ever since I was little. However, I've only been in the chorus...but that was sweet too

 
At 8/27/2006 9:51 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

becca, you have such a way with words. do you still know how to play the flute? and are you considering that as a secondary instrument after the piano proficiency or anything? i really like the end where you tied the little mermaid back in. it flows just loverly!

 
At 8/27/2006 10:26 PM, Blogger Becca said...

Alex - I haven't picked up a flute in years... I don't think I even remember most of the fingerings. Besides, piano is a lot more useful for me as a singer.

By the way - thanks! I'm glad you liked it. =)

 
At 8/27/2006 11:46 PM, Blogger Ferdinand_The_Bull_Smells_Flowers said...

I also love how you tied Disney in throughout.

And it is wonderful to be surrounded by those who share the same passion!

Hakuna Matata

 

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